Microsoft has confirmed that it is to cut 5,000 jobs, with 1,400 staff going immediately and the rest staggered over the next 18 months.

Cuts at the Redmond giant have been mooted for some time, but the confirmation has finally been made, with Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell announcing the news.

"Economic activity slowed beyond our expectations in the quarter, and we acted quickly to reduce our cost structure and mitigate its impact," said Liddell.

Economic uncertainty

"We are planning for economic uncertainty to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, almost certainly leading to lower revenue and earnings for the second half relative to the previous year," he added.

The news arrives as Microsoft announces an 11 per cent fall in profits for second quarter net income – with the company making $4.17 billion (£3 billion).

Microsoft has a significant presence in the UK, but no announcement has yet been made as to where the jobs will be cut globally.