Microsoft is reorging its field sales team, laying off some 'Modern Desktop' salespeople

Microsoft is cutting a number of field sales jobs as part of one of its regular reorgs, specifically ones involving pushing Windows as a key part of their charter.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The fallout from Microsoft's regularly scheduled new fiscal year reorgs is continuing. This week, it's the field sales teams that are getting shaken up with several individuals being laid off. 

Like the recent Microsoft 365 marketing shakeup I detailed, the sales reorg also was timed for July 1. But it wasn't until this week that Microsoft told the field that it was eliminating the Modern Desktop Technical Sales Professional (TSP) role in the company. The result: Some of those TSPs are being reassigned; some are being given a period of time to find a new job internally; and some number are being laid off, sources are telling me.

I asked Microsoft officials if the rumors were true and how many people were being cut.

"There were some reductions, largely in the field, across a wide range of geos and teams," a spokesperson confirmed. He said the company was not commenting on how many people were affected.

One of my contacts said this reorg is more far-reaching than the usual shuffle the deck chairs type reorgs that happen regularly at Microsoft, and expected headcount loss to be non-trivial. 

In January 2019, Microsoft cut about 200 positions in its commercial sales business as part of a reorg. My sources say that this week's layoff count is higher than that. However, this latest sales reorg is much smaller than the one in July  2017 which resulted in Microsoft laying off several thousands of people, primarily in the field and moving to a model where its field salespeople would need to be more technical.

Some other moves are happening involving TSPs as part of this week's reorg and other parts of field sales being hit by layoffs, sources say. But the Modern Desktop TSP elimination is significant because it shows, yet again, that Microsoft is trying to step away from being the Windows company. The Modern Desktop TSP role is largely about selling Windows 10 (along with Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security).

Microsoft's July 1 marketing reorg is largely about trying to align Microsoft 365 from a marketing perspective so that Microsoft 365 is sold as a single entity rather than a bundle of three separate things (Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security).

Next week is Microsoft's annual Inspire partner conference, as well as its internal "Ready" internal sales kick-off event, which are co-located in Las Vegas.

In Memoriam: All the consumer products Microsoft has killed off

Editorial standards