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Here’s what Elop told the 12,500 Nokia employees who just got axed

Published Jul 17th, 2014 9:45AM EDT
Microsoft Nokia Layoffs Elop

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It’s safe to say that Stephen Elop really isn’t very popular in Finland, especially after Microsoft announced on Thursday that it was laying 12,500 people who currently work for its Nokia devices and services division. Since Elop is both the former CEO of Nokia and the current boss of Microsoft’s devices and services division, we were very curious to get his take on this week’s massive layoffs that hit his division harder than any other.

In a letter sent to his employees on Thursday, Elop explained how these “difficult” job cuts are necessary to realign Nokia’s Lumia devices with Microsoft’s vision for mobile phones.

“We recognize these planned changes are broad and have very difficult implications for many of our team members,” he writes. “The team transferring from Nokia and the teams that have been part of Microsoft have each experienced a number of remarkable changes these last few years. We operate in a competitive industry that moves rapidly, and change is necessary. As difficult as some of our changes are today, this direction deliberately aligns our work with the cross company efforts that Satya has described in his recent emails.”

Other than addressing the layoffs, Elop also outlined his plan to remake Microsoft’s hardware division into a much more focussed operation. For starters, Elop wants Microsoft to concentrate primarily on building budget phones and “on acquiring new customers in the markets where Microsoft’s services and products are most concentrated.” He also says that there will be some “limited change” for both the Xbox and Surface teams, although for now it sounds as though both of those divisions are being spared from the kind of massive restructuring we’re seeing with the Nokia division.

Earlier this year, Elop came under heavy criticism in the Finnish press after it was revealed that Nokia employees would not be receiving any bonuses for their work in 2013 even though at the same time Elop made a whopping $25 million bonus that year for overseeing the merger between Microsoft and Nokia. Nokia board members apparently pleaded with Elop to take a smaller bonus but he refused because he said he needed that money to pay for a pending divorce with his wife.

You can read Elop’s full letter by clicking the source link below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.