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back to article Memo gives full details of Nokia staff cull and closures

Nokia announced the largest cuts in the company's history today, with significant cuts in the UK and globally. Seven thousand jobs will go across the board, with 4,000 in R&D. Office closures will follow in Denmark, the UK and Finland, and 3,000 Symbian jobs will transfer to consulting firm Accenture, the first 300 this year. …

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Never thought it would happen

Two years ago if someone had said to me "no-one within your social circle will own a Nokia phone" I would have laughed at them. Now it's literally true as far as I know.

I do have quite a few gamer friends so maybe the x-box connection will bring it back full circle to Nokia in two more years. Although considering how obsessed they all are currently with their I-phones and Android I wouldn't hold my breath.

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to be fair

I still know some Nokia loyalists. For most users the phones they make are probably plenty good enough. Many smartphone users just have them for the big screen and the cool factor. To be honest most of what I do with my iPhone is Facebook/Twitter/Camera/Dungeon Raid/music/web. But I would find it very hard to do without the browser. And I used to have a Nokia 5510, so I appreciate the full keyboard afforded by a big touch screen, but I wouldn't go for the Blackberry form factor.

I think what paved the way for the flood was the SonyEricsson T610. That phone and its successors had a lot to do with letting Nokia users realise there was something that was worth looking at other than a new Nokia. I personally enjoyed a k750i for several years until the badly designed port on the bottom prevented charging without _veeeeerrry_ precisely positioning the dongle. Then SE made its own mistakes by trading far too long on the success of T610/k750/etc and not forcing Sony into making the Playstation Phone sooner.

Apple could make a serious misstep by letting someone like Microsoft improve on how your phone experience translates to your computer/tablet. I really miss BluePhone and wish Apple would let me search my SMS messages on my Mac.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: to be fair

"I think what paved the way for the flood was the SonyEricsson T610. That phone and its successors had a lot to do with letting Nokia users realise there was something that was worth looking at other than a new Nokia."

To be fair, other vendors also had fairly decent models out at the time, even Nokia. Nokia were just sluggish at moving on from celebrating their previous advantage over Ericsson, which was the use of bitmap-addressable displays versus Ericsson's "lines of text" approach, and taking advantage of such graphics-capable displays in increasing colour depths.

"I personally enjoyed a k750i for several years until the badly designed port on the bottom prevented charging without _veeeeerrry_ precisely positioning the dongle."

My vintage Sony Ericsson has always had this problem, although I suspect that turning it off and charging might defeat whatever stupid sensor is telling it not to charge. However, all the screaming Apple fanboys/lawyers should definitely educate themselves about the T610 and phones of that era, especially when claiming that Apple "invented" something or other. There's a lot there and in the incrementally improved handsets that is the basis of the iPhone's supposed "innovations".

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Not necessarily true

The corporate I work for issues Nokia as standard. No smart phones, just phones - what they are intended for in a work environment. Those who need more get a Blackberry - and there aren't that many of those.

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FAIL

US gains

Microsoft and Accenture benefit. Who could have predicted it when a US exec was appointed CEO ? Perhaps he's a CIA stooge (the CIA are involved in industrial espionage as well).

Nokia. RIP.

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Nokia at southwood

Damn, a nice dedicated bunch. Even though it is a secure environ, they opend it up on saturdays to allow surrey linux user group to meet there. I can tell these people love thier jobs.

Bloody beancounters - also MS must be laughing thier heads off. Ripe for takeover?

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Melt me

When I read "Meltemi " I though of the Wicked Witch of the West melting.

Noki + MS = corporate equivalent it seems. Sad day.

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FAIL

If you can make smart phones, make what people want?

I know lots of people who have been asking what simple phone to buy since they don't want or can't cope with smart phones. Maybe they should look into that market.

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Good news! Extra efficiency!

Remember all those Apple versus Nokia stories, where Apple are spun as being more "efficient", because they have less R&D people, or spend less on R&D? If that's the case, surely it's a *good* thing, by that logic, if Nokia are reducing on R&D? That they are moving from Symbian to Windows also makes it expected that they would be able to reduce their R&D (just as Apple can use less R&D on their Iphone, by reusing the OS that they have developed for their Ipod, which in term uses Darwin as a kernel).

But as always, anything Apple do gets spun as good, anything Nokia do gets spun as bad, even when it's the same thing...

"Two years ago if someone had said to me "no-one within your social circle will own a Nokia phone" I would have laughed at them. Now it's literally true as far as I know."

Firstly, that might not be true - where as Apple users announce they have an Iphone everytime they use it, and Android users announce it when they get a new phone, my experience is that other people simply don't advertise it. Also note how online, anyone using an Iphone will get this advertised with "Posted via iPhone" etc (on email, Twitter, Facebook etc). This often happens with Android. But it rarely gets advertised on Nokia. (Hell, I've even seen Twitter profiles that have "iPhone" next to some people's username, as if the operating system on their phone was some badge of honour.)

So for all the people where you don't know what phone they have, chances are many of them use Nokia.

And anyhow, forget anecdotes - we can just check the market stats, and see that Nokia are still number one (sell ten times as many as Apple, last time I looked).

Joe Harrison: "Although considering how obsessed they all are currently with their I-phones and Android I wouldn't hold my breath."

Well that's the thing - the people who are obsessed with phones seem to brag about their expensive Iphones. The majority of people who buy and use phones, without getting fanatical about it, are still buying plenty from Nokia. It's no different to the people who brag about their Addidas clothes, that doesn't tell us anything about what most people actually buy.

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@Good news! Extra efficiency!

You don't get it:

Apple are "efficient" in that they have a clear vision and design good products[1] around that - their R&D is money well spent ultimately as it sells well and returns the investment several times over.

Nokia on the other had could not find their technical arses with both hands, such was the range of competing and ill thought out products they developed and which management seemed unable to guide.

Nokia needed to change, to streamline and set user-focused goals. Instead they have been lobotomised and handed their future to MS, who as we all know have a very bad reputation[2] in this area.

----

[1] subject to control freakery.

[2] ask former Sendo employees.

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title

Remember: even if lots of people around you use Nokia phones, those are likely to be feature phones, and not smartphones, where the real margin and money is. "Dumbphones" are not a good bet for the future, the Chinese will take over and mass produce them cheaper than anyone else, you need added value, and right now, Nokia's is not exactly huge.

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Vic
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Correction...

> Nokia on the other had could not find their technical arses with both hands,

Nokia *management* couldn't find their arse with either hand, let alone both together.

But the techs have generally done a good job - it's just that there are too many competing groups, doing things in different ways, and without a management structure able to guide them into doing something coherent.

So what have they done? They've binned pretty much all those good technology groups, and kept all that inept management. And bent over a bit for Microsoft.

I simply cannot believe what Elop has done. I really, really hope it's not too late for him to be ousted...

Vic.

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@Vic

"Nokia *management* couldn't find their arse with either hand"

Yes, I believe you are quite right there.

I feel very sorry for Finland and all of the engineers tossed out by this dumb move, and just wish they could have culled the right people earlier.

My first 2 phones were Nokia and great, sadly my 3rd was an HTC Wildfire as the competition was too expensive/controlled (iPhone) or just a bit crappier.

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Who told you that Apple has less R&D?

Apple has more R&D.

The whole company is geared and streamlined to make R&D into a product or kill it fast before any resorse is wasted- from R&D, to C2M to Product.

That is both more (R&D uses actual "production" resources) and more efficient at the same time.

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Stop

Wow that's a lot of symbian devs

I have to wonder what they were doing all this time. I wonder if the codebase was so fractured that literally every handset and every region needed it's own teams of symbian devs. While I think it's commercial suicide for Nokia to hand itself bound and gagged to Microsoft, it does appear it could have benefitted from some judicious pruning.

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FAIL

No Thanks Nokia

I was looking for a new phone at the very point they announced the Tie up with Redmond. That immediately disqualified Nokia as I see no point in buying into the dying Symbian infrastructure - and I had pretty much settled on a choice between 2 symbian models.

Well done Elop (what is it with the tech world and crazy names?) You delivered this long time Nokia fan into the arms of Androidism _ I bet there are a lot of others too.

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Me too

I was also looking for a new phone, and have also decided android is the way to go. I was fairly set on another nokia phone right up to the announcement. Not any more!

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I saw 600 e72 orders cancelled for BB

I was at a Nokia shop purchasing a S40 gift, the manager had a phone call and right in front of me, a 600 piece E72 order got cancelled for Blackberry 9000 series. He was glad that he didn't tie entire future to Nokia and was allowed to sell other brands.

A truck load of orders cancelled, wished that Elop has seen it.

RIM could look old school to some but so far, they had a good trustable roadmap and with addition of QNX kernel, a micro kernel similar to Symbian kernel, they are way more free to do anything now.

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Heart

Needed cuts

Good. Nokia needed to streamline.

Bring on Windows Phone aswell.

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Troll

I see

what yer doin' there.

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FAIL

Efficiency? Yeah right!

Comparing Apples and Nokias?

Apple goes from nothing to iOS 4 in the same time Nokia takes to put a nice dress on Symbian. And does it with less Developers and R&D cash too. Gotta say that looks pretty efficient to me.

Nokia trashing their own OS and buying into Windoze mobile don't strike me as being more efficient. They have become just another box maker with the same software as the rest of the Windoze crowd.

Nokia handset design might save the day? Even if the box looks as sexy as a sexy thing I can' see anyone paying a premium price for it when it fires up into the same Windoze interface you can get elsewhere for a lot less. (If Nokia have any good box designers left?)

Reskin the interface? Now you have a sexy box with a polished turd inside.

Bad move all round.

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4K r'n'd staff..

4000 can go from R and D..

...

This just makes Nokia's fail even bigger.. with all that resource they still could not release smart phones that worked reliably.

If, 3 years ago, someone had gone through that department and thrown all the wastrels (eg. the morons who think multi-second delays are acceptable in a GUI etc..) maybe they would still have some credibility.

Not that I'm bitter; it's just that I was very firmly pressing the answer key on my 1 year old Nokia s**t phone this morning, but it was too busy re-drawing the screen from landscape to portrait to be bothered actually answering the call.. So my boss got my voicemail and I got to reflect once again on how sad this once great company has become.

All the Nokia 'old hands' who presided over this debacle should be hiding their faces in shame.. The really pathetic thing is that getting rid of the buggy inept crud that is Symbian and putting the weirdly inept but less buggy Windows Mobile in it's place will improve Nokia's credibility.

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Another poster who doesn't understand...

... the difference between a UI and an OS.

The Nokia S60 *UI* is buggy, inept crud.

The Symbian *OS* is lean, mean and very capable.

It'll be years before a WinPho can do what the N8 (thanks to Symbian) can.

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I do anderstand actually..

Buggy software caused me to miss my call.

Nokias buggy software.

Trying to criticize me by saying that I should give a flying f**k about whether it is the OS or the GUI that was at fault is the act of someone who knows they are polishing a turd; It is all part of an package labelled 'S60 Symbian', a rather lame experience.

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Happy

@Mark - chillax bro

"Well that's the thing - the people who are obsessed with phones seem to brag about their expensive Iphones. The majority of people who buy and use phones, without getting fanatical about it, are still buying plenty from Nokia."

You've missed the point. I'll make some presumptions here and suggest you're a tech-savvy pragmatist, who assesses device capabilities in the round before purchasing.

Most people aren't. The entire tech industry (mobiles in particular) has been surrounding itself in a cloak of buzzword shit-bingo for the last few years, especially as mobiles got powerful enough to run "true" OSs with downloadable executable content, cameras etc.

I've been using smartphones since P910, and I used to make those assessments. When I decided to finally upgrade from the P990 (which lasted 2.5 yrs before the keys on the flip failed, and I got bored of trying to use the UI to dial - it still works fine BTW) I took a long look at the smartphones which were about (this was ~2yrs ago).

- Symbian UIQ - _just_ dead (pity) - the P1i was available, but didn't look like it was a huge step-up.

- Symbian S60 - I've always _always_ hated it, ever since I tried the first Nokia ulgiphone containing it. Personal preference? Impenetrable UI, excessive context menus. Yuk.

- iOS - this was still getting core functionality online, and worth watching

- Android - ditto as per iOS (was looking at the early HTCs, post-G1)

I watched for a while, and when iOS got the voice-dialling over bluetooth first I went for it.

Coming from a phone of 2.5 years UIQ age to iOS was startling - within a month I genuinely didn't care about what was missing (apart from delivery reports on SMSs!).

NOW - to get back to the point - don't presume people "brag" about their iphones, and likewise don't presume that people who don't brag about their phones are using Nokia (or a majority of them are).

- The "posted by iPhone" effect is because people are generally lazy and don't change the setting, or it's not possible to change it (e.g. Facebook)

- iPhones have a marketing engine behind them which is far slicker and bigger than Nokia ever managed, with their impenetrable (spotting a pattern?) gobbledegook adverts and strategies - so you're going to "see" apple a lot more

And, if I might be so bold without wishing to cause big offence, you do come off as having a chip on your shoulder about the public buying what marketeers tell them to.

You can't sit on an island and shout about how stupid people are for buying a good product because they've been told to - and don't discount the idea (however unpalatable) that the iPhone is in fact a good product. Maybe it sells itself between friends as well - the "stickiness" (read "tipping point", a great book on social trends) of the user experience is undeniable.

Just keeping it real... chill out.

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buzzword shit-bingo

Thanks for that one ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Just today

I thought I'd have a stab at fixing an (open source) app for my much-despised symbian smartphone, because I have that phone and that app would be even more useful to me if it wouldn't crash so much. So. I needed to check up on something, and for that you need the reference documentation.

Turns out everybody else links to developer.symbian.org, and all those links have gone 404. Their front page mentions symbian.nokia.com, which sports a wiki and the ref docs and whatnot. Or do they? Nooo, it's all labeled "coming soon".

That really ought to've been up before symbian.org went the way of the dodo, nokia.

I don't know what those 3000 symbian devs have been up to in the meantime, but it _wasn't_ saving the lasting value in the platform. As in, just about everything nokia does or inexplicably neglects seems to be aimed at kicking the symbian puppy. I don't know what utter madness made me bother for the few minutes to figure that out. Oh well.

Nokia, putting the "no" in mobile technology.

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Redundant font, also?

Looks like the Nokia Pure font was a complete waste of time and money, then, since there won't be anything to use it on...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/28/nokia_pure/

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Stop

@AC: "what those 3000 symbian devs have been up to"

They've been doing their best. Believe me. There's only so much head-banging you can do until you just give up and tow the company line.

Most of this news was expected, the complete closure of Southwood did come as a shock.

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't say it was the devs' fault.

Just saying that whatever they, or the rest of nokia for that matter, haven't been doing is care of the bleeding obvious and immediate needs of those still desperately trying to be part of this symbian development "ecosystem". It's so clearly a folly to even try, it's painful.

Yes, we knew they were really shrugging symbian off and wanting everyboy* to use this supposedly shiny new thing that hasn't really matured yet, nevermind been put on a nokia phone. At the same time they're still releasing a symbian phone, but so massively cold shouldering anyone who would dare try and develop anything for symbian is clearly SOL before they started. What's that going to do for retaining loyal "ecosystem" filler?

I think nokia are not even trying to flap their arms while falling. Well, do fall on. G'bye mate.

* tyop left in as appropriate

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Unhappy

Good time to be a Chinese engineer

Only a matter of a couple of years before Nokia moves smartphone design to the expanded Beijing site too. After all, Microsoft will be doing all of the difficult software development, right?

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Unhappy

MELTemi

As in sales... How appropriate (unfortunately).

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The death of telecoms HW design in the Thames Valley area?

Very sad to see Southwood is to close, it was a great place to work, some great phones from there.

Another nail in the coffin for hardware development in the area, Motorola, NEC. Nokia. Panasonic and many others used to employ large numbers of hardware designers.

Now there are only a handful of small-ish sites left, Vertu, Qualcomm, Renesas.

Can't think of many more, really. A real pity.

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I can only repeat my prediction...

...that Elop is on the mission to bring down Nokia's value so MS can pick up its hardware and distribution divisions for next to nothing eventually.

Of course, it won't help too much as long as this utterly incompetent golden boy VP Belfiore is in charge of this clusterf$ck called Windows Phone 7 - he sank Media Center into oblivion, made Zune to a completely nonexistent product on the market. He's the living embodiment of MS' totally lunatic bureaucracy: you cannot screw up hard enough to NOT to be promoted even higher...

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Unhappy

Agree

Why else would you fire the people who actually get the work done (when allowed to and when it isn't immediately canned on delivery) and keep the most inept bunch of marketeers ever who did everything in their power to hinder sales of Nokia phones and probably look up to Nathan Barley as a role model.

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Flame

Accenture!!!!

Jaysus wept! I thought things couldn't get worse for Nokia staff but been transferred to Accenture must be a fate worse than redundancy. What use are the bureaucratic clowns at Accenture going to be.

Sorry for all the devs in partiuclar who have lost their job. RIP a once great company.

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There's an elephant in the room, and no-one says anything...

It's white, no-one - not even its dual mothers love it, but what now?

Of course, I'm talking about Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint drain on both parents.

One wonders if that half-Auzzie git Beresford-Wylie and successor hadn't shovelled tons of Nokia's wedge into the NSN coffers to keep the bleeding-to-death animal alive, Nokia (and methinks Siemens) wouldn't be neck-high in this - well, SHIT.

Seen the figures?

Nokia phones Net profit. 704 mil. margin 6.8%. staff 60,000

NSN Net 3mil, margin 0.1%, staff 66,000

Now, let's mention the elephant. And see if Huawei wants it.

Someone at NSN must be crapping themselves.

NB IANAA, so I might have misread. Corrections ever-so-greatly received....

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FAIL

history repeating itself....

hohum. Just like palm - into bed with M$, and down the pan.

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Unhappy

Accenture?

*That's* how much the new regime hates Symbian?

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Anonymous Coward

The party couldn't last forever

I was an Engineering Manager at Symbian in London. When I joined, all the red flags were clearly visible: owned by a consortium, who were also its customers; legacy & compatibility issues coming out of its ears; an ugly culture clash between SE (where all the anal in-house Symbian processes came from), Nokia the 800lb gorilla who would always get the product roadmap they wanted, no matter how mad, and (dare I say it) British creative genius who just wanted to 'do it right'.

While there was expanding demand for killer-app smartphones and little competition (I remember seeing a presentation from Nomura in about 2003 where the 'Microsoft share of market' prediction actually vanished into the thickness of the zero line), it didn't matter too much. But the stress at the coalface was dreadful, and the unholy attitude of 'Nokia want this in the next release, so shut up' and the SE metrics police monitoring performance, bug fixing and productivity killed the ability and freedom of the Symbian staff to fix things.

Ah, the metrics! Do I not miss you! 50, yes 50 personal objectives for each 6 months period, directly driving one's bonus. The pretence that a man-month was a man-month, whether it was a newbie in Bangalore, or a seasoned veteran in London; engineering management had to somehow square this circle and meet commitments regardless. 'Time to fix bugs' became a management obsession, where naturally the way to win was to cheat (one good way was to chew over a bug for a few weeks then declare it belonged to some other team & transfer it; when it came winging back a few days later, the clock was reset and one could then clear it promptly, to praise and beneficial bonus effect).

Some great, skilled and committed people, munched up by a ghastly management and marketing machine. Too bad.

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@The party couldn't last forever

Nokia could have learned an awful lot from the software development in Symbian when it took it over. Instead, Symbian people were steam-rolled into doing things the 'Nokia Way', even when these ways were perplexing and only done because 'that is how it was always done'. THEN, they paid Construx an awful lot of money to tell it what it previously didn't want to hear, but it was too late. It would have taken 3 years to iron out the issues (things were/are that bad).

The N97 debaccle was 'solved' by closing the Japanese development centre, then the N8 had slip after slip, which was 'solved' by firing engineers. Of course, the people in charge still have their jobs where there's absolutely no doubt in my mind they'll maintain the same attitudes and ineptitude and completely fuck up the Windows strategy too. At which point they'll all stand round jerking off how Very Human they all are.

As Specified.

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I must have worked with you at some point

I started in Symbian in 2003 and was there for the grand new adventure when Nokia took us over. Oh swell times back then, it was all wonderful and good, we'd be working for the Big Player(tm) then... it would be fantastic.

Only it wasn't. Symbian was a actually quite the powerhouse of organised efficiency compared to the bureaucracy laden wasteland than Nokia was. And it gets worse.

I'm not a dev. I'm on the Nokia Corporate IT side of things these days and all I can do is sit there and watch millions of pounds being spent on systems we already have in another part of the business because it's someones pet and they don't want to talk to someone else... no wonder Nokia needs to cut costs. They keep reinventing the wheel. They are a company with the slogan 'connecting people' and they can't even connect with each other.

Anyway, I rant. Maybe this reduction will be the best thing. A big shake up and get rid of some of the duplication and wastage. I doubt it though. We've been playing on migrating Cambridge to Southwood because Cambridge is technically closed. Whoops, there goes Southwood. What now?

Do I care anymore? Nope. Time to leave the Titanic that is Nokia.

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Pint

nokia Southwood: The next role.

Hmmm. Just the place for the new Tesco Distribution Centre. (You need to be a local to understand the politics of this)

Reading Beer Festival here I come

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Alert

True

the Southwood canteen in the main building wasn't bad but aside from that there really is nothing around that area. Except for a slightly grumpy gate guard.

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Gates Horns

That's got to be a record, no?

Many companies have disintegrating or been eaten by bigger fish after partnering with M$, but it usually takes years, not months! Sybase was able to hang on for 20 years but was already losing mind-share (if not yet market-share) when it first shared SQL-server code w/ MS. Nokia was an industry leader until just a year or so ago. I agree with Jacqui that they must look pretty attractive to MS, HP, Google, etc. right now. Its a shame.

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Dead Vulture

RIP

A great company destroyed by a bunch of MBAs and an awful day for the European tech industry.

I was offered an interview at Farnborough a couple of months back, I was actually tempted, I thought S40 was likely to be OK, but the commute was a bit much .. a bullet dodged

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Meltemi is a seasonal wind

In mid-September it ends. Sooo clever these guys.

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Pint

drunken kamikaze ...

... might've been a more fitting but also less amicable windy expression for the suited class leading Nokia. It makes the end so obvious.

A new word had to be found, so they probably sat together (fifteen comittees of fifty suits each) for a few weeks in Finnish saunas, devising mountainous volumes of powerpoint slides, till someone came up with a sufficiently finnish-sounding windy term. No matter it's greek. I'm sure the old new corporate internal powerpoint template now contains a lot of nice blue-and-white clouds as well.

(beer, because it's Friday and news like that are easier to take with a drink)

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FAIL

NOKIA RIP

NOKIA sell more phones than anyone else - but the vast majority of these are cheapy devices running Symbian - not smartphones.

NOKIA has a USP - their own OS - just like Apple.... this means they can do their own thing and be agile... now they want to just provide Windows Mobile ? well, 'fraid that just makes them a 'me too' phone supplier - let them try to fight with embedded players such as HTC - they already lost when running against them with their own expertise...now they've got the drag of MS.

it was on the cards since they took no action when the first Apple iPhone came out - their lethargic response showed them to be the over-sized slow corporation that is now finally being sliced (in the wrong way) and forced into chewing out of MS hands - their downfall is pretty much signed. just needs to be delivered.

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