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Finland 'betrayed' by Microsoft cuts that leave one in five without a job

Microsoft’s decision to lay off thousands of Nokia employees has left Finland with mixed emotions as many of the job losses are coming in the home country of the subsidiary.

Related: New Nokia business strategy binds the company to Microsoft’s vision

The cuts, which could eventually affect 12,500 on the Nokia side of the business, were announced yesterday and left a mix of emotions with everything from anger, sadness and disappointment to a lack of surprise.

"It can be said that we have been betrayed," Finland's finance minister Antti Rinne told Kauppalehti, according to ZDNet. "At the time of the Nokia deal Microsoft announced it is committed to Finnish expertise. Now it seems this commitment isn't fully met."

Microsoft has decided to cut up to 18,000 jobs around the globe and of the 4,700 employed by them in Finland, 1,100 are being made redundant – around one in five of the company’s workforce in the country.

One of the areas worst affected by the news is the city of Oulu in the north of the country that houses a research and development lab that Microsoft has earmarked for closure. That means 500 staff will be lost and it’s something that, whilst disappointing for the city’s mayor, isn’t much of a surprise.

"Of course it is a disappointment that this kind of unit will be shut down. It is a major blow," said the city's mayor Matti 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."

Nokia Networks, formerly known as Nokia Siemens Networks, still retains a presence in the city and employs about 2,500 people with the hope that some jobs will be absorbed there.

Microsoft’s job cuts will also hit the company’s Finnish HQ in Espoo and the development of key mobile technologies will instead be worked on at former Nokia units in Tampere, for high end devices, and Salo, for lower end devices.

Related: Microsoft pulls the plug on Nokia Android smartphones

Since the acquisition in September 2013, Microsoft has been looking to save around $600 million [£350 million] per year and laying off staff is a large part of the initial cost cutting measures.

Image Credit: Flickr (ezioman)