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Sony Ericsson slashes US presence

Layoffs trail shrinking sales

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Sony Ericsson, bowing to the pressures of a Meltdown-induced decline in worldwide handset sales, has announced more layoffs in conjunction with a wide-ranging restructuring.

On the same day that President Obama warned that the US economy runs the risk of a "double-dip recession," Sony Ericsson doubled-down on its employee reductions.

As reported by North Carolina's Triangle Business Journal, Sony Ericsson informed employees on Wednesday that it will close its North American headquarters in that state's Research Triangle Park, tossing 400 employees onto the recession-clogged streets. North American R&D will move to Redwood Shores, California, a tech-industry cluster north of Silicon Valley.

The 400 new job-seekers will join 450 RTP workers made redundant in September 2008 as part of the company's plan to cut 2,000 jobs announced two months earlier.

Sony Ericsson will move its North American headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. According to the TBJ, the Miami, Florida, office that managed the company's Latin American operation will also be closed, and the two divisions will be consolidated in one, to be named Region Americas. The company will also shutter offices in San Diego, California, and Seattle, Washington.

The decline in worldwide mobile-phone sales hasn't been kind to Sony Ericsson. According to a research report from IDC published at the end of this summer, global mobile-phone sales had dipped to 269.6 million units in the second quarter of 2009, down nearly 11 per cent from the 302.2 million units sold during the same period the year before.

Of those shrinking sales, Sony Ericsson's shrinkage was among the shrinkiest. The company's market share of 5.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2009 slipped from 8.1 per cent in the same quarter in 2008 - a drop of 43.4 per cent. ®

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