Microsoft Lays Off 200 Marketing Employees

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's marketing division has undergone some significant changes in recent days, as the company laid off approximately 200 employees. Some of its most prominent Xbox marketing executives have even left for industry rival, Apple.

According to reports, the recent layoffs were almost entirely limited to the Seattle area, and are designed to eliminate redundant positions and clear up where responsibilities lie. To many observers, it appears that Microsoft's goal in the restructuring is to improve the efficiency of the company's marketing.

3% Cut From Microsoft's Marketing Force

It also appears the company is hoping to give more control over advertising to leaders of its product marketing sections within its many business divisions. This could mean slightly more independence for the Xbox team within the Entertainment and Devices division, for example.

"Given the rapid changes in technology and the shifts in how our customers connect with Microsoft, great marketing is more important than ever to Microsoft's future success," the company explained in a written statement.

"We're taking steps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing, and to strengthen career paths for marketers at Microsoft." (Source:

Overall, the 200 layoffs represent only about 3 per cent of the company's 6,000-strong marketing force. Still, Microsoft doesn't often lay off workers, and when it does -- such as when the company let go about 5,800 people in 2009 -- the news draws lots of media attention to one of the world's most recognizable brands.

Xbox Exec Makes Jump to Apple

While the software giant is apparently striving to become more efficient by laying off some folks, it's also forced to look for a new director of product marketing for its UK-based Xbox Live division.

Robin Burrowes, a seven year Microsoft veteran (working in the Xbox UK section since 2008), recently decided to leave the firm for Apple, where he is now working on marketing that company's App Store.

Burrowes isn't the first gaming executive to be picked up by Cupertino, California-based Apple. Last year, the firm hired former Nintendo manager Robin Saunders and former Activision, Electronic Arts and Microsoft executive, Nick Grange.

Analysts believe these video game hires reflect Apple's strategy to make consumers more aware of the gaming capabilities of its popular tablet and smartphone devices. (Source:

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