Microsoft is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations. The decisions are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick up news and content that is presented on MSN.com, inside Microsoft’s Edge browser and in the company’s various Microsoft News apps. Most of the affected workers from the untimely decision are part of Microsoft’s SANE (Search, Ads, News and Edge) division and are contracted as human editors to help pick stories.
“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” said a Microsoft personnel in a statement. “This can result in increased investment in some places and from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result if the current pandemic.”
While Microsoft says the layoffs aren’t directly related to the ongoing corona virus pandemic, media businesses across the world have been hit hard by advertising revenues plummeting across TV, newspapers, online and more.
Microsoft has been in the new business for more than 25 years, after launching MSN all the way back in 1995. At the launch of Microsoft News nearly two years ago, Microsoft revealed it had “more than 800 editors working from 50 locations around the world.”
Microsoft has gradually been moving towards Artificial Intelligence for its Microsoft News work in recent months and has been encouraging publishers and journalists to make use of Artificial Intelligence too. Microsoft has been using Artificial Intelligence to scan for content and then process and filter it and even suggest photos for human editors to curate top stories from a variety of sources to display on Microsoft News, MSN and Microsoft Edge.