Nokia announces layoffs and Symbian outsourcing

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

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.

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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