Sony Ericsson to Cut Jobs, Close Offices, Move U.S. Headquarters

The No. 4 ranking handset maker will eliminate another 1,600 jobs and close its headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Struggling sales are forcing Sony Ericsson to continue job cuts. Between now and the end of August 2010, the No. 4 ranking handset maker will eliminate another 1,600 jobs from the 400 already laid off this year. Sony Ericsson is consolidating operations, moving U.S.-based research and development offices, and closing five other offices in the United States and worldwide.

As part of a consolidation of offices and employees, London-based Sony Ericsson is closing its current headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and many other locations in the United States and relocating its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta. These moves are meant to streamline its global operations, reduce its work force by 2,000 employees and save money, said reports from the Triangle Business Journal and Associated Press.

Other Sony Ericsson offices to be affected by the closures include Seattle; Miami; San Diego; Kista, Sweden; and Chennai, India. These cuts will be completed by the third quarter of 2010. In April, Sony Ericsson made the announcement that it planned to reduce its work force by 20 percent, keeping in line with similar plans it made in 2008 to cut the same amount of jobs.

"About 400 jobs have been cut since then, and about 1,600 remain to meet that goal by the middle of next year," said the AP.

The company will move its research and development facility from North Carolina to Redwood Shores, Calif., where it currently develops smartphones. Redwood Shores is home to another major technology player-Oracle. In North Carolina, the office closure affects 420 workers, and not every one is being offered new opportunities. The research and development division in North Carolina has seen several hundred jobs lost already in 2009, said the AP.

The Triangle Business Journal writes of the move to Atlanta:

"Karen Morris, vice president of marketing for the North American region, said Atlanta was chosen for the headquarters because of its proximity to major operations of AT&T, one of the company's largest customers and because of the international airport connections available through Atlanta's hub."The consolidation comes a little more than a year after Sony Ericsson announced a company-wide cost cutting plan that led to the loss of 2,000 jobs. Sony Ericsson currently employs about 9,900 globally. Morris said the company will have meetings with individual employees in the first quarter. Some will be offered the opportunity to work in California or Atlanta. Those who are not will be offered severance."

Sales for the No. 4 handset maker in the third quarter were down by more than 40 percent, said the AP.