Nokia revises long-term strategy in patent-licensing unit, will cut jobs as a result

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) said it is shifting its long-term strategy for its Nokia Technologies unit and will cut up to 70 jobs as a result. It's unclear at this point how Nokia's strategy for the division is changing.

"Nokia Technologies has revised its long-term strategy and will consequently reshape organization. As part of this, talks have been initiated with the staff," Nokia spokeswoman Riitta Mard told Reuters.

The unit employs around 650 people globally and close to 400 in Finland, Reuters noted.

However, that Nokia is shifting its long-term strategy for the division is noteworthy considering just weeks ago Nokia executives said the company's Technologies unit was doing well and that it had the right cost structure.

Indeed, when Nokia announced its $17.7 billion (€15.6 billion) merger agreement with Alcatel-Lucent, the vendors said that the "combined company will have unparalleled innovation capabilities, with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and Nokia's FutureWorks, as well as Nokia Technologies, which will stay as a separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies."

Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) in April 2014 but still holds onto more than 10,000 patents, many related to mobile phone technologies. Nokia Technologies recently hired former Dolby Labs executive Ramzi Haidamus as its president and last month hired longtime Cisco executive Guido Jouret to be its CTO. 

"I am more confident than ever that licensing activities are tracking well and that there is a robust pipeline of potential new licensees," Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said last month when Nokia reported first-quarter earnings. "In addition, I believe that we are focusing on the right innovation opportunities and that the necessary cost discipline is in place."

Sales in Nokia's networks unit made up 83.5 percent of the company's revenue in the first quarter, and that will remain its dominant division. HERE made up around 8.2 percent of Nokia's first-quarter sales, and Nokia Technologies contributed around 8.3 percent. Nokia Technologies posted 103 percent year-over-year growth in net sales in the first quarter and 124 percent growth in non-IFRS operating profit.

Nokia is reportedly in talks to sell its HERE mapping unit, with bidders potentially including Uber, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and a consortium of German automakers. 

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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