Nokia is handing control of Symbian development to consultancy Accenture, and has revealed will cut a total of 7,000 jobs.
In a deal announced this morning, Accenture will take over software development and support services, along with 3,000 Nokia employees in five countries. The pair expect to close the deal during the summer and complete the staff transfers by the year-end.
Nokia will also lay off 4,000 more employees, mostly in Finland, Denmark and the UK, as part of a bit to cut €1 billion ($1.47 billion) in handset R&D spending, Reutersreported.
Although the Accenture announcement initially looks like good news for Symbian, a closer look suggests the platform could be dropped once Nokia launches its first Windows Phone 7 device. Accenture has also been contracted to help build an ecosystem around the Microsoft platform, and will “seek opportunities to retrain and redeploy transitioned employees,” in conjunction with Nokia.
For now, though, the consultancy is basking in the glory of extending its presence in mobile, a “key area” for the firm, according to Marty Cole, chief of its communications and high tech group.
The firm is already well placed to handle Symbian development. David Wood, tech strategy lead at Accenture’s recently-formed embedded software services division, is a former Symbian executive with a wealth of knowledge and experience of the platform.
Nokia angered loyal users a fortnight ago by failing to provide promised details of its strategy for Symbian, revealing instead that an updated version of the platform named Anna will be launched in two forthcoming smartphones.
In February, chief technology officer Rich Green estimated up to 150 million more Symbian phones will ship as the vendor sought to assure developers it would continue to back the operating system despite pledging allegiance to WP7.