microsoftMicrosoft today said it will cut up to 18,000 jobs across the company in a "restructuring plan to simplify its operations" and integrate its $7B acquisition of Nokia.

The announcement followed days of speculation about cuts at the tech giant, which has 125,000 employees.

Microsoft, which released emails from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and EVP Stephen Elop with its morning announcement, said it will take charges up to $1.6B over the next year for severance and asset-related costs.

"My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible," Nardella said in his 5:00 a.m. PT dispatch to staffers, noting the company wants to have few layers of management to become more "agile and move faster." He will hold a Q&A with employees on July 18 and address that changes on the company's July 22 earnings call.

Frank Shaw heads corporate communications at Microsoft as corporate VP. Former Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn is EVP and chief strategy officer.

Microsoft's longtime agency Waggener Edstrom is bolstering its communications through the layoff news.