FARGO – Job cuts were made at Fargo’s Microsoft campus Thursday as the Redmond, Wash.-based company continued its restructuring.
Fargo Site Leader Don Morton did not specify the number of cuts in an emailed statement regarding the layoffs.
Microsoft gave notice Thursday to 2,100 employees spread over different countries and teams, according to a company spokesman cited by Reuters. That included 747 in the Seattle area and 160 in California.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, announced the restructuring plan in July, saying it would reduce its workforce over the next year. The company expected to slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce.
“Many of the job reductions were made in July and additional reductions were made today,” Morton, the Fargo site leader and senior director, said in the e-mailed statement. “The Microsoft campus in Fargo, N.D., is impacted by this latest action and a number of positions based in Fargo will be eliminated. The employees impacted have been informed of these changes, and a program has been initiated to help ensure the best possible process and support.”
Spokeswoman Katie Hasbargen said the company is not sharing the number or percentage of Fargo campus employees affected by the reductions.
In July, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven released a statement that Morton had said the Fargo campus did not expect any of its employees to be laid off.
Don Canton, Hoeven’s communications director, said Thursday Hoeven’s office is encouraging the company to provide the public with details as soon as possible.
The Fargo campus is one of Microsoft’s strategic North American research and development centers, Morton said in the statement, adding that the company remains committed to the local campus.
The Fargo campus employed 877 people, according to December 2013 figures. Nearly 700 others at the campus do work for vendors.
Jim Gartin, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., said he spoke Thursday to Microsoft officials, who told him Redmond is “110 percent committed to the Fargo campus.”
“This is just a corporate reorganization that is having a temporary impact,” Gartin said.
He said he didn’t know the scale of the layoffs here, but based on companywide numbers, “this isn’t going to be something that’s going to decimate the population here.”
“We want to make sure we work hard as a community to keep all those folks here,” Gartin said. “Luckily in this market, lots and lots of technology companies are looking for exciting talent.
“Where one door shuts, I think another door can open in the Fargo area,” he said.
In an earlier interview with The Forum, when asked why he thought the Fargo campus was spared at the time, Morton said its focus on dynamic solutions and the large amount of commercial tech support it does, has a “very good value-to-cost ratio, good productivity, very high value.
“We touch a lot of the different solutions in the Microsoft ecosystem,” Morton said at the time.
Adding Thursday’s cuts to the 13,000 laid off in July means another 2,900 employees are expected to be laid off over the next nine months or so.
On Tuesday, Microsoft increased its quarterly dividend by 11 percent to 31 cents per share. It was the smallest percentage increase in its quarterly dividend since 2009, and half of last year’s 22 percent hike.
Reuters contributed to this report
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