Nokia employees in China protest Microsoft layoffs, report says

Hundreds of Nokia employees in China reportedly rally against the software giant's "hostile takeover and violent layoffs."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has more trouble in China. James Martin/CNET

Chinese employees at Microsoft's Nokia handset business aren't pleased with the software giant's recently announced decision to lay off a large chunk of staff.

"Hundreds" of employees at a Nokia facility in China on Friday protested their new owner, saying Microsoft is guilty of a "hostile takeover and violent layoffs," Reuters reported on Friday. Protesters at the Beijing research center and factory held banners and shouted slogans against Microsoft for 5 hours until they had "sore throats," an unnamed employee at the demonstration told Reuters.

CNET News has contacted Microsoft for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

Microsoft announced last month the largest layoffs in the company's history. The company plans to cut as many as 18,000 employees, including 12,500 professional and factory positions from its recently acquired Nokia devices and services division. Microsoft added roughly 25,000 employees to the payroll when it closed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia in April.

Microsoft has not said exactly how the cuts will impact Nokia employees in China, but it's clear from the protests on Friday that Chinese employees believe their jobs are on the chopping block. The unnamed employee told Reuters that protesters plan to file a formal complaint with Microsoft later on Friday.

The protests are just the latest hurdle Microsoft in a string of problems in China. Earlier this week, the company's offices in China were raided by regulators during an investigation into alleged antitrust issues. Microsoft has complied with the government's requests but stayed relatively tight-lipped on the matter, waiting to see what will happen next.