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Skype shuts down London office, hangs up on hundreds of devs

Cloud move means old-school p2p no longer needed

It's hardly surprising, really: having replaced the peer-to-peer Skype with a client-to-cloud version, Microsoft's now shuttering the London development office it inherited when it bought the VoIP application.

First reported by the Financial Times, the decision to “unify some engineering positions” also affects Yammer developers in the office.

The FT says the decision will mean "most of the 400" staff will be laid off. Microsoft said those at risk numbered 220.

Microsoft called the move a "consolidation" of its London offices, with staff moving to the firm's new facilities in Paddington.

“As part of this effort, Microsoft reviewed some London-based roles and made the decision to unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and Yammer roles," the spokesperson said.

The has firm promised to offer new opportunities where possible for staff following a period of consultation - a standard Microsoft procedure.

For a while after its acquisition by Microsoft, Skype's Holborn office demonstrated its independence. Microsoft now says what positions remain in the UK will be moved to the company's offices in Paddington.

Redmond has been slowly re-crafting the once-P2P Skype in its own image as a cloud-based enterprise communications application which it hopes can be turned into a Slack-killer.

If this Quora post by former Skyper Dan Wellman is accurate, Microsoft made a decision to end Skype's independence: “over a very short time span, any manager that was originally a Skype manager was replaced by a Microsoft manager. And I mean every single manager with a connection to the original company either left or was replaced”.

Skype represents just 14 per cent of Microsoft's Q4 2016 layoff target of 2,850 positions. Other reports suggest a further 300 developers will be axed in the US. ®

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