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Microsoft cuts another 689 Seattle-area jobs amid cost reductions

By Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times
Published: March 7, 2023, 7:44am

SEATTLE — Microsoft laid off another 689 workers from its Seattle-area offices Monday, the latest move by the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant to trim costs amid an industrywide post-pandemic slump.

The affected employees worked in Microsoft’s offices in Redmond, Bellevue and Issaquah, Washington, a company spokesperson conformed. The layoffs were first made public in a notification posted Monday by the Washington State Employment Security Department.

So far, Microsoft has laid off nearly 2,200 Seattle-area workers, or 22% of the 10,000 global cuts CEO Satya Nadella said in January were necessary to “align our cost structure with our revenue and where we see customer demand.”

Microsoft declined to say how many of the 10,000 cuts will ultimately fall in the Seattle area, and would not comment on the roles, teams or product lines affected by Monday’s layoffs.

“The impacts are across a mix of levels, functions, teams and geographies,” a Microsoft spokesperson said Monday in an emailed statement. The company has offices in 40 other states and scores of locations outside of the United States.

In a layoff round last month, cuts fell heavily on teams that manage the company’s Surface, Xbox and HoloLens product systems, according to media reports, which Microsoft did not dispute.

As with two previous rounds this year, the laid-off employees will receive two months of severance pay.

One Microsoft employee who was not affected by Monday’s layoffs said he’d received no internal company news about the cut but assumed they were part of the layoffs already announced.

“My sense is that they are just implementing the plan bit by bit,” said Bob Goodwin, who works on Office 365.

Monday’s layoffs are the latest in a series of heavy cuts as the tech industry corrects its overly ambitious growth during the pandemic.

Some of the largest cuts have been announced by tech firms that are either based in the Seattle area or have large operations in the region.

All told, Seattle-based tech firms have announced around 32,000 layoffs globally since last spring, according to tracking site layoffs.fyi. Although not all have been carried out, many appear to involve jobs outside Washington.

That has ranged from 18,000 layoffs announced by Seattle-based Amazon down to 70 cuts at Outreach, a Seattle-based maker of sales software, according to an account in GeekWire.

To date, tech firms have reported around 5,500 layoffs in Washington since the start of 2022, according to state data.

Microsoft’s Seattle-area cuts represent a relatively small dent in a workforce that is 221,000 globally, including 50,000 in Washington.