As a late Friday coda to this week’s news of Nokia’s old feature phone business getting sold once again, today Nokia quietly confirmed it is laying off 1,032 employees in its home market of Finland. The cuts will come across all business units.
On top of putting the news out in the evening on the very last day of the week, the announcement was further downplayed by being released only in Finnish.
The layoffs are the conclusion of a formal process that started in April, when Nokia said it would lay off up to 1,300 people in the country. At the time, some reported that the cuts were part of a wider cost-cutting process that would reportedly see up to 15,000 jobs cut globally in the wake of Nokia’s merger with Alcatel Lucent and a bid to cut some €900 million ($1 billion) by 2018. Nokia has never confirmed the larger number of layoffs, but it has said half of the 1,000 layoffs confirmed today will come out of its HQ in Espoo, with a quarter each in Oulu and Tampere. The majority of cuts will happen by this summer.
The layoffs are a difficult but inevitable progression of a bigger shift at the company as it has moved from being the world’s biggest mobile phone maker into one that focuses primarily on networking technologies as well as developing and licensing IP related to that and its historical business.
This week’s news attests to that shift: When Microsoft sold Nokia’s phone business to HMD and Foxconn’s FIH earlier this week, Nokia inked a licensing deal with HMD for brand and IP assets. In other words, as Nokia continues to pare down and shift the business, it doesn’t need the same workforce it used to.
Small silver lining: Nokia says that it’s still offering laid-off employees access to the Bridge program that it started several years ago at the beginning of its massive downsizing wave. Options include a small amount of funding for a new venture if you want to try your hand at your own business, or consulting to help place you in a job if you do not, plus other assistance. Hundreds of ex-Nokians have taken up the company on the offer to date.
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