Microsoft to Eliminate 18K Workers as It Absorbs Nokia

(Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)

Morning Money Memo:

Microsoft plans to layoff 14 percent of its workforce in the next year, or 18,000 employees, as it works to integrate the Nokia devices business it bought in April. With the Nokia deal, Microsoft's employee headcount rose to 127,000 as of last month from about 99,000 last year. The company says about 12,500 professional and factory jobs will be cut. "It's important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an email to employees. The announcement promises a "more lean and efficient" Microsoft. "We plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making," Nadella said.

The long-running controversy over General Motors' delayed recall of millions of small cars gets another hearing in Congress today. A Senate panel will pose questions to a new set of key players. GM CEO Mary Barra will be asked about how she's changing a corporate culture that allowed a defect with ignition switches to remain hidden from the car-buying public for 11 years. It will be Barra's second time testifying before the panel. But Senators may save their most pointed questions for GM General Counsel Michael Millikin. An internal investigation led by a former federal prosecutor showed that even as GM lawyers recommended the settlement of similar cases involving crashes where front air bags failed to deploy in Chevrolet Cobalt's and Saturn Ions, they didn't alert higher-ups, including Millikin, to a potential safety issue.

Rocket science long dismissed as too impractical and expensive for everyday cars is getting a push into the mainstream by Toyota. The world's biggest automaker is betting that drivers will embrace hydrogen fuel cells, a clean technology that runs on the energy created by an electrochemical reaction when oxygen in the air combines with hydrogen stored as fuel. Unlike internal-combustion engines that power most vehicles on roads today, a pure hydrogen fuel cell emits no exhaust, only some heat and a trickle of pure water. Toyota's fuel-cell car will go on sale in Japan before April next year. But there are still significant obstacles to overcome, including the lack of fueling stations.

America's biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, says its second-quarter earnings were 2 percent lower than last year, but the report came in stronger than expected. The company raised its full-year profit forecast. UnitedHealth is the first insurer to report earnings and many see it as a bellwether for other insurers.

Strong earnings reports and corporate deals are a plus for the stock market. The Dow Jones index rose more than 77 points Wednesday, reaching a new record. Investors had lots of market-moving news to consider, including encouraging corporate earnings from Intel, a higher profit forecast from hospital operator HCA Holdings and a pickup in U.S. homebuilders' confidence. Word of the 21st Century Fox bid for Time Warner was also a positive for the market.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow