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Microsoft facing layoffs; Google, Novartis partner on 'smart' contact lens; Retail sales

Microsoft (MSFT) is reportedly preparing for its biggest round of layoffs in five years. Bloomberg reported the company is making the cuts – which could be announced this week - to integrate and slim down after acquiring Nokia's handset unit. Sources tell Bloomberg the round of layoffs could be more than the 5,800 jobs the company cut in 2009. The Bloomberg report comes the week after CEO Satya Nadella wrote an email to employees in which he wrote about his vision for the company, that included moving faster and more efficiently.

Retail sales climbed in June, but auto sales dampened the rise. The Commerce Department reported sales climbed  0.2% last month, on expectations of rising 0.6%. Excluding the auto sector, retail sales rose 0.4%. Auto sales dropped 0.3%, their first drop in five months. Automakers have sold the most cars in eight years, but discounts have cut into sales. Many sectors saw an increase in sales including for apparel, electronics and department stores, as well as bars and restaurants and Internet retailers.

Google (GOOGL) is getting into contact lenses. The company's Google X research team is partnering with Alcon, a division of Novartis (NVS), to develop a "smart" contact lens that will help diabetics track their blood sugar levels and restore natural focus for people who are far-sighted. The deal’s financial terms weren’t announced. A date wasn't given for when the lenses are expected to reach the market.

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