Some distressing news. Microsoft is getting on the layoff train, as it has let go its entire Modern Life Experiences team, which according to reports is 200 strong.
This report by Business Insider first spilled the beans, indicating that the full workforce of the MLX team has been served notices. And while the Redmond based company did not comment on the news, there appears to be decent evidence pointing towards the incident being true.
Our strongest confirmation yet comes from Erynn Hesler, product design lead and manager for consumer products at Microsoft, who took to LinkedIn to offer her support to colleagues who faced the hard news.
Although she notes that the team was small, since the entire division is being slashed, potentially every one of them could be impacted by the decision.
Microsoft has offered these employees two months (60 days) time to either find another suitable position at the company or take severance.
As The Verge notes, the technology giant originally formed the Modern Life Experiences team in 2018 after a rather rocky period for its consumer products. This was a year after the company killed off its Groove music service, discontinued Kinect and finally admitted that Windows Phone was dead.
The big idea behind the MLX division was to research and develop consumer focused projects — an area where Microsoft has generally struggled.
Its only success has come in products like the Xbox consoles and the Surface line of devices. And with devices like the Microsoft Band disappearing, Cortana falling way behind its rivals, and HoloLens pivoting towards commercial customers, things are not looking too up for this side of business.
This news can be taken as an indication that Redmond is potentially giving up on the consumer side of things. Either that, or the company does not feel it requires a whole department for it.
Its consumer efforts are now focused on Windows, Microsoft 365, Teams, Surface, and obviously, Xbox.
That said, this change in direction comes after Microsoft very recently broke its own hiring record by adding 40,000 employees over the year, bringing the total count as of June 20, 2022 to a mighty impressive 221,000.