Microsoft is going to close Skype’s London office, in a move that could impact the jobs of the nearly 400 people employed there. The company told the Financial Times that is will “unify some engineering positions,” but that it “will be entering into a consultation process to help those affected by the redundancies.”
The London office is a key part of Skype’s history, since it was the primary engineering site and headquarters of the company before Microsoft acquired it, and it also survived Skype’s strange interlude under the ownership of eBay before it was acquired by the big M.
While the move is no doubt a blow to London’s tech scene, some former insiders told the FT that it’s also not a surprise to see it go, largely because a steady stream of executive departures over the last few years have foretold a shift in the locus of power at the company. Post-acquisition, Microsoft has also done a lot of product work on Skype, with plenty of integration with Office 365 and a number of feature introductions that bring it closer in line with Slack.
Microsoft likely now intends to build Skype from Redmond, which should help further align its strategic vision across its software products.
Additional reporting by Ingrid Lunden