He's baaack: Microsoft's axeman Nadella to give Chinese staff the chop
Two more ex-Nokia factories to close next month
More Microsoft staffers will lose their jobs next month when the software giant closes two smartphone factories in China, according to reports.
Japanese business daily Nikkei was first to report that the software giant plans to shutter its manufacturing facilities in Beijing and Dongguan by the end of March. A Microsoft spokesperson later confirmed the plan to the Seattle Times.
Redmond acquired the factories when it bought Nokia's devices and services business last April. At the time, they employed around 9,000 people between them – equal to about half of the 18,000 workers that CEO Satya Nadella said he would lay off as part of the aggressive restructuring he announced in July.
The rising cost of wages in China has been cited as one possible reason for the closures. But workers at the Dongguan plant had earlier protested that Nokia's deal with Microsoft had reduced their wages. What's more, it hasn't escaped your humble Reg hack that far fewer Lumia handsets are shipping today than once did.
Microsoft's spokesman told the Seattle Times that the company would have shut down the plants sooner, but that "the timing of the actual departure was staggered due to local and legal requirements."
It was never any secret that Microsoft intended to shut down many of Nokia's facilities. Shortly after the merger closed, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that the Redmond giant would begin a "phased exit" from Nokia's plant in Komárom, Hungary, but added that "some production" would continue at the Chinese sites.
With the closure of the Chinese factories, the bulk of Microsoft's handset production will shift to its facility in Hanoi, Vietnam, which is the newest of the factories it acquired in the Nokia gobble.
It is also keeping the doors open at two other former Nokia plants, but the one in Manaus, Brazil will primarily manufacture Microsoft products, while the site in Reynosa, Mexico is in the process of being converted to a repair facility.
There was no word on whether the jobs lost in the closure of the Chinese plants will be the last casualties of Nadella's restructuring. In October, El Reg estimated that his headcount was already at or close to his original 18,000 estimate, so Microsoft may actually end up issuing more pink slips than was first thought. ®