Microsoft plans to eliminate 2,850 global jobs in its smartphone hardware and global sales divisions, it shared in an Aug. 1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The move will effectively wipe out the last traces of the Nokia smartphone team.
Microsoft said it periodically evaluates “how to best deploy the company’s resources.” The coming job cuts, which will be completed by the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year 2017, which is in June 2017, are the result of such an evaluation, the company said.
So were the 1,850 positions Microsoft eliminated in May.
Microsoft purchased Nokia’s Devices & Services business for $7.1 billion in late 2013 and then went on to further whittle away at what had once been the hugely dominating leader of the mobile phone industry—until the arrival of the Apple iPhone.
As analyst Roger Kay told eWEEK, for a 30-year-anniversary article on the glory days of Nokia: “Nokia’s fall can be dated to the arrival of the iPhone. Apple killed Nokia right away, but Nokia didn’t know it was dead for a couple of years.”
In a joint Sept. 2, 3013, statement announcing the acquisition, then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO (and former Microsoft executive) Stephen Elop said the acquisition offered “future opportunities for many Nokia employees as part of a company with the strategy, financial resources and determination to succeed in the mobile space.”
A New Microsoft
While Apple may have done in Nokia, in an opinion piece in the Financial Times Aug. 1, Margaret Heffernan suggests that Microsoft may have also played a role.
“Anyone who has been part of an acquisition knows that, however strategic such moves may be, what makes them succeed or fail is how well the cultures fit,” Heffernan wrote.
While in the late 1990s, the prospect of being acquired by Microsoft was tantalizing to her and her contemporaries, she explained, “Chances were high that the technology would be bought in order to kill it; partnering and collaboration were decidedly and pointedly not the name of the game.”
But that’s changed, she wrote, since the 2014 appointment of Satya Nadella to the role of Microsoft CEO. And without a doubt, that’s good news for LinkedIn, which Microsoft announced in June it was acquiring for $26 billion.
Heffernan’s latter point was echoed in a video posted to the Microsoft site June 13, in which LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner remarked that he was being encouraged to shape his fate.
“It’s not just about sitting back and reacting to this,” said Weiner. “Satya said time and time again, ‘You guys have to help write the rules. We’re going to do this differently. You’re going to have your independence. We have the shared sense of alignment. So let’s dream big and think about what’s possible.’ And that’s going to be the first principle.”
Weiner, Heffernan added, is “less likely to fear being relegated to the broom cupboard—and a lot more likely to be talking to the board.”