By Dina Bass
Microsoft Corp. is eliminating many open jobs, including in its Azure cloud business and its security software unit, as the economy continues to weaken.
These hiring cuts will continue for the foreseeable future, Microsoft said, while declining to comment on which departments and businesses are affected. The company said it is honoring job offers that have already been made for open roles and will make some exceptions for critical jobs.
It’s an expansion of a hiring slowdown disclosed in May, which mostly affected its Windows, Office and Teams groups. In June, Insider also reported cuts to new headcount in the security business.
The latest slowdown, which was communicated by executives in the groups to their teams, impacts the company’s cloud crown jewels — a key source of growth and investor scrutiny — as well as a newer priority area in security. In the past year, Microsoft brought on longtime Amazon.com Inc. cloud executive Charlie Bell to bulk up its products and strategies for combating hackers and the company considered acquiring cybersecurity firm Mandiant Inc. Now Bell’s ability to bring in new talent has been pared back considerably.
“As Microsoft gets ready for the new fiscal year, it is making sure the right resources are aligned to the right opportunity,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Microsoft will continue to grow headcount in the year ahead, and we will add additional focus to where those resources go.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft cut less than 1% of its 180,000-person workforce, affecting groups such as consulting and customer solutions, but had said it planned to finish the current fiscal year with increased headcount. The moves follow others in technology. Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai told staff to expect a hiring slowdown for the remainder of the year. Apple Inc. is also planning to slow hiring and spending at some divisions next year, people familiar with the matter said Monday.
Azure, the No. 2 infrastructure cloud provider, has been trying for years to narrow the gap with larger rival Amazon Web Services. The percentage growth rate of the Microsoft unit remains one of the most closely watched metrics in Microsoft’s quarterly earnings, scheduled for release next on Tuesday.
Microsoft’s new fiscal year began on July 1. The month is often a period of job cuts and adjustments to hiring, as the company reassesses where it wants to invest. Still, such a broad pullback on hiring plans is unusual and comes as fears of a recession mount, with inflation, the war in Ukraine and the lingering pandemic taking a toll.