Last week: Microsoft's chief says changes are coming

  • Article by: NICK WINGFIELD , New York Times
  • Updated: July 17, 2014 - 8:54 AM

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, has written a company manifesto of sorts.

His 3,100-word essay, distributed by e-mail to Microsoft employees Thursday morning, is Nadella’s mission statement and a rallying cry for the staff. Although it contained few specifics, the essay appeared to lay the groundwork for significant changes, to be announced this month.

Nadella said everyone at Microsoft must find ways to simplify and work faster and more efficiently.

“We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,” he wrote. “Culture change means we will do things differently.”

Those words seemed to hint at the possibility of layoffs. In most years, around the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year on June 30, rumors swirl among employees about cutbacks in different groups as the company defines its plans for the next 12 months. When job reductions occur, though, they are rarely big enough to meaningfully affect Microsoft’s overall head count, which was close to 100,000 at the end of June 2013.

This year, however, the layoff rumor mill has been especially active, in part because Microsoft added 25,000 employees at the end of April with its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division.

Nadella said he would discuss changes more when the company released its earnings July 22.

In a brief phone interview, Nadella said his motivation for writing the memo was to “galvanize employees around what our soul is.”

The crux of Nadella’s essay was an extended description of Microsoft’s mission. Clarifying, rather than drastically redefining, the company’s “unique core,” Nadella said Microsoft is “the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.”

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