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Nokia cuts staff, fiddles with E7

800 Finns for the chop

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Nokia is cutting back on staff while grappling with its new E7 Communicator, which will now not ship until next year.

The layoffs were announced in October, and the number being cut in Finland has slimmed slightly following mandatory staff consultations: so now 800, rather than 850, Finns will be losing their jobs despite the company making money in its last quarter.

But delaying the long-awaited replacement for the Nokia Communicator, the E7, isn't going to help no matter how much the company protests to Bloomberg that it's only doing so to ensure the product is perfect.

The E7 isn't a big deal profit-wise - the popup screen and keyboard combination appeals to a specific market segment, and will never be a mass-market product, but it's the device that was launched as the successor to Nokia's first Communicator and as such carries significant prestige.

Nokia is quiet on what exactly is causing the delay, leading to speculation that the screen/keyboard mechanism isn't proving robust enough or that it's waiting on interface enhancements. It can't wait too much longer, as next year Nokia is planning to launch high-end handsets based on the Linux-based MeeGo platform; which risks making the Symbian-based E7 appear out of date as soon it appears on the shelves.

Right now it looks as though the E7 will be out some time around March, well ahead of MeeGo devices which aren't expected until later in the year - assuming nothing else slips. ®

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