FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has announced plans to outsource Symbian development and support to the IT management consulting firm Accenture.
Nokia said it will transfer 3,000 employees to Accenture by the end of 2011 and that they will work on the Symbian operating system and eventually Nokia's implementation of Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. The company said the change will affect employees across China, Finland, India, the UK and the US.
In a separate announcement, Nokia revealed that it will lay off a further 4,000 staff based in Denmark, Finland and the UK. It's not exactly clear whether Nokia staff transferred to Accenture will even work on Symbian or Windows Phone software in the long term, as the firm said, "Over time, Accenture and Nokia will seek opportunities to retrain and redeploy transitioned employees."
Jo Harlow, EVP for smart devices at Nokia, tried to bring a measure of calm by saying that Nokia's decision to move 3,000 employees to Accenture shows an "ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering" and that "this transition of skilled talent to Accenture shows our commitment to provide our Symbian employees with potential new career opportunities".
Harlow's comments tend to suggest that Nokia is offloading its Symbian talent to another firm in the hope that they can get other jobs within Accenture. Marty Cole, chief executive of Accenture's communications and high tech group said the deal "is a real win-win for Accenture and Nokia".
Addressing Nokia's decision to cut 4,000 jobs, Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of the Unite union said, "This is another dark day for the British economy". Burke lamented, "What is very disheartening is that mobile phones and their associated technology are one of the growth areas in the British economy, yet this still does not stop a successful company such as Nokia throwing people out of work."
It might be a win-win for Accenture and Nokia, however the 3,000 Nokia employees being transferred and the 4,000 to be laid off might not agree. µ