July 7 (UPI) — Microsoft announced it will slash thousands of jobs as part of a company restructuring.
“Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners,” a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC. “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 number of people who will be laid off is estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000.
The layoffs are the result of a revamping of the company’s salesforce. In a company email, the Microsoft sales staff was notified of the company’s plans to put more focus on artificial intelligence and cloud services.
Microsoft said the majority of layoffs will be at its locations outside of the United States. But there will be some layoffs at the company’s Seattle headquarters.
According to the Seattle Times, Microsoft employed 121,000 people before the latest layoffs and 40 percent of them work in sales.
But much of the sales force focused on boxed merchandise, such as computer software. With the shift to artificial intelligence and cloud services, industry analysts expect the sales force re-design to continue.
“The kind of sales force that they need is, instead of showing up to renew the contract, a sales force that is thinking more strategically” about how customers might use Microsoft tools, said Ed Anderson, a former Microsoft employee and current analyst who tracks the company for Gartner.
In 2016, the company laid off nearly 3,000 people with 900 of them in sales.