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Microsoft is laying off 1,850 to “streamline” its smartphone business, takes $950M charge

TechCrunch TechCrunch 25/05/2016 Ingrid Lunden

Following last week’s news of Microsoft selling off its feature phone business for $350 million, today Microsoft turned its attention to smartphones: the company said it would lay off 1,850 staff and take a charge of $950 million, including $200 million in severance payments, as it “streamlines” the business to focus on enterprises and niche areas where it feels it can better differentiate.

The move is completely unsurprising, considering that Microsoft has failed to spark much interest in its Lumia-branded smartphones since taking over the business from Nokia, with Android devices and Apple’s iPhone continuing to dominate sales and usage globally.

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, in a statement. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”

Some 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland will go, as well as up to 500 additional jobs globally, the company said. Microsoft Oy employees, a separate Microsoft sales subsidiary based in Espoo, are not impacted, the company added. But in general, it’s a pretty grim period for mobile technology workers in Finland: late last week Nokia also quietly announced that it would lay off just over 1,000 people in the country.

The layoffs will be fully completed by July 2017.

More to come.

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