Microsoft is to close Skype's offices in London with the loss of 400 jobs, according to reports.
A report in the Financial Times cited a source at Microsoft as saying that the company made the decision to "unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and Yammer roles".
There's a growing overlap in services owned by Microsoft. Lync has already been merged into Skype as Skype for Business, and more and more of its rivals, such as Slack, have folded in features that are expected to launch soon as Skype Teams.
This, in turn, overlaps with the company's existing Yammer service, putting question marks over its future as a separate brand.
"We are deeply committed to doing everything we can to help those affected by the process," Microsoft said.
The news is a shock but not a surprise to employees, one of whom told the FT that "Skype is a shell of the company it once was", referring to the increasing number of roles being taken by Microsoft employees instead of Skypers.
"One of the things that was always a big issue for Microsoft was that big decisions at Skype would usually always be made in Europe, not in Redmond. Now, it's a Redmond, Microsoft-led company rather than an independent Skype," the worker said.
Another former employee wrote on Quora about how, in a short period, all his managers at Skype were replaced by staff from elsewhere in the Microsoft business.
Microsoft has slashed headcount all over the place since the failure of the Nokia takeover. The company said in its annual report that it plans to kill off 2,850 jobs in the last quarter of this year. We now know where 400 of those jobs are coming from.
Skype will continue to have bases in mainland Europe, but it's not known whether this decision was Brexit related. However, most functions will now be carried out from Microsoft's US facilities which will manage Skype on a global scale.
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