Microsoft slammed for hosting private Sting concert for its execs in Davos on the eve of firm’s mass layoffs

January 23, 2023

Microsoft has come under fire after details of a bash the company held in Davos, Switzerland, left the company’s workers more than a little stung, reports Fortune Magazine.

The tech firm hosted an exclusive event for around 50 people at the Swiss ski resort on Tuesday evening, January  17, with sources telling the publication that attendees had been treated to a live performance from iconic musician Sting. The party’s theme was sustainability, according to a scoop by The Wall Street Journal

It is unclear whether Microsoft paid Sting to perform at its event on Tuesday evening, at the World Economic Forum, but according to booking agency AAE Music it can cost upward of $500,000 to hire the artist for a private gig.

Invitees to the event—which the Journal described on Wednesday as “intimate”—reportedly included some of the company’s most senior executives.

The next day, Microsoft announced it was slashing 10,000 jobs—almost 5% of its workforce—citing “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.”

It marked the largest round of layoffs at the company since 2014. Toward the end of last year, the company announced it would be letting 1,000 workers go.

In an email to employees on Wednesday, CEO Satya Nadella said some workers would be told that day that their jobs would be cut, adding that the downsizing would be completed by the third quarter of 2023.

“We will treat our people with dignity and respect, and act transparently,” he said. “These decisions are difficult, but necessary.”

“We’re living through times of significant change,” Nadella also told his workforce. “We’re seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one.”

Microsoft is just the latest behemoth of the tech sector to announce sweeping job cuts. AmazonTwitter, and Salesforce are among a plethora of tech firms who also announced layoffs in recent months.

Some Microsoft employees told the Journal that the turn of events between Tuesday and Wednesday was not a good look for the tech giant. The firm also faced criticism on social media, with some dubbing the firm’s moves “hypocrisy” and a “bad look.”

Representatives for Microsoft declined to comment.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine