Microsoft closing Skype office in London, laying off employees

Microsoft plans to close Skype's London office and lay off just over half of the nearly 400 people employed there, according to the Financial Times and ZDNet. Microsoft confirmed the layoffs to an extent, telling the Times that it has "made the decision to unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and Yammer roles." ZDNet followed up with a report putting the cuts at 220 jobs. Microsoft announced earlier this year that it would cut 2,850 positions across the company.

Skype will still maintain offices throughout the world, including in Redmond, Palo Alto, Vancouver, and several locations in Europe. But the layoffs still indicate a shift in priorities, with anonymous former employees telling the Times that Microsoft has increasingly been taking control of Skype, replacing Skype's employees with its own.

Skype was one of the first big voice chatting apps, but it's increasingly come under threat from basically all sides. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, among others, offer the same features and have enormous user bases. Meanwhile, business tools like Slack are beginning to build in the features, like video chatting, that people have traditionally gone to Skype for.

Update September 19th, 10:25AM ET: This story has been updated to include ZDNet's figure for cut jobs at Skype and Yammer.

Comments

Does any serious business, i.e. the big corporates where the money is at, use Slack? Seems to me Skype in the business world is more threatened by something like a Cisco product.

There’s a Verge article from two years ago that lists eBay, Sony, Yelp, and NBCUniversal among companies using Slack.

Also, https://slack.com/customers

Those are not serious corporate companies. Few start ups and small companies use slack not giant corporates.

Those are small companies..? Ah how about Samsung..? A company with 4 times the revenue of Microsoft..?

It’s probably more convenient for IT in major corporates to stick with skype/lync considering they mostly use MS Office suites – they likely get good deals from upselling sales reps

Sony, Samsung, NASA, Harvard University, The Times newspaper….and those are just some companies which have agreed to be part of the marketing. You would be surprised how many people inside ‘serious companies’ are using Slack, even where it’s not officially supported by a Microsoft-centric IT department.

Wtf are you talking about? I’ve used slack with many employees at Microsoft.

I work for a big bank in US and our whole technology division is in the transition to move to Slack from Lync (or Skype for Business as they call it now). Our team are the early adopters and we like it much more. Channels as Slack likes to call it seem more intuitive than group chats for communication between Agile teams from projects. Slack also seems much more modern as their UI is slick, phone app works for a change, better search options & plugins are awesome.

Overall, Microsoft has been dropping the ball with Skype/Lync for a long time.

I think everyone missed the obvious sarcasm here lmao

Hillary Clinton’s campaign uses Slack

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is slack, it’s not quite the same

Most big business uses Lync which is now re-branded as "Skype for Business". Cisco also uses this.

Cisco does not use Microsoft communication products. The direct completion to Lync/Communcator/Skype for business or whatver they are calling it nowadays is Jabber. Spark is alligned to take on Slack.

A few serious, albeit smaller companies are dumbasses and use the atrocity that is Hangouts, instead of Slack and Skype, so there you have it

Skype tends to be hugely used externally rather than internally as international calls with skype are cheap.

Good that MS is taking control of skype. skype has been wandering around in the dark for years without any kind of focussed effort in consumer or corporate market. With MS taking control and rebuilding it at least we will see a better skype.

We’ve been hearing this for years though. MS has owned Skype for 5 years, and now they decide to do something? I think the last days of Skype are on the horizon personally.

Skype was independent within MS to run the way it wanted and it was running into ground. With this MS can change its course

True in a way, but mainly because Skype is becoming a feature rather than a product. Skype will live on as the video-calling feature inside Microsoft’s software suite, even if they drop the Skype name one day.

Sure, Microsoft can start taking more control of it, but do they need to fire so many people? Change the leadership, and keep the talent.

Sarcasm?

Why do the UK offices need 400 people? Why the whole Skype operation needs more than 400 people?

More proof that Microsoft is increasingly irrelevant in the modern world.

Yeah, no one uses Windows at all. And they certainly aren’t the best Windows OEM out there either.

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