Nokia announces layoffs and Symbian outsourcing

Nokia announces layoffs and Symbian outsourcing

Summary: The company will make thousands of workers redundant around the world, and Symbian software activities will be transferred to the consultancy Accenture

TOPICS: IT Employment

Nokia is to transfer thousands of its Symbian employees to Accenture, while laying off thousands more staff around the world.

The company said on Wednesday that it will transfer its Symbian software activities to Accenture and move 3,000 staff members to the consultancy by the end of this year, with those affected being located in China, Finland, India, the UK and the US.

Nokia layoffs Symbian

Nokia will lay off and transfer thousands of its employees, which chief Stephen Elop called "a difficult reality". Photo credit: Nokia

Nokia will also make 4,000 people redundant by the end of 2012, with the bulk of the cuts taking place in Denmark, Finland and the UK, Nokia said. A spokesperson told ZDNet UK that around 700 would be laid off in the UK, but no country-specific breakdown was available for those moving to Accenture.

"At Nokia, we have new clarity around our path forward, which is focused on our leadership across smart devices, mobile phones and future disruptions," Nokia chief Stephen Elop said in a statement. "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."

Nokia's latest moves come after the company formalised its tie-in with Microsoft on Thursday, which involves the adoption of the Windows Phone platform, the phasing-out over two years of Nokia's classic Symbian OS, and the effective abandonment of MeeGo as Nokia's next high-end platform.

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Symbian transfer

Accenture already handles Symbian Professional Services, which provides engineering and customer support for handset manufacturers and service providers, after Nokia sold the service to the consultancy in 2009.

The outsourcing deal announced on Wednesday will cover Symbian-based software development and support services, Nokia said, adding that Accenture would also "provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem participants".

As Symbian is phased out, Accenture and Nokia will "seek opportunities to retrain and redeploy transitioned employees", Nokia said.

"This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering and serve our smartphone customers," Nokia smart devices chief Jo Harlow said. "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."

Nokia also said it would consolidate its research and product development sites, "so that each site has a clear role and mission".

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Topic: IT Employment

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Nokia realising its symbian operating system is not profitable while still keeping it within arms reach is a good move in my opinion. The software is totally lacking the finesse and UX required to compete in the current generation of smartphones. I hope Nokia can ready itself for the next iteration and pull something out of the bag. My Nokia N8 will be the last Nokia i buy out of loyality as its a piss poor effort in software alone.

    I think android and iOS devices will dominate for the next 5 years at least as the development culture alone has seen massive platform adoption. If Nokia and Ms can pull out something shit hot id be the first to congratulate them.

    Lastly, i feel sorry for the talented people who have lost their jobs.
  • I would love to see Nokia create their own Android System for their devices. They could have the best of both worlds. A SOLID open operating system. A system that will allow them to continue to have their own OviStore.

    I have been using Android lately and love it. I used to love iOS but I love how open Android is.

    I am not sure why they choose to use WinMo7 I believe that was a bad choice as iOS and Android will be dominating the smart phone market for the next few years.
  • For me, and I guess for most mass market users, it is not important if an OS is open, closed, developed by community or any of that. iOS is wonderful, Android is good but some applications kept hanging the whole phone and needed taking the battery out, Win7M has the best interface is almost art. Symbian UI is messy and unpleasant to use, but I believe most of the problems (for me) is how slow it reacts to my actions, it just drives me mad and I get nervous just by taping something and then I wonder if I did or didn't, it is that slow (underpowered hardware or bloatware at fault here?).
    Symbian was developed in Opensource fashion, iOS is driven by apple, Android by google and win7M by microsoft; does this mean that things work and succeed when a corporation takes responsibility for P&L and market presence?
    Nokia did very well, in strategic point of view, to partner with Microsoft, it has the basic ingredients to work, both need each other and no other option presents the same opportunities. Toghether they will be able to compete against apple and against this cloud of android things.