Microsoft is shutting down its Skype offices in London, one of the world’s leading technology firms offices. Nearly 400 people will also be laid off during the closure, according to a report by the Financial Times.
The report says “Microsoft made the decision to unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and Yammer roles,”
Founded in London in 2003, and acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion, the London office is part of Skype’s history. The office was Skype’s headquarters before Microsoft acquired it. The closure, according to analysts will be a big blow to London tech scene but again should not come as a surprise. Insiders told the Financial Times that the move is largely because of steady stream executive departures over the last few years which has foretold a shift in the placement of power at Skype.
Microsoft confirmed the report saying some “globally focused Skype” roles were at risk along with those at another of its businesses, Yammer, as part of a plan to move all London-based employees to its base in Paddington.
Since entering the market, Skype was one of the first biggest voice chatting apps. It has however increasingly come under threat from all sides. Text messaging service WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, among others, now offer the same features and are getting a huge user base.
Microsoft, however, says that it is committed to doing everything it can to help those affected by this move. It adds that will be entering into a consultation process and offer new opportunities, where possible.