Nokia Cuts 600 Jobs, Eyes Emerging Markets

Finnish mobile giant Nokia has announced that it is trimming down its operations by cutting over 600 positions, mainly in marketing and sales departments. The Nokia Research Center (NRC), the business unit that explores and develops technologies that will be available in the marketplace in five to ten years, will also focus on fewer research areas from now on.

In addition to the lay-offs, Nokia is closing an entire company site (Turku) by the end of January 2009, but hopes to relocate all of its 220 employees to Nokia’s site at Salo or in the capital area in Finland. The changes in the Markets unit, Nokia Research Center and in other Nokia functions will come into effect on January 1, 2009.

In another release, Nokia touts the introduction of a range of low-priced mobile devices and new services catered specifically to people in emerging markets (e.g. India). In total, seven new handsets were announced, and the first services Nokia will offer in emerging markets will focus on email (Mail on Ovi), agriculture and education (Nokia Life Tools).

Like many businesses, Nokia is feeling the nasty sting of the economic downturn. Its recently announced Q3 earnings weren’t spectacular either (down over 28 percent on a year earlier), so these lay-offs don’t exactly come unexpectedly. It’s easy enough to find the irony when you look at the two news releases side by side, but I think Nokia is actually making the right strategic move by shifting its focus to custom internet services for countries where there is much room for growth and very specific needs.

I doubt the employees that were fired will feel the same way, though.