Finland feels betrayed by Microsoft's upcoming job cuts

As you might have heard recently, Microsoft plans to cut as many as 18,000 jobs by next year. This is no doubt a pretty huge cut and there would be many people who will be out of a job. Most of the job cuts will be of former Nokia employees who were absorbed post-acquisition, which includes about 1,100 people in Finland. Well as it turns out, Finland, the home country of Nokia, isn’t too thrilled about the job cuts. In fact the country’s newly-appointed finance minister, Antti Rinne, was quoted as saying that it felt like a betrayal. Speaking to Finnish business daily Kauppalehti, Rinne said, “It can be said that we have been betrayed. At the time of the Nokia deal Microsoft announced it is committed to Finnish expertise. Now it seems this commitment isn’t fully met.”

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb received a call Thursday from Stephen Elop, the head of Microsoft Corp.’s device business and a former Nokia Corp. chief executive, alerting him that Microsoft would cut 1,100 of the 4,700 jobs in Finland that came with its purchase of Nokia’s mobile phone operations. Mr. Stubb called the layoffs “extremely regrettable” and said the government would do all it could to cushion the blow to those affected. While the job-loss news was dispiriting for Finland, it wasn’t a big surprise and there is evidence that the nation’s startups may benefit from some of the losses. It was widely feared in Finland that Microsoft would eventually start restructuring the unprofitable handset unit it bought from Nokia in April. Finnish politicians issued statements on Thursday calling on Microsoft to show social responsibility and offer retraining and generous severance packages to the people it is dismissing, something which Nokia has done in the past in Finland and abroad. Some went further and accused Microsoft of reneging on the promises it supposedly made about job security and Finland’s place in its strategy when it was in the process of buying Nokia’s handset business. “You can say we were betrayed,” said Finland’s newly-minted Minister of Finance Antti Rinne, a Social Democrat.

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