The Axe Falls: Microsoft to Cut Half of Nokia Devices & Services Workforce

    We knew when it was announced that Microsoft was going to buy Nokia Devices and Services that it would lead to cuts in the workforce. It was hoped that a lot of that had been done in the lead up to the sale, with many people having left the company to find work with other big names, or start their own companies. Well Microsoft have just revealed the scale of the cuts, and guys. It’s bad.

    Microsoft have said that they will be reducing the size of their workforce by up to 18,000 jobs. Of those 12,500 of them will be coming from what was until recently Nokia Devices and Services, that equates to roughly half of the entire workforce. 4,700 people are employed in Finland and it’s expected that of that figure around 1,100 will lose their jobs.

    They’ve made it clear that both professional and factory workers will be in the firing line. The first 13,000 positions are already being taken away, we’d already heard rumours this morning that Microsoft were booking rooms here in Helsinki to notify staff of their redundancy. They expect that the vast majority of employees who they intent to let go will be notified over the next six months.

    In the memo Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent out this morning, US Pacific time, he assured staff that severance will be offered to all employees ‘impacted by these changes’, along with job transition help in many locations. Considering so many will be going here in Finland, we can only hope that this is one of those locations.

    One part of the email that won’t come as a surprise to many is Nadella’s comments on Microsoft’s plans for the now first party mobile phone strategy. It looks like the Nokia X might dead. In the email Nadella had this to say, “we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows”. It was always going to be a tough sell; a Microsoft phone, branded as Nokia, running on Google’s Android platform? You’d certainly be earning your money in marketing if you sold that one well.

    We hope that all those who will be receiving notice of the end of their employment through Nokia Devices and Services will land on their feet. It’s been fascinating to follow the progress of so many others who have previously worked at various positions within Nokia find new life in the start up sector, and we hope that theirs is an example many will be able to follow. The previous rounds of lay offs at Nokia injected great amounts of talent and expertise into Finland’s budding start up sector, which has even overflowed into the Baltics. During a recent talk with one start up in Vilnius, Lithuania, we were told that they were finding it easier to hire programmers from Finland over local talent because their pool was so limited.

    Nadella has said in his memo that more details will be released on the 22nd July during Microsoft’s public earnings call. Until then we hope that as people find out they no longer have a job at such a large corporation, they won’t forget that the potential for something new, bigger and more exciting is just around the corner. Many others have gone on to find work at enterprising start ups, or simply founded them themselves, and there is no reason why the many talented men and women who will be released over the next six months cannot do likewise.