Nokia To Cut 1,700 Jobs

With some 130,000 worldwide employees, the mobile handset maker is working to mitigate the job cuts by offering temporary layoffs, including short-term leaves without pay and sabbaticals.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

March 17, 2009

2 Min Read

Nokia reported Tuesday that it will "streamline operations" including laying off 1,700 employees across several units and functions.

The company, whose 40% market share of wireless devices dominates global mobile handset markets, said the cuts will impact its Devices and Markets units in addition to its Corporate Development Office and support functions.

"Nokia plans to scale sales, marketing, and technology management to match the pruned portfolio and global consumer demand," the company said in a release, adding that the trimming will also "address the marketing and other activities that will no longer be integral following the Symbian acquisition."

Like virtually all handset makers and service providers, Nokia has been hit by the global economic meltdown, which continues to accelerate. At its Capital Markets Day in Brooklyn in December, Nokia predicted its handset sales would be cut along with staff reductions. The Finland-based company's U.S. handset market share has wallowed in the single digits, making the United States an inviting target for growth. The company has indicated it will team up with AT&T and use Nokia's Symbian operating system to attempt to crack open the U.S. market.

With some 130,000 worldwide employees, Nokia is working to mitigate the cuts by offering temporary layoffs including short-term leaves without pay and sabbaticals. "Where applicable," the company stated, "Nokia will start consultations with employee representatives."

Market research firms have noted that weak global demand for handsets has cut device deliveries to the point where shipments are forecast to drop more than 10% this year and stage a feeble recovery in 2010. Last week Gartner said global shipments of mobile phones dropped 5% to 315 million devices in the fourth quarter.

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