BEIJING Aug 1 "Hundreds" of Chinese employees
at Microsoft Corp's Nokia phone business protested on
Friday against mass layoffs that the U.S. tech company announced
last month, according to an employee present and pictures posted
on social media networks.
Protesters held banners and shouted slogans against
"Microsoft's hostile takeover and violent layoffs" for five
hours until "they had sore throats," said the employee who
participated in the demonstration and so declined to be
The protesters would convene on Friday afternoon to discuss
demands they would present to the company, the employee said.
Microsoft announced on July 17 the deepest job cuts in its
39-year history, amounting to 18,000 positions. Microsoft said
up to 12,500 of those jobs would come from Nokia, the Finnish
handset maker it bought in April in a $7.2 billion friendly
The protests took place at a Beijing research centre and
factory employing 2,400 people, according to a statement from
organisers, and amounted to the latest in a string of troubles
for the U.S. software giant in China.
Microsoft offices in four cities were raided this week by
Chinese authorities as part of an ongoing anti-monopoly
investigation announced on Tuesday.
More broadly, labour disputes have risen across China over
the past year in tandem with a slowdown in growth in the world's
No. 2 economy.
Since taking the helm of Microsoft in February, Chief
Executive Satya Nadella has pledged to slim down his company to
compete with nimbler internet-based rivals.
Microsoft earlier this year said it would make changes
company-wide within 18 months of closing the Nokia acquisition
that would lead to costs-savings of up to $600 million per year.
The latest cuts, which will be completed by June 30, 2015,
represent about 14 percent of Microsoft's worldwide workforce.
A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to provide immediate
comment by telephone and did not respond to questions by e-mail.
(Reporting by Gerry Shih, Paul Carsten and Beijing Newsroom;
Editing by Christopher Cushing)