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

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.

Recommended Videos

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.”

Harrison’s obsession in the tech space originated in his father’s electronics store in Denville, New Jersey, where he…
Microsoft’s decision to shutter its retail stores is a mistake

With the news of Microsoft permanently closing its retail stores, maybe the writing was on the wall. COVID-19 has rocked retail. Just think of the names either in trouble or going out of business that we've seen as the pandemic unfolded: Pier 1 Imports, J. Crew, even Neiman Marcus. But honestly, the last retailer I had expected to see give up was Microsoft.

After all, Microsoft's retail plans just made sense. Like Apple Stores, these were ambassadors for the brand -- both helping to define the perception of the company itself on Microsoft's terms and give customers direct access to in-person support. The Apple Store has a Genius Bar, Microsoft Stores has (or more accurately now, had) the Answer Desk.

Read more
Former Microsoft employee recounts racism at Mixer

A former Microsoft Mixer employee recounted racism he says he experienced while at the streaming company, which was recently shuttered by Microsoft.

In a blog post on Sunday, Milan Lee called his two years at Mixer "the worst I've ever had professionally" and claimed the poor experience, which spanned 2017 and 2018, was "all due to racism."

Read more
How to create a new team in Microsoft Teams

Few communication applications are as versatile as Microsoft Teams. Along with allowing you to send quick messages to teammates or launch a video chat, the software is fully integrated with Office 365 so you can optimize its performance. One of its most useful features, however, is the ability to create a new team. This lets you group people together so they can chat about certain projects or goals without spamming everyone in your organization.

Knowing how to make a new team and how to properly organize teams makes it easy for a company to enhance productivity and streamline communication. When used effectively, Microsoft Teams is useful for both in-office and remote workers, ensuring everyone stays on the same page regardless of location.

Read more