MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS to axe a further 1,850 jobs and to take a restructuring charge of approximately $950m fuelling yet more speculation that this could see the end of Microsoft's smartphone ambitions.
The latest move follows job cuts of up to 7,800 last year, again largely affecting the phone hardware division formed when Microsoft acquired Nokia's handset business in 2013,
Microsoft said in a statement that the latest move will result in cuts of up to 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, as well as up to another 500 globally, taking the total number of jobs culled due to its failing smartphone business to over 22,000.
News agency Reuters is also reporting that Microsoft plans to stop designing and manufacturing mobile phones altogether, although this would indicate a dramatic change of direction for the firm, which has until lately pushed 'cloud first, mobile first' as its core strategy built on having versions of Windows 10 able to run across a wide variety of devices.
"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," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement regarding the latest job cuts.
"We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms."
Speculation still surrounds the so-called Surface Phone devices that Microsoft is said to be developing to replace its ailing Windows Phones and replicate the success of the Surface tablet systems.
However, the upcoming Atom-based Broxton and Sofia chips that were likely to power such a device were cancelled by Intel at the start of this month, making it unclear whether such a device is still viable. µ
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