Microsoft is definitely not setting high standards for bedside manner when it comes to laying off Nokia employees. MarketWatch reports that Microsoft is trying to assuage anger in China over its plan to ax thousands of Nokia employees by offering laid off Chinese workers… wait for it… a free Nokia handset.
Microsoft is planning to kill 4,700 jobs at its factory and R&D center in Beijing and MarketWatch says that the affected Nokia employees have been angrily protesting the plan over the past week. Now in an effort to make the layoffs go more smoothly, “Microsoft is giving free Nokia handsets to up to 300 employees per day if they apply for the company’s volunteer resignation package,” MarketWatch says.
What’s even worse is that even if you decide to accept the voluntary resignation package, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your shiny new phone because Microsoft is making them available on a first come, first serve basis. If you’re the 301st person to voluntarily resign on a given day then, oops, you don’t get your phone.
And here’s the real kicker: The phone in question isn’t even a high-end model like the Lumia 1020. Instead, MarketWatch says that Microsoft is only offering the Lumia 630 as the “prize” for laid off employees. In China, the Lumia 630 sells for around ¥800 (USD $130), so it’s not like the employees will be able to flip the device on the open market for a huge financial windfall.
Nonetheless, these laid off employees should take some comfort because their financial sacrifice ensures that Microsoft exec Stephen Elop will have enough cash to handle his messy divorce situation.