Microsoft’s UAE devices arm stays silent on job cuts, Nokia X U-turn

Gulf employees’ futures left in doubt as Dubai-based unit keeps plans under wraps

Tags: FinlandJob cutsMicrosoft CorporationNokia CorporationUSAUnited Arab Emirates
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Microsoft’s UAE devices arm stays silent on job cuts, Nokia X U-turn It is not yet known how many, if any, of Microsoft’s 18,000 job cuts will be in the Gulf region.
By  Stephen McBride Published  July 21, 2014

The future of the region's Microsoft employees was left in doubt this week after Microsoft's Dubai-based devices unit, formerly Nokia UAE, remained silent on whether Redmond's plan for historic job cuts would extend to the company's Gulf workforce.

Microsoft Corp on Thursday announced a downsizing programme that will eliminate 14% of its workforce by the end of the year, as its chief executive Satya Nadella looks to get rid of overlapping roles resulting from its $7.2bn acquisition of Nokia's smartphone business. Some 12,500 of the 18,000 expected layoffs will reportedly be designed to reduce those overlaps, but it is not clear how many of those will be ex-Nokia staff and how many will be legacy Microsoft employees.

Details on what countries would bear the layoffs were sparse, but according to Reuters, the first wave will be 1,351 jobs in the Seattle area.  Finnish media reported 1,000 cuts would be in Finland, which is in the midst of a severe economic downturn.

In Dubai, repeated requests from for comment have gone unanswered by Microsoft Devices Middle East, which was rebranded from Nokia UAE after the acquisition.

Following its announcement of layoffs, Microsoft also said it would discontinue its Nokia X product line, which installs Google's Android operating system on budget smartphones in the hope of wooing Android fans onto Windows Phone-based Lumia devices by exposing them to Microsoft services.

When the X was first launched Microsoft was already deeply into its takeover of Nokia's devices unit and industry analysts were confused as to the timing of the release. Some believed Microsoft would scrap the project after the acquisition was complete, but Microsoft Devices EVP Stephen Elop and newly appointed VP of Microsoft Devices Middle East, Jon French (in an interview with, both indicated ongoing support for the X.

The U-turn will likely confuse a market already unsure of Microsoft's strategy to win consumers for the Windows Phone market in an industry dominated by Samsung, Apple and Google, and by budget Chinese vendors such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo, which have gobbled increasingly larger shares.

1855 days ago

I have just bought a Nokia X 2 days back. I was taken aback when I have seen your report that Microsoft is going to discontinue the Nokia X line as this definitely would mean that support for the devices will also end soon. I am very disappointed with Microsoft on this regard. When they decided to enter into the Android market, they should have thought of it properly before diving into it then deciding to get out leaving all their customers to hang dry. If this indeed happens, I for one will drop everything that I have that is even slightly connected with Microsoft. If they can do it to me, I and the rest of Microsoft customers can do it to them as well.

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