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Nokia Cuts UK Jobs And Stops Ozo VR Development To Focus On Health

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Nokia says slower than expected sales have led it stop development on the Nokia OZO VR camera

Nokia Technologies is to slash its workforce by almost a third as it refocuses its efforts towards technology licensing and digital health rather than virtual reality. 

As many as 310 of Nokia Technologies’ 1090 workforce will be affected, with Finland, the US and the UK most affected. Nokia has said that “slower than expected” sales of VR equipment have contributed to the decision. 

The unit was one of three that Nokia retained following the sale of its handset business to Microsoft in 2013. Networks remains Nokia’s primary source of revenue, while HERE maps was sold off to a consortium of German car makers. 

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Nokia Technologies 

Since the split, Nokia Technologies has dabbled in a variety of areas, including handset design (but not manufacturing), patent licensing and digital health. 

In 2016, Nokia purchased the fitness brand Withings and clearly sees this as a source of growth. Earlier this year it launched a portfolio of lifestyle products, although it did have to weather a backlash against changes made to its ‘Health Mate’ tracking app. 

“Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity,” said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies.

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“While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.” 

Aside from the job cuts, the biggest casualty is the Ozo virtual reality camera. The Ozo offered 360-degree video and audio capture and was used in BT Sport’s VR broadcast of the 2017 UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff. 

Nokia has pledged to support existing customers but development has been halted. 

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