Chinese Microsoft staff protest 'hostile' takeover of Nokia unit, 'violent' job cuts

Chinese Microsoft staff protest 'hostile' takeover of Nokia unit, 'violent' job cuts

Summary: Microsoft employees belonging to the firm's Nokia handset arm have taken to the streets in China, protesting against job losses deemed "hostile" and "violent."

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Nokia, China
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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft employees belonging to Nokia's division in Beijing have held another day of protests against job cuts following the Redmond giant's takeover of the handset unit.

The protests originally attracted hundreds of Microsoft employees, and according to MarketWatch, the second day of protests was held by almost 100 members of staff at Yizhuang industrial park. China's state media reported Sunday that Microsoft plans to cut 4,700 jobs from the Beijing-based unit, which will leave staff numbers of approximately 300, a steep drop from the unit's current staffing levels of 5,000.

Protesters say that Microsoft has broken its promise not to cut jobs within the first year following the acquisition of the Nokia handset division in April. The deal, agreed upon for $7.2 billion, transferred Nokia's handset unit to Microsoft, and also gives the tech giant access to Nokia's patent portfolio for ten years.

China National Radio (CNR) reported on Sunday that in addition to the layoffs, staff are protesting due to "inappropriate" compensation. According to the plan, staff laid off are entitled to two months' salary plus a month's pay for each year worked at the company. However, Nokia staff members told CNR that those who do not sign the plan will be fired, which could be in breach of Chinese labor laws.

Protesters outside the Beijing handset research and development center held slogans which accuse Microsoft of instigating a "hostile" takeover and "violent" layoffs. Reuters sources say the first wave of protest went on for approximately five hours until the protestors "had sore throats" from shouting.

On July 17, Microsoft said up to 18,000 jobs will be cut across the globe. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said 12,500 of the jobs will be associated with the Nokia handset group. The first wave will hit approximately 13,000 employees, and the majority of employees affected by the trimming of its workforce will be notified within the next six months. Jobs lost include both skilled and factory roles.

Topics: Microsoft, Nokia, China

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12 comments
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  • Beijing lambasts MSFT, now MSFT pulls out of China,

    so what else should be expected? When the government of a country badmouths a big employer in that country, the latter sees the handwriting on the wall and pulls out before it gets pushed out.

    I'm not a fan of the MSFT management decisions, but no country can expect a big employer to stay, if it's badmouthed as seriously as Latin America, Arabs, and China has done to employers who had located in those areas.

    What goes around, comes around.
    brainout
    • Agreed...

      And most haters are hypocritical, probably writing their protest articles using pirated Microsoft software. China has no ethics.
      Sean Foley
      • Actually...

        ...a large portion of anti-MS articles are written with non-MS software. Not all MS-critics live in China and not all are lawbreakers.
        John L. Ries
        • Actually...

          ...do you have anything to back up that assertion? Or are you being contrary just to throw cold water on a bit of pro-MS banter?

          It's plain to me, a pro-MSer, that SF was being sardonic, and didn't say all MS critics were Chinese lawbreakers....actually.
          Nierteroth9
          • the cold water in this case

            Is appropriate.

            These are Microsoft employees. You have to admit the odds they are using pirated Microsoft software are fairly long.
            Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • Maybe not intentionally...

            I've met more than a small number of Microsoft employees that did not understand Microsoft licensing. But you can hardly blame them, they're only human. ;)
            :x
          • Given the ridiculous statements that are so common around here

            It's useful to have cold water close at hand.
            John L. Ries
  • Nokia build quality attocious!

    Nokia employees are lucky Microsoft bought them as otherwise, with low quality, dated phones, they are far behind much maligned BlackBerry 10, with superior build quality and better OS. Microsoft has spent a fortune advertising the slightly improved Nokia junk
    HenselM
    • Ha

      Keep buying your 700-800 phones.

      I have an iPhone and a S4(given to me from jobs), but my favorite phone is my new 4.5" Nokia 635, $99 no contract
      everss02
  • Presumably...

    ...the Chinese authorities signed off on the merger, or MS would have been required to stop doing business in China when it took effect.
    John L. Ries
  • Oh look..

    ..another casualty in the American led Global Economy. Things will get ugly soon against Billy Gatesy boys company
    Bladeforce
  • Elop must be laughing at all this

    Elop must be laughing at all this, all the way to the bank. He certainly made out well, sold Nokia down the drain, bet the farm on Windows, thus causing the Symbian base to evaporate, got Nokia cheap for MS, goes back to MS, and now sitting pretty, batting eyelashes at Nadella. Must be smiling everyday.
    Backbutton