Nokia’s New Broom: Symbian/MeeGo Harmony, 1,800 Jobs Cut

Nokia’s new CEO is putting his imprimatur on the company with a “plan to accelerate its transformation and increase effectiveness” – improving its smartphones OS experience is the top priority…

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) says it will “focus on Qt as the sole application development framework”, allowing developers to create apps for both Symbian and MeeGo. This move also means it will “support HTML5 for development of Web content and applications for both Symbian and MeeGo platforms”.

The aim is clearly to reduce, for developers, the seemingly illogical gap between Symbian smartphones and higher-end MeeGo smartphones, but stops way short of merging the two or abandoning either. Says Nokia: “The resulting change to a model of continuous evolution replaces the previous release-based model. Nokia will no longer refer to Symbian^3 or Symbian^4. The benefit to consumers will be a constant improvement in the experience of their Symbian-based Nokia products.” In effect, phone users are less likely to be orphaned by developers by their phone OS being superceded.

It’s not just on the smartphone devices side new chief exec Stephen Elop is making his stamp – it’s in its services, too. “Instead of distinct end-to-end service lines, the Services organization will be focused on delivering an integrated Ovi experience across our full range of devices. In addition to simplifying its ways of working, the aim is to provide more compelling Ovi services to consumers.”

But this is somewhat nebulus – not only had Nokia already been streamlining Symbian for developers; it had also already been trying to make “an integrated Ovi experience” out of its maps, music, calendaring and other suites. It’s not explained what more it will do with Ovi – perhaps delivering it to low-end phones.

All in all, the changes mean 1,800 out of Nokia’s 131,553 jobs will be lost across the world, including “streamlining certain corporate functions and corporate research activities” (headcount had grown by 8,207 in the last year).

Although Nokia’s old guard had been saying “the fightback starts here“, with its recent flagship new N8 and with the updated Symbian^3 OS, neither has been as well received as they might have hoped, and Elop simply had to accelerate the fightback somehow. In earnings, Elop says: “Recent results demonstrate that we must reassess our role in and our approach to this industry.”

Nokia reported five percent higher Q3 sales of