Microsoft to shutter Skype’s London HQ, lay off 400 employees

skype build 2016 mobile smartphone ios android
Marcel de Grijs/123rf
The other shoe has dropped. Following Microsoft’s annual report in August, which said it would lay off approximately 2,850 employees globally in the fourth quarter of 2016, the company is closing Skype’s HQ in London as part of the large-scale terminations.

The move means around 400 people will lose their jobs, and as Microsoft told the Financial Times, it “made the decision to unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and financial roles.” The tech giant also said that it will use a consultation process to help those who were laid off.

The decision comes at a time when the British tech industry is working to show its resiliency following the country’s vote to leave the European Union. Skype was originally founded in London in 2003, and Microsoft purchased it in 2011 for $8.5 billion.

Russ Shaw, founder of industry group Tech London Advocates, and previously the vice president of Skype Emea before Microsoft bought the company, told the Financial Times that he was disappointed by news of the closure.

“Skype is one of Europe’s iconic technology businesses and a genuine ‘unicorn’ with an amazing pedigree of innovation and talent,” he said. “While London is working hard to build a strong base of world-class technology businesses, this decision is a step in the wrong direction.”

The Financial Times also cited an unnamed source who identified as a former Skype employee, as saying they were not surprised by the move, because Skype executives have been leaving the company over the past few years.

“I know it’s natural to integrate, but Skype is a shell of the company it once was,” the source said. “One of the things that was always a big issue for Microsoft was that big decisions at Skype would usually always be made in Europe, not in Redmond [Microsoft’s HQ]. Now, it’s a Redmond, Microsoft-led company rather than an independent Skype.”

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Computing

Breaking: Amazon won’t build headquarters in New York in face of opposition

Amazon has canceled plans for a New York City headquarters afer citizens, civic groups, and politicians pushed back on Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's exclamation of economic joy over Amazon's earlier…
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Movies & TV

'Terminator: Dark Fate' is the working title for the new Terminator movie

The most recent Terminator films didn't do so well, but now James Cameron has returned to reinvigorate the franchise. Here's everything we know about the cast, crew, and story of the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate movie.
Mobile

OnePlus breaks into the top five among U.S. smartphone companies

We've been impressed with the value offered by OnePlus phones for years, but in 2018 the Chinese manufacturer really stepped things up. After impressive sales, OnePlus broke into the top five U.S. smartphone companies in the high-end…
Smart Home

Review board says Dyson should cease unsubstantiated vacuum claims

The National Advertising Review Board recommended Dyson make three changes to claims about suction power, running time, and battery technology for its V8 cordless vacuums. Dyson agreed to the recommendations.
Mobile

AT&T adds Minneapolis and Chicago to its mobile 5G road map for 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

Allstate’s SquareTrade buys phone repair service iCracked

Allstate may be looking to diversify its service a little. The company announced that SquareTrade, a company Allstate owns, is buying iCracked, a popular phone repair service that currently operates in more than 60 cities.
Mobile

T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know about it

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Verizon wants you to lobby the government for 5G deployment

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Business

Cruise like Mick Jagger: Virgin Voyage’s new ship boasts RockStar Suites

Virgin Voyages, the new cruise company from the Virgin Group, is now taking reservations for the 2020 inaugural season. The ship's RockStar Suites are designed to help travelers feel like rock stars, going beyond the usual cruise luxuries.