Microsoft announces layoffs that affect multiple departments, including HoloLens 2 and Azure Teams.

Microsoft has disclosed another round of layoffs, which will affect about 1,000 people across many areas, including its mixed reality team working on the HoloLens 2 and different Azure units. This move comes after a previous large reduction of 10,000 staff over a year ago.

The layoffs, as reported by CNBC and Business Insider, are part of continuous organizational changes deemed required for strategic business management and expansion. Azure for Operators and Mission Engineering are two key affected teams within Microsoft’s Strategic Missions and Technologies (SMT) division. SMT, founded in 2021, focuses on pioneering projects such as quantum computing and space activities, while Azure for Operators manages Azure Space, telecom initiatives, and Azure Operator Nexus.

Despite the layoffs, Microsoft remains committed to its current programs. The corporation confirmed its support for the Department of Defense’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program, which uses the HoloLens 2 augmented reality headgear. A representative for Microsoft said, “We remain fully committed to the Department of Defense’s IVAS program and will continue to deliver cutting-edge technology to support our soldiers.” Furthermore, the business will continue to sell and support the HoloLens 2 to its existing customers and partners.

The layoffs follow a broader trend of labor reductions in the IT industry, fueled by economic uncertainty and a strategy shift toward artificial intelligence (AI) investments. In May 2024, over 9,500 people were put off across 39 firms, including large cuts at Google, Indeed, Toshiba, and TikTok.

Microsoft’s emphasis on AI and collaboration with OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, highlight the company’s strategic orientation. The layoffs within the Azure teams, particularly Azure for Operators, are consistent with a reallocation of resources to high-growth areas like AI. Jason Zander, who oversees the SMT group, emphasized the significance of these strategic changes, citing the suspension of previews for Azure Operator 5G Core and Azure Operator Call Protection as part of this realignment.

While layoffs are a difficult time for the impacted employees, Microsoft continues to prioritize and invest in strategic growth areas. The company ensures that these organizational adjustments will help it achieve its long-term goals and maintain its commitment to innovation and customer support.

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