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Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs

Microsoft Corp said Thursday that it would cut about 14 percent of its workforce as it halves the size of Nokia and trims down other operations.

Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva/Reuters

Microsoft Corp said Thursday that it would cut about 14 percent of its workforce as it halves the size of Nokia and trims down other operations.

SEATTLE — Microsoft said Thursday that it planned to eliminate up to 18,000 jobs over the next year in a shake-up intended to help the company move more quickly in the market.

The cuts are the largest in the company’s 39-year history, representing about 14 percent of its workforce.

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Microsoft will make the deepest cuts from the businesses it acquired from the Finnish phone maker Nokia. About 12,500 of the jobs being eliminated will come from the Nokia groups, or from overlap at Microsoft resulting from the deal. Microsoft said 1,100 job cuts would come from Finland and another 1,800 from a Nokia factory in Hungary.

That is about half the number of employees who joined Microsoft from Nokia a few months ago when Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile business. In related news, Microsoft said it would no longer make Nokia phones based on the Android operating system, switching its low-end phones to Microsoft’s Windows Phone software.

Microsoft said it would take a charge of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion to cover severance and related costs from the layoffs over the next year.

On Thursday, Satya Nadella, the company’s chief executive, said in an e-mail to employees announcing the job cuts that the layoffs are an effort to become more agile, a message he has given repeatedly since he took the job in February.

The job cuts in the businesses it acquired from Nokia raise questions about Microsoft’s plans for mobile devices. The acquisition, initiated by Steven Ballmer, Microsoft’s previous chief executive, increased the company’s presence in the hardware business, which is outside its traditional expertise. The deal has been an unpopular one with investors and many people inside Microsoft.

“It is particularly important to recognize that the role of phones within Microsoft is different than it was within Nokia,” Stephen Elop, a former Nokia chief executive who now runs the devices group at Microsoft, said in an e-mail to employees Thursday.

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