400 employees left in limbo as Skype shuts London office

Skype is one of the biggest software products that came out of Europe – a software so successful; its name became a synonym for ‘video calling.’ The London office was one of the original offices of Skype – despite the headquarters being in Luxemburg. It opened in 2003 – but after Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in 2011, it was closed and moved to a new building in 2013.

It looks like Microsoft doesn’t want to keep it around any longer – Microsoft will be shutting the office down, as for what happens to the employees there remains a question not yet answered.

Skype London Office

Microsoft said in a statement, that it has “made the decision to unify some engineering positions, potentially putting at risk a number of globally focused Skype and Yammer roles” and that it is “deeply committed to doing everything [it] can help those impacted through the process.”

Microsoft has a record of assimilating its acquisitions into its larger self – a Skype integration is no surprise.

Last month, Microsoft said in its annual report that it would be cutting away about 2,850 jobs globally by June of 2017, so this doesn’t come as a surprise either.

Skype as a product has been lagging behind as well – the client has suffered a code-bloat for a while now, and integration with other Microsoft products have been lagging. As one former employee tells Financial Times: “One of the things that were always a big issue for Microsoft was that big decisions at Skype would usually always be made in Europe, not in Redmond. Now, it’s a Redmond, Microsoft-led company rather than an independent Skype.”

While it is sad to see the demise of a branch as old as the company, it isn’t its former self either. As Dell Wellman – another former Skype employee – said, “I found it unusual that while I was employed there, over a very short timespan 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.”

Only time will tell where Skype as a company and product is headed.


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