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First take

You don’t turn around a battleship in an hour or two, which is why the clear signals from Microsoft about its smartphone division are so interesting. The Redmond giant spent $7.2 billion a little more than a year ago buying Nokia, the big smartphone maker, which many people took as an indication that Microsoft planned to move into the field. It promptly laid off half of Nokia’s workforce, which may not have been a shock since the corporations did have some overlap. But the new “restructuring” announced this week, in which the smartphone staff is cut by half again, is a clearer indicator. The move into smartphones was launched not long before his departure by former CEO Steve Ballmer; current CEO Satya Nadella has moved away from them. PC World interpreted: “The write-down is essentially an admission that Nokia’s phone business is worth practically nothing to Microsoft.” In other words, on one hand, we’re changing direction, fast. On the other – $7.2 billion thrown to the winds?

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