Finland finance minister “disappointed in Microsoft” after Nokia layoffs

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it is removing 18,000 employees from its workforce, with 12,500 – more than two-thirds – of the job cuts made up of former Nokia staff, who had joined Microsoft as part of its acquisition of the Finnish company’s devices business this year.

Up to 1,100 jobs will go in Finland, which has led to some discontent in the country’s government about the layoffs, as well as concern over the future of those soon to be without a job. “Microsoft’s intention to reduce jobs also in Finland is the bad news we feared,” Labour Minister Lauri Ihalainen told Bloomberg. “The least that can now be expected is that it creates a credible support package to those it lets go, similar to what was done with those let go from Nokia [during earlier pre-acquisition cuts].”

Finnish Finance Minister Antti Rinne told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat: “I’m a little disappointed in Microsoft, which said at the time of the Nokia deal that it’s committed to Finland. This isn’t commitment.”

Rinne added that “Microsoft must fulfil the promise of building a data center in Finland,” referring to an assurance made by the company in September that it will invest around €250m in a new facility in the country. Microsoft has said that the new data center will open in August.

In a statement, Microsoft reiterated its commitment to Finland, saying that the country will remain a ‘key focus area in the future’, and adding that it will do what it can to help those made redundant in its recent restructuring. “As a responsible company, we strive to do our best to ensure that employees affected by the potential cuts are offered a variety of support measures and advice, including in finding new work,” it said. 

Source: Bloomberg | Microsoft sign on Nokia building image via Taina Sohlman / Shutterstock.com

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16 Comments

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Companies will say anything to get acquisition / merger approval. It's funny really, because governments have the power to get clauses in writing but rarely do. Astrazeneca in the UK is in the same boat. Foreign companies come in, buy them up, then sack most of the employees. I've seen it so many times. The ordinary workers are always the ones that suffer. Governments do absolutely nothing about it.

Sucks to be getting the axe, but Microsoft has very decent severance packages--they're not going to let these people hang; I'm not terribly worried for them.

I'm saying this as someone who used to work for a small startup that was acquired by Microsoft. The year they shut down our local office was, personally, my best year ever financially--and I'm just a lowly coder.

Your skillset would have to be horrendous if you couldn't get a job despite having Microsoft on your resume as a former employer.


Rinne added that “Microsoft must fulfil the promise of building a data center in Finland”


Microsoft has said that the new data center will open in August.

SOMEBODY seems a bit impatient. I mean, really. If it's due to open next month, it's probably almost done. August is only 12 days away.

rfirth said,

SOMEBODY seems a bit impatient. I mean, really. If it's due to open next month, it's probably almost done. August is only 12 days away.

It's MY data center and I need it NOW!!!

It's a difficult situation. Layoffs were certainly expected. I didn't think it would be this many. Hopefully Microsoft's mobile phone plans will work out well and they can justify expanding the work force again. Of course, nobody really knows what Microsoft's mobile plans even are right now because they suck at communication.

LOL... the guy is a bit uninformed. While there will be layoffs in Finland, Elop said himself in his memo that ALL Lumia design and production (both high-end and low-end) is happening in Finaland.... which means it'll create more jobs in other aspects and bring more business to Finland.

I think you may be uninformed. All those facilities have to remain in Finland (so it is not really a choice) because Microsoft promised that to the Finnish government to get their take over approval. Here what's happening is that the prime minister found the number of layoffs too many.

Finland isn't exactly a large nation - therefore Nokia (and now Microsoft) has an outsized effect on their employment picture - and their economy. (How much of Nokia was left in Finland after the merger, for example?) The Finance Minister is no idiot - he gets why the layoffs happened. The statement was purely political.

paulheu said,
Sounds like there's elections coming up in Finland.

This is not United States. In Finland politicians come, they serve and they leave. And they don't attack each other on what theother may have done 20 years ago.