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Microsoft Laying off 7800 Employees, Streamlining Phone Portfolio

Rumors have been swirling that a Microsoft phone shakeup was in the works. Recently sparked by internal discussion of “touch choices” facing Microsoft, and how the CEO Satya Nadella might completely scrap the Windows Phone line of products to focus on moving Microsoft apps to iOS and Android.

For fans of Live Tiles, thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case in light of a new employee memo from Nadella.

Microsoft will be moving forward with new phone hardware, but will be reducing the number of offerings. The Lumia line is kind of a mess leading up to the release of Windows 10. Currently consumers can pick from 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1300, and 1500 series phones made within the last year. It’s a confusing collection with lots of product overlap.

In the near term, we will run a more effective phone portfolio, with better products and speed to market given the recently formed Windows and Devices Group. We plan to narrow our focus to three customer segments where we can make unique contributions and where we can differentiate through the combination of our hardware and software. We’ll bring business customers the best management, security and productivity experiences they need; value phone buyers the communications services they want; and Windows fans the flagship devices they’ll love.
-CEO Satya Nadella

This year we got an early glimpse at the future of this strategy with the entry level Lumia 640 and 640XL. Now it seems very likely we’ll see Microsoft whittle down this collection to six individual phones. Entry level, mid-range, and flagship. At each of those three tiers we’ll probably see a “normal” sized phone and a “phablet” with the XL designation.

Though industry layoffs are always  a sad story, fans of the platform can certainly benefit from more focus. You can read Nadella’s full email below.

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