Microsoft to lay off thousands in sales reshuffle

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft plans to shed thousands of jobs in a major reboot to focus on its fast-growing cloud-computing business.

"Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners," Microsoft said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Today, we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated. Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time-to-time, re-deployment in others."

The software giant did not specify how many jobs would be cut. When asked about cuts during a conference call, Microsoft President Brad Smith had no comment Thursday morning.

The restructuring largely affects the software giant's sales operations outside the U.S. under chief marketing officer Chris Capossela, executive vice presidents Judson Althoff and Jean-Philippe Courtois. All three executives on Monday notified employees of a reorganization, but did not mention layoffs.

Microsoft shares were down nearly 1%, to $68.52, in mid-morning trading Thursday.

Disappointing sales of Microsoft's Surface computer line — they plunged 26%, dragging down PC sales 7% — undercut fiscal third quarter results, announced in April. Cloud sales, by comparison, nearly doubled.

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