Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Nokia axes employees to refocus business, stops OZO VR camera development

Nokia Technologies is to slash its workforce by nearly a third as it refocuses its efforts towards technology licensing and digital health rather than virtual reality.

OZO was the first consumer hardware device launched by Nokia after it sold off its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013. The filmmakers Nokia targeted with OZO can't yet justify the cost and complexity of creating VR content. Nokia said it will continue to honour its commitments to existing OZO customers.

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On Tuesday, the Helsinki, Finland-based firm said up to 310 out of roughly 1090 employees in Nokia Technologies will be impacted, and staff levels will be reduced mainly in Finland, the U.S., and the UK.

It's turn away from VR comes amid the predicted growth in the industry.

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It cites "the slower-than-expected development of the VR market", adding that it will "reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities". This means Nokia will discontinue its hitherto unsuccessful VR unit. That's a not-inconsiderable chunk of Nokia Technologies's staff, either, which now numbers around 1,090. The company said it has invited employee representations from its Finland business to engage in cooperation negotiations.

Nokia plans to stop developing its Ozo virtual reality camera, a move that will result in 310 lost jobs. Nokia is clearly betting that it can reap the rewards of a digital health market that may be maturing more quickly but also faces serious challenges of its own. At the same time Nokia Technologies says it will keep growing brand and technology licensing while leaving its patent licensing business untouched.

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