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Nokia Employees Walk Out in Protest of Microsoft Partnership

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"Meanwhile, in Finland..."

Earlier today, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported that over 1,000 Nokia employees walked out of company headquarters supposedly in protest of the new partnership with Microsoft. Nokia announced that it will adopt Windows Phone 7 as its primary mobile OS, forgoing years of development with Symbian. As a result, Symbian employees -- worried about their job security -- staged the walk out.

Soon after the story was reported, a Nokia spokesperson contacted The Next Web to dispute the number of participants and the reason behind the exit.

"Some of our employees –- not thousands –- in Tampere and Oulu decided to take advantage of Flexitime and left the office at around 14.00. This is completely understandable: we have announced major news today, and understand that employees may want to digest this. We will continue active employee communications over the coming weeks, to further engage our employees with the new strategy, and to report on the progress of strategy implementation planning."

So according to the Nokia camp, it wasn't so much a "protest" as it was "a mass exercise of vacation time." Completely different.

The decision to team up with Microsoft in the fight against Apple and Google comes after CEO Stephen Elop delivered a volatile letter to his staff. In it, he describes Nokia as "pouring gasoline on [its] own burning platform." Obviously, drastic measures were imminent, and they took the form of a change in OS focus.

According to The Next Web, Symbian will become "a franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value." Simultaneously, MeeGo will become "an open-source, mobile operating system project" and "will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences."

Quite a lot of words to simply say "back-burner."

And during this week's announcement in London, both Elop and Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer confirmed there will be job cuts at Nokia offices worldwide.

Still want to stick with that "Flexitime" angle, Nokia?

But as employees are understandably upset over the switch, an olive branch in the form of a Tweet was extended by a chief competitor. Courtesy of Google recruiter Aidan Biggins:

(See also: Facing Apple and Google's Success, Nokia CEO Goes Rogue)

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