Microsoft to pare 1,850 more jobs in ailing smartphone sector

May 26, 201610:09 am468 views
Microsoft to pare 1,850 more jobs in ailing smartphone sector
Microsoft and Nokia signs are seen in Peltola, Oulu, Finland, in 2014. Microsoft said it would shed up to 1,850 jobs, most of them in Finland, and write down $950 million from the business. | MARKKU RUOTTINEN / LEHTIKUVA / FILE PHOTO / REUTERS

Microsoft said Wednesday it will cut up to 1,850 jobs and take a $950 million hit to its books as it attempts to salvage its rocky entrance into the smartphone market.

The company acquired Nokia’s phone business in 2014 for $7.3 billion, hoping to expand its share of the fast-growing mobile tech industry. But by last summer it had slashed the value of that business severely and eliminated 26,000 jobs.

Under former CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft struggled to compete in a mobile sector dominated by rivals Apple, Google and Samsung.

But after it failed to gain traction with the Nokia venture, new CEO Satya Nadella has pursued a different strategy. Nadella has been pushing Microsoft to make its flagship Windows operating system and other popular software programs work on a variety of devices.

The company is still producing a limited line of smartphones, aimed at consumers and businesses whose employees already use Microsoft programs on their work computers.

But that phone business is drastically pared back from two years ago. Microsoft last week sold its lower-end mobile phone business to a Chinese company.

It said the bulk of the job cuts announced Wednesday, up to 1,350 positions, will affect a mobile technology division in Finland, where Nokia is based. There will also be up to 500 additional jobs trimmed worldwide. Microsoft had 117,354 employees globally at the end of its last fiscal year.

Microsoft Corp., based in Redmond, Washington, said it hopes to complete most of the “streamlining” by year’s end.

The company’s stock was up more than 1.5 percent after the announcement Wednesday.

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