Microsoft on Thursday sacked 34 (85 per cent) of the 40 employees in the Nigerian office of its phone division.
The sacking came 24 hours after the company’s latest Windows 10 was made available in Nigeria and 189 other countries.
Although, Windows 10 is now available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems or with new personal computers and tablets, industry experts said it would leave about 15 million Nigerian payments cards prone to hacking.
Employees at the Nigerian office were silent on the matter, but a source said that the downsizing was part of the global decision of Microsoft to streamline its phone division.
The source said the sacking was in line with the massive layoff of workers “sweeping through the global offices of Microsoft’s phone division.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft, Satya Nadella, had said in a memo to all Nigerian employees in late June that the company needed to make some “tough choices” in areas that were not working.
The memo had stated that 7,800 jobs would be cut from the mobile division working on Windows Phone hardware.
The e-mail from Nadella to all employees, which was made available to our correspondent, read, “We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem, including our first-party device family.
“In the near-term, we’ll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio, while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility.
“Microsoft was committed to our first-party devices, including phones, but needed to focus its phone efforts in the near term.”
According to him, the company will also write off $7.6bn from the acquisition of Nokia, despite it only paying $7.2bn for the company in 2014.
“The future prospects for the phone hardware segment were below original expectations due to the new plans,” he added.
Nadella said that the news would “surely leave an unclear future for Windows Phone.”
Although he said that in the near future, the company would run a “more effective” phone portfolio, he added, “But that doesn’t exactly throw the company’s weight behind the platform.”
Nadella said that the move would not give partners reassurance that the platform was a good choice to build new hardware or apps for the future.
“Microsoft is also pushing ahead to release Lumia flagships this year and is still actively developing Windows 10 mobile,” he added.