Microsoft takes the axe to its smartphone business once more

US software giant Microsoft has announced yet another round of cuts to its smartphone division, which was created from the acquisition of Nokia Devices.

The news comes just days after it was announced that Microsoft was selling the feature phone part of the Nokia acquisition to a consortium headed up by a former Microsoft and Nokia devices exec. It also comes less than a year after Microsoft effectively wrote off the entire Nokia Devices acquisition by taking an impairment charge of $7.6 billion.

This time the impairment and restructuring charge is a mere $950 million, $200 million of which covers severance payments to the 1,850 people who will be made redundant, thus maintaining the cost of letting people go at around $100,000 per head. 1,350 of those redundancies will come from Microsoft Mobile in Finland, but a sales subsidiary in Espoo will be spared, for now.

“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, CEO of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”

In hindsight Nadella seemed to have decided the Nokia acquisition was a bad idea from the start and it has come to represent the final rage against the dying of the light by Steve Ballmer, who he succeeded as CEO in 2014, just months after the Nokia deal was announced. Ballmer was still clinging onto the prospect of making software licensing revenue from the Windows Phone OS, but Nadella seemed to know this was never going to happen, and this move may represent the last in a sequence of Nokia Devices obituaries.

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