The Finnish government slammed Microsoft for its latest round of job cuts, accusing it of failing on promises made after acquiring Nokia’s phone unit in 2014 to establish the country as a hub of operations.
Microsoft said earlier this week it would cut 1,350 jobs in Finland, and 500 more globally, as part of an effort to “streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business”.
While stopping short of exiting the segment completely, the move has been seen as putting an end to the company’s development of mobile projects in Finland.
After acquiring Nokia’s troubled phone business two years ago, which is Finland’s biggest company, Microsoft had reportedly promised to maintain research and development jobs, and even talked about creating a data centre in the country.
“I am disappointed because of the initial promises made by Microsoft,” said finance minister Alexander Stubb in a parliament plenary, reports Reuters. “One example is that the data centre did not materialise.”
Employment minister Jari Lindstrom also weighed in, stating: “The company must bear as big a responsibility as possible over what they have done by laying off people.”
This in fact is not the first time the Finnish government has voiced dissatisfaction with Microsoft since it took over the Nokia business.
Shortly after the acquisition, Microsoft’s decision to axe 12,500 jobs related to the Devices and Services unit, including around 1,100 jobs in Finland, sparked a furious reaction from the country’s politicians. At the time, Antti Rinne, then finance minister, said the country was “betrayed”.
Microsoft’s latest jobs cull comes as the company struggles to gain traction in the smartphone market, and its overall hardware business continues to fail to deliver significant volume, as well as generate support from other vendors.
Just last year, the company announced a further 7,800 job cuts mainly related to the former Nokia business.
Finland’s government is now planning “serious talks” with the company over how it can help those recently laid off to find new jobs, adds Reuters.