Microsoft to Dismiss 18,000 Employees

October 16, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. lay off /leɪ ɔf, ɒf/ (idiom) – to fire an employee or group of employees
Example: The company decided to lay off some of its employees to cut down its expenses.

2. streamline /ˈstrimˌlaɪn/ (v.) – to change and simplify something for the better
Example: The format changes were done to streamline the company’s editing process.

3. hasten /ˈheɪ sən/ (v.) – to cause something to happen faster
Example: They hastened the project to meet its deadline.

4. lean-and-mean /lin ænd min/ (adj.) – being ready to work hard to perform efficiently
Example: His lean-and-mean mentality helped him become successful.

5. set sights on /sɛt saɪts ɒn/ (idiom) – to focus on a goal
Example: The company has set its sights on larger projects.


Read the text below.
Microsoft will lay off 18,000 employees next year as part of the changes in the company’s management system.

The decision to cut down jobs was an effort to streamline Microsoft’s business now that Nokia is under the software company. While many expected the layoff to happen, the large number of staff to be dismissed still came as a surprise. In fact, market analyst Daniel Ives [ahyvz] said the dismissal count was twice what experts had predicted.

Microsoft’s first ever widespread layoff happened in 2009 when about 5,800 were cut out.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella [SAT-ya na-DEL uh], the move was necessary to hasten the company’s processes and to simplify its management structure. Nadella, who was just appointed as CEO in February 2014, said that Microsoft had to undergo specific change to keep up in the current industry.

The 18,000 employees amount to 14 percent of the company’s current workforce. Microsoft will spend $1.1 to $1.6 billion for the layoff costs, which will be charged over the next four quarters.

Ives believes that a lean-and-mean approach like doing a widespread layoff is necessary for the company’s further success.  After the news came out, Microsoft’s stock increased by two percent.

Since acquiring Nokia for $7.3 billion, Microsoft has set its sights on becoming more than a software giant. Nokia smartphone models are now using Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Now that the mobile technology is also under Microsoft, the company hopes to develop more competitive products.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of this business strategy? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this layoff will affect the employees of the company?

Discussion B

·         What do you think happens when a brand is sold to another company? Kindly discuss.
·         Would you still be loyal to your favorite brand even if it was bought by another company? Why or why not?

October 16, 2014