Technology & Science

Microsoft makes deep cuts to smartphone business

Microsoft Corp announced more big cuts to its smartphone business on Wednesday, just two years after it bought handset maker Nokia in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple and Samsung.

2 years after buying handset maker Nokia, company will cut 1,850 jobs and write down $950M US

Panos Panay, Microsoft vice president for Surface Computing, shows a new Lumia 950 phone during a presentation, in New York in 2015. Microsoft announced more big cuts to its smartphone business on Wednesday, just two years after it bought handset maker Nokia in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple and Samsung. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Microsoft Corp  announced more big cuts to its smartphone business on Wednesday, just two years after it bought handset maker Nokia in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple and Samsung.

The U.S. company said it would shed up to 1,850 jobs, most of them in Finland, and write down $950 million from the 
business. It did not say how many employees currently work on smartphones in the group as a whole.

A Finnish union representative told Reuters the cuts would essentially put an end to Microsoft's development of new phones.

"My understanding is that Windows 10 will go on as an operating system, but there will be no more phones made by 
Microsoft," said Kalle Kiili, a shop steward.

Microsoft said in a statement it would continue to develop the Windows 10 platform and support its Lumia smartphones, but gave no comment on whether it would develop new Windows phones.

Microsoft bought Nokia's once-dominant handset business for about $7.2 billion US in 2014, but failed to turn the 
business around and last year announced $7.5 billion US of writedowns and 7,800 job cuts.

Global market share of Windows smartphones fell below 1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, according to research firm Gartner.

Earlier this month, Microsoft sold its entry-level feature phones business for $350 million US.

The company said on Wednesday it expected to cut all 1,350 jobs at its Finnish mobile phone unit and close down a research and development site in the country. A further 500 jobs will go in other countries, it said, without giving details.

"We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation," said chief executive Satya Nadella in a 
statement.

"We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms."