Microsoft/Nokia job cuts, Nokia X line to transition to Windows Phone

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Filed under 'link of interest', certainly, but big news for many ex-Nokians today, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced heavy job cuts, quoted below, plus threw out what seems the death knell for Nokia's still-born 'X' line of Android smartphones.

From the Microsoft missive from Satya:

The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce. With this in mind, we will begin to reduce the size of our overall workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year. Of that total, our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers. We are moving now to start reducing the first 13,000 positions, and the vast majority of employees whose jobs will be eliminated will be notified over the next six months. It’s important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas.

12,500 out of between 25,000 and 30,000 employees acquired with Nokia means that almost half the workforce acquired are being made redundant over the next 12 months, which must be a big blow to many ex-Nokians.

Such massive job cuts aren't unexpected, given the merging of two very large companies, with large areas of duplication, but it will still hurt those involved. Engineers and designers, those close to the technology, are likely to be safe.

Satya goes on in much the same vein:

Second, we are working to integrate the Nokia Devices and Services teams into Microsoft. We will realize the synergies to which we committed when we announced the acquisition last September. The first-party phone portfolio will align to Microsoft’s strategic direction. To win in the higher price tiers, we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences. In addition, we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows. This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps.

Several interesting turns of phrase in here:

  • 'breakthrough innovation' (in the higher price tiers) presumably refers to imaging and also to new UI concepts based on 3D interaction over the phone screen.
  • 'Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows' - many people had speculated (wildly) that Microsoft allowed the Nokia 'X' line of handsets to be launched because they (and Android) were the future and that Windows Phone would ultimately be canned. Instead, sensibly, the X line is being changed in upcoming devices to run Windows Phone, keeping Microsoft focussed on just one mobile/portable OS. 

The second bullet point above doesn't preclude that Android compatibility plays some part in Microsoft's and Windows Phone's future, of course. Informed observers have speculated that the next version of the OS (8.1 Update 1) may have an Android virtual machine built-in, in the style of Blackberry/Jolla, wherein selected Android applications can be added by a user.

Source / Credit: Microsoft