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Jul 17, 2014 1:39 PM by Associated Press

Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) - Microsoft has announced the biggest layoffs in its history. It says it will cut 18,000 jobs or 14 percent of its workforce as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system.

Job cuts had been expected, but analysts were surprised by the extent of them. The move dwarfs Microsoft's previous biggest job cut, when it cut about 5,800 jobs in 2009.

With the Nokia deal, Microsoft's employee headcount rose from about 99,000 last year to 127,000 as of last month.

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that of the up to 18,000 jobs, about 12,500 professional and factory jobs will be cut. It anticipates charges of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion over the next four quarters, which includes $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs.

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