Nokia's growth has stalled, competitors like Apple and Android phone makers
(Motorola, ZTE, HTC, etc.) have soared. Now the company is forced to
make a big transition as it prepares to move away from the Symbian operating
system to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.
Finnish labor unions, according to Reuters, fear that
the move could cost thousands of jobs. Many engineers at Nokia had worked
on developing and maintaining Symbian and its apps. Now they are likely
to be sent packing.
A company spokesperson says talks with staff about the impending cuts will
occur "toward the end of April". Analysts believe the delay
could mean the deal with Microsoft hasn't been signed and finalized.
It could also be due to the fact that Finland's national elections fall on
April 17. The "True Finn" populist party has recently surged in the polls, reaching second place. Major
job cuts could propel them further and create a headache for the European
Union's currency efforts. Markku Jokisipila, a political scientist from
the University of Turku suggests, "It would have probably boosted True
Finns as they have criticized big corporations and they could use it in their
Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila, in an interview with Finnish newspaper Helsingin
Sanomat, reassuringly offers, "This is a global restructuring of our
product development, so it is not only about Finland. There is nothing on the
horizon that would be particularly horrible for Finland, or something that
would give grounds for the argument that Finland would not be treated
Unfortunately, what's good for Finland and the EU may backfire for both Nokia
and its partner Microsoft. Shareholders are happy with the deal, but
upset that Nokia does not immediately begin scrapping Symbian.
States Mr. Ollila, "We have spoken with 20-30 central shareholders and
their message is very clear. They consider the strategy good and the Windows
decision the right one. They do not like that we are about to start a
restructuring period that takes 18 months or two years. It is such a long
period that some investors do not have patience for that."
Nokia remains a sales giant in Europe and throughout much of the rest of the
world, despite its weak presence in the U.S. Nokia's switch to Windows
Phone 7 may hand Microsoft the second place spot in
global smart phone operating system market share. Microsoft reportedly paid Nokia $1B USD to avoid turning to
Android. It also helped that Nokia's new chief executive, Stephen Elop, was a
former executive at Microsoft Canada.