Microsoft's attempt to better itself harms thousands in Finland as the tech company announces its intent to lay off employees at Nokia's previous holdings in a country still struggling from the Eurozone's economic downturn.
Of the 18,000 jobs Microsoft said it intends to cut, 12,500 will reportedly come from its Nokia division and approximately half of the 12,500 layoffs will be exacted on the workforce that migrated over to Microsoft from Nokia.
At least 500 jobs were expected to be axed at Nokia's site in Oulo, located in Finland's Northern Ostrobothnia region. City Mayor Matti Pennanen said the job cuts will be huge setback for Oulu, but was optimistic that the terminated employees would find work again soon.
"Of course it is a disappointment that this kind of unit will be shut down. It is a major blow," said Pennanen. "But we have to look forward and believe that we can get through this as well. We have great expertise in Oulu and now we have to find out together with Microsoft and others how this talented group of people can be re-employed."
Antti Rinne, Finland's finance minister, said Finland felt betrayed. He said Microsoft's move in cutting jobs in Finland seemed to diverge from what it initially said was its commitment to "Finnish expertise" during its acquisition of Nokia's handset operations.
"Now I require data centers to come," Rinne said. "They were promised."
There has been hope that some of the 500 Oulu employees who are laid off will have an opportunity to join the 2,500-strong workforce at an operation still owned by Nokia in the city. While increasing the Nokia site's workforce by 20 percent may be a bit of a strain, Finnish citizens have been calling for Microsoft to step up and offer a program similar to that offered by Nokia to laid-off employees.
Nokia's Bridge program helped terminated employees find new work, by offering to develop their skills and help them launch startup businesses. The program, which started in 2011 as Nokia terminated 40,000 jobs, still exists within what's left of Nokia.
"The least we can expect from Microsoft is that it'll participate in creating a similar program and support package for the people made redundant now as was done for people laid off from Nokia," stated Finnish labor minister Lauri Ihalainen.
Microsoft said in a statement that it strives to ensure that laid off employes are offered guidance and support, which includes helping the affected employees find work.