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Nokia to lay off 1700 staff as sales slow

The world's top mobile phone maker Nokia is to lay off 1700 staff worldwide to save costs in reaction...

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The world's top mobile phone maker Nokia is to lay off 1700 staff worldwide to save costs in reaction to slowing global sales.

The cuts will take place in its Devices and Markets units as well as head office and global support functions. Nokia UK has not disclosed how many local staff will be affected. The firm has started negotiations with unions and staff representatives.

In a statement Nokia said some jobs were redundant following its acquisition of Symbian. Nokia has already set up the Symbian Foundation to convert the mobile operating system to an open system by 2010 and to encourage software developers to write for the Symbian platform.

Nokia's move confirms a prediction by market research firm Gartner that sales of mobile phones will drop 4% this year from 1.224 billion.

Gartner said smartphone sales will still grow, but market leader Nokia is under pressure from Research in Motion's Blackberry products. Last year Nokia's market share of smartphone unit sales dropped from 50.1% to 40.8%, while RIM's rose from 10.9% to 19.5%.

Nokia's Symbian also faces competition from Apple's iPhone and Google's Android as well as RIM as the operating system of choice. According to Gartner, Symbian's market share for the last quarter of 2008 slipped from 62.3% to 47%, and this was before iPhone and Android really hit the market.

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