Report: Major Job Cuts At Nokia

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 27, 2011

According to an internal memo reportedly obtained by The Register, Nokia has announced the largest set of job cuts in the company's history, with especially significant cuts in the U.K. The Register reports that 7,000 jobs total will be axed, and it's especially notable that 4,000 Research and Development jobs will reportedly go away. This is part of the endgame following a series of blunders made by Nokia and Symbian, especially in moving too slowly to open source the Symbian platform.

According to The Register:

"Symbian and Meego development bear much of the brunt. Three thousand Symbian jobs will transfer to Accenture. Symbian has been marked for extinction since February, when new CEO Stephen Elop announced that Nokia would pay to use Microsoft's software rather than develop its own, a project called Meltemi...The long-term successor to Symbian Meego also faces an early death. Nokia now tells staff that the majority of MeeGo activities are planned to be discontinued by the end of June 2012."

The memo detailing the cuts has been cited by a number of media outlets, with a complete update from GigaOM, and the upshot is that significant job cuts became inevitable after Nokia and Symbian moved far too slowly to open source the Symbian platform and spur development for it. For that reason, we speculated on whether the Symbian Foundation was DOA with its open source efforts all the way back in 2009. John Mark Walker wrote:

"There are a couple of problems with the foundation's approach, beginning with its pace of development. They're just moving too slow, period. They act like they're not facing fierce competition."

Of course, on the open source front, in the smartphone arena, Android ended up eating The Symbian Foundation's lunch. There are a number of real ironies here. One is that The Symbian Foundation was backed with huge funding as it went to open source its platform. Another is that Nokia owned more than half the smartphone market when The Symbian Foundation moved in the open source direction. Despite the market power and the money, agile development at Google and other factors in the smartphone market cornered Nokia and the foundation.

In all likelihood, Nokia will have to make other cuts as it moves toward a Microsoft-heavy approach in the smartphone market. Nokia still has power in the smartphone market, but there are barbarians at the gate. With its new CEO hailing from Microsoft, Nokia is trying to tie its success to Microsoft's might, but smartphones don't represent a market where Microsoft is currently leading the way, and developers aren't turning out in big enough numbers for Microsoft's phone platform.

Many observers predict that the smartphone market will in fact whittle down to two main players: Apple and the Android ecosystem. That becomes more believable every day.