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Microsoft says no layoffs planned in Saudi

Software giant warns of difficult climate this year as US arm announces 5,000 staff cuts.

Software giant Microsoft said on Monday it will not cut jobs in Saudi Arabia but warned of "challenging" economic conditions this year.

The pledge comes in the wake of a shock announcement by the biggest software company in the world that it would be making 5,000 emplyees redundant.

"Microsoft in Saudi Arabia is not directly impacted by the job eliminations announced by the company in Redmond on Thursday Jan. 22," a spokesman for Microsoft Saudi Arabia said.

"We expect that the global economic environment will continue to be challenging and we will continue to evaluate our business to ensure that our investments are aligned to current and future revenue opportunities," the spokesman added.

Microsoft, which reported lower than expected quarterly profits last week, has come under pressure from the US Senate to axe foreign workers before Americans.

At the same time the Saudi government said on Sunday that any company making redundancies in the Kingdom must target expatriates first and move nationals into vacant jobs.

Microsoft Saudi Arabia is a subsidiary of the group's operations in the Middle East and employs around 100 staff.

It sells software solutions to businesses and consumers throughout the region.

Microsoft, which also makes games console Xbox, employs around 90,000 people worldwide.

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