One in five ex-Nokia workers in Finland could be axed as Microsoft prepares layoffs

One in five ex-Nokia workers in Finland could be axed as Microsoft prepares layoffs

Summary: Speculation mounts in Finland about heavy cuts for Microsoft's Nokia employees.

TOPICS: Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, EU
Nokia's former headquarters in Espoo, now a Microsoft facility
Nokia's former headquarters in Espoo, now a Microsoft facility. Image: Nokia

The job cuts Microsoft is expected to announce this week could fall hard on Nokia's home country, with Finnish media reporting the company could shed 1,000 people there.

Microsoft absorbed around 25,000 Nokia employees when it officially acquired Nokia's devices and services business in April, including 4,700 workers in Finland.

Those former Nokia employees may bear the brunt of the layoffs Microsoft will reportedly announce later this month. The number of staff expected to be made redundant could top the 5,000 job losses Microsoft announced 2009. If a report from Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat is correct, many of those affected could come from Finland.

There's been speculation in the country over whether more cuts to Nokia staffing levels were on the way following Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's email to employees last week. According to a Helsingin Sanomat report on Wednesday, multiple sources told the paper that Microsoft is planning to cut 1,000 staff in Finland and shut down Nokia's Oulu R&D labs in the north of the country, which are mainly responsible for developing software for feature phones. Microsoft declined to comment on the report.

The Oulu facility employs 500 staff while Microsoft's other ex-Nokia staff are spread across Nokia's former locations, with 1,970 in Espoo, 1,100 in Salo, and 1,120 in Tampere, Helsingin Sanomat said.

Over the past few years, Oulu has seen hundreds of staff laid off during Nokia's transition to Windows Phone, including former Nokians working on Symbian who were transferred to Accenture in 2011. 

No Nokia, no Bridge

In the past, Nokia employees have had the benefit of the company's generous Bridge programme, which had helped some of the 40,000 workers who lost their jobs in recent years to develop marketable skills or launch their own startup. One of its most well-known alumni of the programme was Finnish smartphone startup Jolla, which leaned on Nokia's open source MeeGo OS to launch its own smartphone.

The program is continuing at Nokia's Indian plant in Chennai, which has yet to be transferred to Microsoft due to the Finnish company's ongoing tax issues there.

When Nokia completed the sale of its devices business to Microsoft, it also announced it would be introduce "elements" of the Bridge programme to employees in Chennai and Masan. According to the Economic Times, Nokia kicked off the program there this June.

Read more on Nokia

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, EU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Predictable who out there, thought that the MS / Nokia partnership was going to be good for Finland? Once MS is done, there will be no Finnish presence. Nokia picked the wrong horse.
    • Predictable Savior

      ...Nokia would be shutdown completely without Microsoft help/bailout. Remember the "burning platform" memo? Nokia Win Phones are excellent. Nokia X Android phones blow.
      Sean Foley
      • Mate...

        Being in trouble with Wall St is not the same as being doomed. Close to it, perhaps. But doomed no.
    • Predictable.

      So any other company like Google laying off 1200+ Motorola employees is good, while MS laying off 5000 employes while keeping 20,000 is bad.

      And of course any other company buying Nokia wouldn't have the same overlap, so any other company buying Nokia would have kept all 25,000 employees no matter what the loss.

      Got it.
    • Why?

      Why would you think that? Microsoft has a presence pretty much everywhere in the world.
      Buster Friendly
  • If MS had not acquired Nokia

    The results would have been devastating, maybe 20,000 employees would be without a job right now. I do hope these employees do find work though, its never good to be without a job, especially if these are persons with families to support. Hopefully MS will setup a program to help them find a job.
  • I'm looking forward to a joke from LD in this thread

    Hopefully it will come soon, and hopefully it will be just as funny as his other jokes in here!
  • I'm not LD, but, I've got a question for you...

    What do you call a company that acquires another company, which results in a lot of redundancy in the company's work force, but fails to lay off people to save money with that additional and useless work-force?
    • Microsoft?

      Lots of their software is redundant
      • That's true to an extent, but, there would be a lot more redundancy in the

        internal staff than in the software.

        So, the true answer would be "wasteful".