Print 30 comment(s) - last by cjohnson2136.. on Apr 29 at 2:54 PM

Company to shed 7,000 jobs by 2013

Can't say we didn't see it coming. You could point to former Microsoft Executive Stephen Elop's appointment as Nokia's new CEO in September as the beginning of a major transition for the Finnish mobile manufacturer, but things had been in disarray for the struggling company for long before then. The blockbuster strategic partnership with Microsoft to provide Windows Phone 7 software on Nokia devices has been labeled by some as a Hail Mary pass for the company, with major implications for Symbian and its employees. And while we won't know what kind of effect all the changes will have on Nokia's bottom line, we're starting to see some major changes to its workforce.

Today, Nokia announced another "strategic collaboration" -- this time with the technology services and outsourcing company Accenture. The deal would outsource Nokia's Symbian activities to Accenture, including the 3,000 employees who work on it. In addition, Accenture would provide "mobility software services" to Nokia on its future smartphones.

"This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering and serve our smartphone customers," said Jo Harlow, executive vice president for Smart Devices for Nokia said in a press release. "As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, this transition of skilled talent to Accenture shows our commitment to provide our Symbian employees with potential new career opportunities."

This won't be the first time that the two companies worked together. They've been involved with one another, on some level, since 1994. Their partnership ramped up in October 2009, though, when Accenture acquired Nokia's professional services unit that provided support of Symbian to mobile manufacturers and other service providers. 

And while the 3,000 employees moving to Accenture will continue to work, another 4,000 employees will suffer a less rosy fate. In another announcement today, Nokia unveiled plans to begin consolidating its site operations to reduce operating expenses in Devices & Services by 1 billion euros (nearly $1.5B) for 2013 compared to 2010. This plan includes reducing Nokia's global workforce by around 4,000 employees by the end of next year. Most of the employee losses will occur in Denmark, Finland, and the U.K.

The personnel reductions will occur in phases through 2012, during which time Nokia will work on ramping up its Windows Phone 7 portfolio. According to the release, all employees affected by the layoffs will be allowed to stay on Nokia's payroll through the end of this year. Discussion with employee representatives has already begun, as mandated by country-by-country legal requirements.

"At Nokia, we have new clarity around our path forward, which is focused on our leadership across smart devices, mobile phones and future disruptions," Elop said in the press release. "However, with this new focus, we also will face reductions in our workforce. This is a difficult reality, and we are working closely with our employees and partners to identify long-term re-employment programs for the talented people of Nokia," adding that Nokia would be offering affected employees retraining and re-employment support.

In addition to the layoffs, Nokia will also be consolidating its research and product development sites. With clearly defined missions, some sites will expand, while many will face closure and downsizing.

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On the bright side
By Meatclap on 4/27/2011 10:48:50 AM , Rating: 3
I hear McDonald's is hiring.

RE: On the bright side
By Flunk on 4/27/2011 11:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
Don't be silly. The real brightside is for people who develop for Windows Phone 7 (like me). Bring on more handsets please!

RE: On the bright side
By Gzus666 on 4/27/2011 11:33:01 AM , Rating: 5
So you're the one?

RE: On the bright side
By drycrust3 on 4/27/2011 11:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
Don't worry: Windows will one day become obsolete too.

RE: On the bright side
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/27/2011 3:18:25 PM , Rating: 1
The bright side is for Google and Apple. Microsoft can't seem to connect with users - it was never their strength. Sucking businesses dry with crappy 'compatible' products, now that they have been really good at, along with coercing PC makers to include their OS (hey, what was that whole monopoly thing again?), but normal end users? Not so much.

RE: On the bright side
By B3an on 4/27/2011 9:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Lol you mention Apple as if they're any better, infact Apple are atleast twice as bad as MS, and far more controlling. Get off your high horse and get educated.

RE: On the bright side
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/28/2011 10:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
My high horse? What does my horse have to do with Microsoft being unable to connect with consumers? Are you posting this from your Zune or Kin? Hell, include WP7 in the list if you're looking for items that haven't found market traction...

That has nothing to do with Apple or Google being controlling, not even if they were twice as bad as MS, etc. I assume you were an infant during the anti-trust days for MS if you don't understand how they used illegal tactics to be included on virtually every machine manufactured? It wasn't some fantastic consumer-centric glory that got them where they are. Their history happens to have left them remarkably unprepared to deal with an actual consumer market springing up where end users have chosen not to use their products.

Please, join me on the high horse instead of keeping your head up its *ss.

RE: On the bright side
By BZDTemp on 4/28/2011 8:42:42 AM , Rating: 3

While we do have McD here in Copenhagen it's not like the 5-10 McD burger joints* will be able to employ the 2000 engineers being let go.

Nokia is simply shutting down their Danish development organization. They go from a little over two thousand employees here to twenty (it's their local marketing people). Though times but there should be other engineering jobs for them so not the end of the world.

*McD may call them self a restaurant but they are not. A restaurant is a place where they cook food not just heat stuff and the level of service is also more than just "fast" (not that MacD is really that fast).

RE: On the bright side
By karndog on 4/28/2011 9:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
Good, maybe then they could improve Drive Thru communication.

By drycrust3 on 4/27/2011 11:35:52 AM , Rating: 5
One of the interesting phenomena of the last 20 years has been the demise of companies that were once held in high regard. Names like HP, Nokia, Wandel Goltermann, Siemens, Western Electric, Ericson, Northern Telecom, etc, were all names famous within telecommunications. Some managed the transition to new technologies well, some have not.
For employees though, they work hard putting quality first. Now the winds of technology have blown another way, and while it seems they failed, they didn't: the standards of high quality have become part of the new technologies.
For those employees, those standards don't need to die when they walk away from that company, they can choose to offer those standards to their new employers. Life is like a buffet meal: you don't just eat the sweet foods. One of the greatest privileges in life is to have had a job where every day is a joy.
Take courage my unknown friends: God didn't put you in these times because you were weak, but because you are strong.

By Gzus666 on 4/27/2011 12:22:53 PM , Rating: 5
You should write fortune cookies you cheesy bastard.

By snakeInTheGrass on 4/27/2011 3:14:47 PM , Rating: 3
Well in theory it was also some of those employees who worked hard to build fiefdoms while the company went down in flames, preferring in-fighting to seeing what was going on around them. So... sorry, what was the point again? Oh yeah, hopefully some of those people who weren't responsible for the debacle find somewhere to land. Presumably the ones who drove the company into the ground while pocketing big bonuses will do just fine.

Outsourcing to Accenture is certainly not a good sign... certainly if Microsoft / Google / Apple pushed their core code outside their companies, you'd know death wasn't far off. Hail Mary indeed.

By Pessimism on 4/27/2011 1:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
I find it suprising that noone has picked up on where they say it took THREE THOUSAND PEOPLE to write the obsolete garbage that is Symbian...

RE: Wow
By bah12 on 4/27/2011 2:06:33 PM , Rating: 3
7,000. Remember the other 4,000 are getting canned, so it actually takes 3,000 to maintain the obsolete garbage that is symbian.

RE: Wow
By Mitch101 on 4/27/2011 4:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hearing that alone made me think Nokia did the right thing. How much does Nokia stand to make just on not needing to pay that many people on a dying OS?

RE: Wow
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/28/2011 11:02:15 AM , Rating: 2
The question is how much less they stand to lose over time. Cutting costs != increasing revenues in any case, and their challenge is going to be to move their customers from one dying OS to a unpopular one. Not something that will let them charge huge premiums for fat margins.

It's funny that HP is looking at the market doing exactly the opposite, setting up a full vertical integration like Apple has instead of removing its ability to produce the software for the hardware. Then again, seeing the huge margins Apple has vs. Android & Windows devices, that is probably not a bad plan if they can pull it off. And I certainly don't mean to suggest that Nokia was going to pull off a successful vertical stack on Symbian at this point or that they should have kept Symbian - they bungled their strategy and execution some time back. Now maybe they should have bought Palm, but that's a bit late now

RE: Wow
By messyunkempt on 4/28/2011 3:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing, i've only ever owned one symbian phone (the sony satio) and it literally crashed on a daily basis. The fact that it took so many people to write and maintain it is ridiculous.

RE: Wow
By cjohnson2136 on 4/29/2011 2:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
You have to keep in mind not all these employees are developers. You also have managers, BI people, probably QA, To me it sounds like they are getting rid of everyone dealing with Symbian not just the developers. Also even a crappy phone OS i would expect a few hundred people because after having my OS class it is not something I would want to create with a few people.

Beginning of the end of Nokia
By Taft12 on 4/27/2011 1:09:09 PM , Rating: 5
This is the DUMBEST way to go about layoffs and has sealed the fate of Nokia in the long-term.

Mass layoffs are par for the course in this industry, but DO NOT do it in phases. The employees who survive the first wave all (rightly) become obsessed with who is getting chopped next. It kills morale and it turns the company into a political ass-kissing morass, but worst of all, the best and brightest flee to other companies leaving only the worst employees behind who were never capable of producing results.

I've seen it happen many times.

RE: Beginning of the end of Nokia
By hyvonen on 4/27/2011 2:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
So true.

RE: Beginning of the end of Nokia
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/27/2011 3:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. I've seen it too - people who can leave easily do. Oh yeah, that's the ones they should have worked to keep. :) Dragging this sort of thing out is just another nail in the coffin.

RE: Beginning of the end of Nokia
By DanNeely on 4/27/2011 3:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia said Symbian was effectively being End Of Life'd when they signed the WP7 deal with MS. Kicking it away was more or less inevitable at that point.

Nokia Symbian Layoffs
By Blackbird1996 on 4/27/2011 2:23:49 PM , Rating: 2
This is the same as what is happening in the U.S.. All the IT jobs are gradually being sent overseas to India and China. Its very sad to see. Except in this situation they say its to save money, but in the U.S. they say we don't have enough IT graduates, which is ridiculous since thousands of foreigners obtained their technology degrees here in the U.S. in the first place. Since foreigners make up about 20-30% of class size, where do they think the other 70-80% of the students are from? For some reason, in the U.S., companies are afraid to admit that they won't pay Americans a decent wage to do the work.

RE: Nokia Symbian Layoffs
By hyvonen on 4/27/2011 2:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think they mean graduates with [i]graduate[/i] degrees. These days, tech is so complicated that a B.Sc. degree doesn't cut it anymore.

In grad programs "foreigners" make up about 70-80% of the class size, but they can't work here because of work visa caps. The remaining 20-30% (Americans) are all hired, and more are needed.

RE: Nokia Symbian Layoffs
By Blackbird1996 on 4/27/2011 8:25:44 PM , Rating: 3
The thousands of jobs being sent overseas were already being performed by Americans. Its not as if the foreigners were somehow more capable of performing the work. The fact is, companies simply will not pay American wages and they refuse to admit it. I should know, as I work for an Indian company which lays off Americans every time we acquire new contracts. We lay them off by the hundreds all at once. An American engineer gets paid roughly $60-100 per hour. Our company can charge a client $25.00 per hour, and we pay the worker in India even less. We grab roughly 60% profit usually. The problem with off-shoring though is that there are quality issues, efficiency issues, and communication issues prevalent, but companies only care about the bottom line and are willing to deal with these issues. There are no lack of Americans with advanced technology degrees. Its simply about cost. Why do you think we are the leader in technology, because we outsource everything? The offshore industry currently makes up about 30% of the market. Who do you think does the other 70%? Americans do, and we are losing our jobs to slave labor wages. Our country says we need to lead in technology. How are we supposed to do that when those jobs are shifted overseas? First we educate the foreigners and then we give them our jobs. Also, in case you didn't know, many of the foreign students don't care to stay and become Americans when they can live like kings in their own country. They want to simply send their money back home. Just ask them.

RE: Nokia Symbian Layoffs
By JS on 4/27/2011 8:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you didn't expect them to just manufacture your cheap clothing and plastic toys forever, did you? This is a natural development in a free-market world. It is funny though, how many free-market defenders turn protectionist when it's their job on the line.

As far as I know the IT professionals in countries like India and China are often very competent and extremely eager. See it from the upside: the rapidly growing middle class in these countries will crave iPhones, Xboxes, Hollywood films and lots of other American products by the millions. That is good for America.

I hope they keep their Qt support active
By Sivar on 4/27/2011 10:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia "owns" Qt, the C++ toolkit which makes C++ developer's lives a lot easier, and Qt Creator, probably my favorite IDE of all time for any language (though NetBeans is good, too). Qt is not being ported to the WP7, though, which inspires concern.
Fortunately, Qt is open-source, but I am not sure if its culture is such that a purely community-based development cycle would work well.
( URL: )
Best wishes to the employees lost due to corporate restructuring.

RE: I hope they keep their Qt support active
By Taft12 on 4/27/2011 1:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Qt isn't going ANYWHERE. It is the only real option for developing GUI-based software portable to Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. This is more important than ever in the era of the rise of mobile devices and declining Windows marketshare. Thank goodness for the GPL!

By Pessimism on 4/28/2011 4:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
To say QT is the only option is incorrect.
You also have:
-.NET (mono on Linux/OSX)

There are others I am sure...

By vision33r on 4/27/2011 9:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's biggest rival right now is Google not Apple. At the end of the day some people will forever be Apple users no matter how hard one tries.

But, Android is everything that Windows Mobile users wanted in the past and delivered.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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