Microsoft takes the knife to Nokia as it butchers smartphone division

Lumia 950

Microsoft is to cull 1,850 jobs as it massively cuts down on its smartphone hardware business.

It's no secret that Microsoft is struggling to compete against iOS and Android. In fact, in the first quarter of 2016 Windows Phone's market share dropped below 1%.

That news in itself was no surprise, having followed weak quarterly results and the sale of its feature phone business.

Now, in an internal memo obtained by The Verge, Terry Myerson, Microsoft's head of Windows and devices, confirmed that the company would be cutting up to 1850 jobs worldwide, 1350 of which would be in Finland and likely mostly made up of those who worked for Nokia Devices.

It's starting to sound like Microsoft could be preparing for a complete exit of the mobile space, but Myerson suggests it's not quite dead yet.

In the memo he says that the company is "streamlining" its smartphone hardware business, but that it will continue to "develop great new devices".

Down but maybe not out

He doesn't get too specific, but notably he says that "I used the words 'be more focused' above. This in fact describes what we are doing (we're scaling back, but we're not out!)"

That's at odds with claims from an unnamed source speaking to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, who according to Reuters said that Microsoft will stop designing and manufacturing mobile phones altogether.

With it being the one major company currently invested in the Windows Phone platform, that would surely leave Windows 10 Mobile with little to no future.

But if we believe the memo, and we're inclined to when the alternative is an anonymous source, Microsoft isn't giving up on the smartphone game just yet.

It sounds like we may see fewer devices, but with exciting ones like the Surface Phone on the horizon there's still some small hope for the platform.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.