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
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.
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
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
"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
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.