Are you watching Stephen Elop? Brutal gutting of Redmond’s phone business continues with fresh job losses
Microsoft’s retreat from the mobile space continues with the news of a fresh wave of job cuts at its smartphone business despite CEO Satya Nadella initially pledging to create a “mobile-first and cloud-first world,” when he first took over the leadership of the company.
The latest 2,850 job cuts in its smartphone business, would mostly take place in Finland, the home of the former mobile giant Nokia. Microsoft of course acquired Nokia’s smartphone business for £4.6 billion back in 2014.
It should be noted that these latest job cuts are on top of the 1,850 jobs job losses already announced in May, which brings the total to 4,700 job losses, or 4 percent of its 114,000 total workforce (as of June).
Two years ago Microsoft had 127,000 employees worldwide. But it soon began a brutal headcount reduction. In 2014 for example it axed a staggering 18,000 jobs.
Then in 2015 it confirmed it was shutting down Nokia’s former handset development plant in Salo, Finland with the loss of up to 2,300 jobs. Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also departed the company last year.
And in July 2015 Microsoft announced that it would make another 7,800 worldwide cuts, following the write-off of £4.9 billion worth of assets relating to the Nokia acquisition.
Nadella’s commitment to mobile devices (certain in the consumer space) has waned dramatically over the past few years as Redmond seeks to “refocus” its mobile strategy towards services rather than hardware.
It is also pushing a cloud-centric approach to the business community going forward.
Microsoft’s enthusiasm for mobile seemed to diminish after a number of ill-received Windows Phone devices. In May this year Microsoft sold its feature phone business to Foxconn subsidiary FIH and the newly-founded Finnish firm HMD global for $350 million (£242m).
All of this has led many to question Microsoft’s mobile intentions, as its Windows Phone mobile operating system is quietly retired.
For its part, Redmond repeatedly maintains that it is still committed to Windows 10 on mobile devices, and is reportedly working on new smartphones, but these seem to be aimed at the business and not the consumer segment.
It has been suggested the first ‘Surface’ phone could make its debut in 2017.
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