Nokia Axes R&D Jobs As It Focuses On High-End Phones

Nokia Corp. (NOK) said Friday it will lay off up to 330 people from its R&D facilities in Finland and Denmark.

The change is necessary “to be in line with the company’s focused portfolio of future products,” Nokia said in a press release. In other words, as Nokia starts to revive its brand with higher-end smartphones, it needs fewer people. Up to 230 workers at the Oulu site in Finland and another 100 at the Copenhagen location will lose their positions. The number amounts to 2 percent of Nokia’s R&D workforce.

Nokia will try to find jobs in other parts of the company for the affected workers, but executives may have to resort to voluntary layoffs, too.

A GigaOM blogger called the job cuts a small move that’s long overdue to get Nokia back into the handset game.

“Nokia may feel a pinch as it severs the R&D personnel, but the company will surely continue to innovate with its Maemo OS and S60 devices,” wrote Colin Gibbs. “And it’s not like innovation has ever been a problem for Nokia — its struggles since the emergence of the iPhone have stemmed from its aging Symbian platform, its unwillingness to bow to U.S. carriers and an utter lack of affordable, iconic devices. Shifting its focus toward higher-end handsets that produce better margins will be a step in the right direction.”

Nokia has laid off more than 2,000 employees this year. The company’s stock was trading lower, down 2.35 percent at $13.29 a little before 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

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