I often wonder what goes through Bill Gates’ mind when hears about Microsoft and their latest antics…oh, sorry, I mean business dealings. The most recent and glaring faux pas has to be the way that they treated Nokia and continue to do so. Nokia’s board made their first mistake when they refused to switch to Android and secondly, when they hired ex-Microsoft executive Stephen Elop to run their company. The third mistake was allowing Elop to drop the Symbian OS (that was a good thing) and sign an agreement with Microsoft to produce phones with the Windows Phone 8 operating system, rather than Android. The next mistake was allowing Elop to sell Nokia to Microsoft for next to nothing ($7.2 billion). Continuing with mistakes was the one where Microsoft hired Elop back again…and even considered him for the CEO position. It seems like a big conspiracy theory, or better yet, the old Trojan horse trick – only instead of a horse, Nokia received an Elop from Microsoft…could they really have planned that whole scenario – I believe they did.
It is bad enough that Microsoft probably destroyed any chance that Nokia will ever be a force in the smartphone world. Now, due to Microsoft’s BIG reorganization, the new CEO Satya Nadella, who succeeded Steve Ballmer in February, says that they need to cut 18,000 jobs worldwide from their workforce in an effort to cut costs – 13,000 positions needed to be cut immediately. You know where most of those 13,000 job cuts are coming from; you guessed it, Nokia’s hardware business. At the Nokia R&D Center in Beijing, Microsoft is planning to cut about 4,700 jobs and leave only 300 workers. This news did not go over very well with the workers and they hit the street protesting, but not to worry because Microsoft has a solution to make them all happy…at least 300 a day.
To ease the ‘pain’ of losing their jobs, in a company email, Microsoft said that it would give away a free Nokia Lumia 630 that retails for a whopping $130…compared to the Apple iPhone 5S that sells in China for about $789. Microsoft will give out 300 devices every day to those that apply for a voluntary resignation package, citing that the devices will be issued on a “first come, first serve” basis. The First Financial Daily called the offer a “new trick” by the U.S. major tech company – Microsoft’s China office declined any comment of the whole issue, and can you blame them, I mean what could they say? If there was any severance package as part of the “voluntary resignation package,” Microsoft is not saying…I certainly hope they are getting more than just a cheap phone.
CEO Nadella claims that the layoffs will lead to the “fewer layers of management” that he is looking to achieve. Microsoft is also cutting a number of products and services as well as getting rid of the Nokia X lineup that was powered by Android rather than Windows Phone 8 (WP8). It is clear that a big shakeup within Microsoft was necessary after years of miscues (Windows Vista) and no new products or innovation. Nadella is left to cleanup years of Steve Ballmer’s decisions and lack of real direction. It is such a shame that Nokia is getting the brunt of the layoffs, although their own Board of Directors did nothing to help the company to transition from their Symbian OS to Android and WP8, and then they allowed Elop to drag them down even further. Don’t worry about it though because as along you agree to resign your job, Microsoft will give you a $130 Nokia phone to help ease your pain…talk about pouring salt in the wounds…a Nokia WP8 phone to serve as a constant reminder.