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Nokia locks* out Symbian staffers

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Exclusive Nokia staff working on Symbian development in Cambridge were sent home yesterday, while the London crowd sloped off early after being told that 300 will lose their jobs.

Nokia's decision to focus on Qt as a development environment has already been felt in Nokia's Symbian team. With around 300 up for redundancy and the Cambridge office almost certainly for the chop, the power behind Symbian is rapidly disintegrating.

Around 100 staff at the Cambridge office were given the rest of the day off yesterday morning, having been handed letters saying that they should head home. Officially there's a 90-day consultation period which hasn't started just yet, but it seems unlikely the Cambridge office will survive it.

Things are little better in London, where staff were called to the Oval to discuss the their future, or lack thereof.

Nokia can't announce that the Cambridge site will close until the "consultation" period is over, but the company was at pains to point out that the Nokia Research Centre (where they do cool stuff involving nano-technology; pressure-sensitive screens and the like) isn't involved and will continue as normal.

Nokia is laying off 1,800 people worldwide, as part of its strategy to simplify its smartphone portfolio. Mostly that means dropping support for Symbian as a developers' platform, but Nokia has long been the driving force behind Symbian, and with such reduced force it's hard to see Symbian driving anywhere. ®

* Nokia has been in touch to clarify that the doors weren't actually locked, and that any staff who choose to stay the rest of the day were permitted to do so.

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