By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp will slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, this year as it almost halves the size of its newly acquired Nokia phone business and tries to transform into a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software company. The larger-than-expected cuts, announced on Thursday, are the deepest in the company’s 39-year history and come five months into the tenure of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. “We plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making.” Beyond the Nokia reductions, Nadella gave few clues about where the ax will fall or what areas will receive more funding, saying he will flesh out his plans after Microsoft’s quarterly earnings report on July 22. The size of the cuts were welcomed by Wall Street, which viewed Microsoft as bloated under previous CEO Steve Ballmer, topping 127,000 in headcount after absorbing Nokia earlier this year.
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