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Sting Concert for Microsoft Execs Preceded Layoffs


Microsoft hosted an invite-only event in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday featuring a performance by Sting. The 50 attendees included top executives. It may have been a World Economic Forum (WEF) highlight for most people, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the event’s timing has raised some eyebrows since the tech giant announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees the following day.



Paul Bergen | Getty Images

The layoffs — prompted by the global economic downturn — will be the most significant round for Microsoft in eight years. News of the concert juxtaposed with the layoffs has disappointed and frustrated employees; many felt that the concert’s timing was inappropriate given the circumstances.

After all, private shows by major stars like Sting can command hefty fees. According to Rolling Stone, some charged between $100K-$500K just for virtual events last year.

Microsoft has not commented on the concert’s timing or the layoff announcement. However, in a blog post, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company would be transparent throughout the process and continue hiring in “key strategic areas.”

Microsoft’s decision to host a concert before announcing layoffs might be tone-deaf, but the software and electronics giant is not alone in seeing a need to reduce its workforce. Clearly, the technology industry is suffering from a volatile economy, and companies are making difficult decisions to stay afloat. Other top tech companies have cut thousands of positions recently, including 18,000 at Amazon, 10% of Salesforce’s workforce, and 3,000 employees at Goldman Sachs.

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