Chinese workers fume over Microsoft's Nokia layoffs. Call move 'hostile and violent'

1 August 2014, 1:30 pm EDT By Michael McEnaney Tech Times
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Hundreds of Chinese employees at Microsoft's Nokia phone business factory in Beijing protested on Friday against mass layoffs. The protests were in reaction to cuts that the U.S. tech company announced last month.  ( Jingtian Lv | Flickr )

Chinese workers expressed their disgust for Microsoft on Friday as hundreds of employees at the company's Nokia phone business factory vehemently protested over the recent mass layoffs announced last month.

Calling Microsoft's layoffs "hostile and violent," the protesters held banners and shouted anti-Microsoft slogans for over five hours.

Back on July 17, Microsoft engaged in the deepest job cuts in its 39-year history, laying off some 18,000 workers. Over 12,500 of those cuts came from Nokia end of the business, the Finnish smartphone maker Microsoft had purchased back in April for $7.2 billion.

The most recent uproar in China occurred at the Nokia research center and factory in Beijing that employs 2,400 workers. This trouble in China for Microsoft comes on the heels of the antimonopoly probe the company is embroiled in as Microsoft offices in four cities in the country were raided last week by Chinese authorities, as Tech Times reported.

Microsoft's new appointed Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, has pledged to slim the software company down since he took over in February in an effort to better compete with some of the company's smaller Internet rivals. In total, Nadella's 2014 cuts have trimmed approximately 14 percent of the company's worldwide workforce.

According to recent reports, employees affected will receive severance, as well as assistance with transitioning to new jobs in many locations.

Nokia had been struggling in the smartphone race, not only losing market share to rival companies Samsung and Apple, but also to several smaller Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, ZTE, Huawei and Coolpad as lower-cost devices and the burgeoning market in emerging countries now dominate the smartphone space.

The Microsoft/Nokia effort in the smartphone market is expected to make a play with lower-cost product in smaller markets around the world moving forward.

In an earlier report by Tech Times, it was noted that Nadella's plan, or at least the prospects of it, were already paying off for the company as Microsoft's shares had risen by 19 percent so far this year. It was also reported that this recent round of layoffs was the largest in the company's history.

The Tech Times report also claimed that after the Nokia purchase Microsoft is now focusing on "mobile-first" and "cloud-first" strategies, part of its consumer hardware and software product strategy that now involves Nokia.


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