Microsoft Corporation Lays Off Ad Sales Team Worldwide

According to knowledgeable sources who spoke to Business Insider on Friday, October 31st, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is laying off its entire global advertising sales team. The reduction in force comes as the ad sales positions have become largely redundant as individual divisions are handling their own ad sales today.

The sources note the layoffs are coming within the Microsoft Advertising division, and are anticipated to include at least 100 employees in the U.S., UK and elsewhere, with duties relating to selling advertising space on Microsoft’s MSN, Bing, Xbox, Outlook, Skype and Windows 8 franchises.

The Microsoft Advertising exec team is led by Frank Holland, a VP of advertising and online. Holland’s continued role with the company is unsure at this time. The possible closure of Microsoft Advertising had been discussed by Wall Street analysts for some time. The software giant only had a tiny 2.45% share of the global display advertising market in 2013, according to eMarketer. Market leader Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) has an almost 31% share of the online ad market and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s share is above 5.5%.

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Microsoft announced the layoffs on Wednesday

The sources noted the layoffs were actually announced on Wednesday of this week. This reduction in force boils down to the fact that the Microsoft Advertising global sales team had become redundant, and was axed as part of the largest ever job realignment in Microsoft’s history announced over the summer. All told the job cuts are expected to add up to 18,000 positions across the business.

Statement from Microsoft

A Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) spokeswoman commented to Business Insider on Friday morning: “We’ve taken another step that will complete almost all the 18,000 reductions announced in July. The reductions happening today are spread across many different business units, and many different countries.”

BI requested clarification on which divisions are affected by the layoffs, but Microsoft did not elaborate any further.