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Microsoft Restructuring Plans Good for Traders?

Jennifer Van Grove

Traders boosted shares of Microsoft by nearly 4 percent on Wednesday in anticipation of extensive staff cuts to its devices business and a better bottom line.

Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the Redmond company would cut more than 5,000 jobs as it restructures in the aftermath of its completed acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business. Wednesday, Finnish outlet Helsingin Sanomat followed with a report saying that Microsoft would shutter a Nokia research facility in the Oulu region employing 500 people and axe an additional 500 Finland-based Nokia positions.

If true, the sweeping cuts would match the underlying message of CEO Satya Nadella’s employee memo last week, which promised a leaner, nimbler operation centered around mobile and cloud computing services.

The layoffs, then, would be proof of a move away from the devices business, which explains why investors weren’t entirely sold on Nadella’s rallying cry until word of the significant staff reductions surfaced.

Not all traders rejoiced in the grim news for Nokia staffers. “How long until $MSFT fires everyone to increase the bottom line?,” StockTwits user Kevin Bantz said on the financial social network.

Microsoft shares closed Wednesday at $44.08, up 6.5 percent in the past five days. The lift also coincided with news that Apple and IBM have partnered to develop more than 100 enterprise applications for iOS.

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