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Foundering Nokia pushes 10,000 bods, 3 veeps overboard

Google, Apple peer through periscope torpedo sights

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Nokia will shed another 10,000 staff by the end of next year, and has shuffled its VP pack in the ongoing struggle to make money against increasing competition.

It's not just the workers getting the boot this time around, three existing vice presidents are "stepping down ... to pursue other opportunities outside of Nokia", and the whole Vertu operation (luxury phones for the obscenely rich) is being flogged off to a private equity fund. But there's still cash to buy up imaging-experts Scalado, and pay redundancy to those 10,000 workers too.

The VP shuffling puts Juha Putkiranta into operations, from supply chain, Timo Toikkanen into mobile phones from special projects, Chris Weber into marketing from markets, and Susan Sheehan found a seat covering communications. Still standing when the music stopped were Jerri DeVard (Marketing), Mary McDowell (Mobile Phones) and Niklas Savander (Markets), though they'll be hanging around as "senior advisors" during the transition.

Nokia isn't saying where the 10,000 staff who'll be losing their jobs will come from. Talking about the revised focus, CEO Steven Elop would only say: "We intend to pursue an even more focused effort on the Lumia," which sounds like a smartphone strategy... until one gets further down the same release and discovers that "Nokia aims to further develop its Series 40 and 30 devices, and invest in key feature phone technologies".

There will be increased focus, we're told, on location-based services and attempts to get the price of the Lumia down with "new materials, new technologies" but one would imagine that happening anyway. So basically Nokia is going to continue doing the same things it's already doing, only with 10,000 fewer people and a different executive team, and without the facilities in Ulm, Germany, and Burnaby, Canada and without the manufacturing site in Salo, Finland (although R&R will remain in Salo).

The changes are promoted by poor sales, or as Nokia puts it:

[C]ompetitive industry dynamics are negatively affecting the Smart Devices business unit to a somewhat greater extent than previously expected.

And it gets worse:

Nokia expects competitive industry dynamics to continue to negatively impact Devices & Services in the third quarter 2012.

Cutting costs is all very well, and laying off 10,000 people should reduce running costs even if it will take a lump of cash to do, but reducing costs doesn't address the "competitive industry dynamics" that are hurting Nokia so badly. Hopefully we'll see some action on that side of things before it's too late. ®

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