Nokia has officially confirmed that the 4000 jobs it planned to cut at the end of last year would affect its manufacturing facilities in Reynosa Mexico, Komarom Hungary and Salo Finland as part of its company wide restructuring initiative designed to save 1 billion Euro by 2015, with those plants moving to a supplemental role as end points for carrier customization of manufactured devices with the actual manufacturing of devices moving to plants in Malaysia, China and Brazil as Nokia outsources more manufacturing to Foxconn following the lead of its long-time component suppliers.
Nokia was at one point known for featuring the majority of its mid-range and high-end device manufacturing in Finland and was one of the last mobile phone manufacturers to begin outsourcing device manufacturing to third party companies. The high-end Symbian based N and E series were routinely lauded for their build quality as they were made outside of their corporate headquarters in Finland while their mid-range and low-end lineups were made within Europe, typically in Germany and Eastern Europe.
It should be noted that the plants affected by the latest job cuts were dedicated to the manufacturing and assembly of Symbian and MeeGo Harmattan devices before the cuts were made, with the Reynosa plant manufacturing the N9 directly for the Mexican market, while the Hungarian plant handled Pan-European production and the plant in Salo handled initial manufacturing before handing off large-scale production to Asian plants. The aforementioned plants will not be shuttered completely, but as previously mentioned, will now handle carrier customization and final packaging/shipment for smartphones.
With Nokia moving exclusively to Windows Phone, the cuts were seen as necessary as the 4,000 workers handled Symbian related device work and Nokia has been transitioning away from the platform by spinning it off to Accenture, while sustaining billion dollar losses due to the loss in smartphone marketshare in the fourth quarter down from a $980 million profit in the same quarter in 2010. With the latest round of cuts, Nokia is further demonstrating that it is pinning all of its hopes on the success of Windows Phone, even going as far as admitting that they do not have an alternative plan in place should Windows Phone continue its tepid adoption rate compared to Android and iOS.
It remains to be seen whether Nokia’s current strategy will pay off, as Microsoft is set to offer the unlocked version of the Lumia 800 beginning on Valentine’s Day in a $900 bundle including a custom Bluetooth speaker and custom accessories while Nokia hints at an unlocked international version of the currently AT&T exclusive Lumia 900, with no official confirmation on availability at this time, despite having plans for a special event during Mobile World Congress in Spain being held next week.