Nokia passes Symbian torch to Accenture

As Nokia turns its attention to Windows Phone, it finalizes a deal to transfer 2,800 employees around the world to the consulting firm.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Nokia has finalized an agreement that will see the handset maker outsource Symbian development to global consulting company Accenture.

The deal between the companies was first announced in April, as a follow-on to Nokia's revelation in February that it would focus its efforts on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Accenture will handle Symbian software development and support for Nokia through 2016.

As part of the arrangement, Nokia is transferring approximately 2,800 employees in the U.S., Finland, the U.K., and other countries to the outsourcing firm when the deal closes in October.

Meanwhile, Accenture will also be providing help in the other direction, with the firm becoming "the preferred supplier to Nokia on their transition to Windows Phone," the companies said today. "Accenture will seek opportunities to leverage transferring employee skills and capabilities to provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem participants."

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"As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, we will look to explore potential opportunities to tap this talent pool as they develop and expand their knowledge and capabilities beyond Symbian," Nokia executive vice president for Smart Devices, Jo Harlow said in a statement.

In April, Nokia announced that it will also lay off 4,000 employees by the end of 2012. Most of those cuts will occur in Denmark, Finland, and the U.K.

Nokia's deal with Accenture is the latest chapter in the company's ongoing effort to transition from Symbian to Windows Phone. Nokia and Microsoft announced a partnership in February that will see Windows Phone become the principal operating system in its line of smartphones.

In addition to Windows Phone, Nokia is trying its luck with the Linux-based MeeGo operating system. Just yesterday, it unveiled the latest entry in its flagship N-series smartphones, the N9, which will run MeeGo. That device is expected to launch later this year.

Elsewhere at Nokia, the company announced today that it is integrating its formerly independent Navteq division into its new Location and Commerce business. According to Nokia, the new division will "develop a new class of integrated social location products and services for consumers." It will also offer "platform services and local commerce services" for businesses.

Michael Halbherr, the former head of Nokia's Services business, will lead the new Location and Commerce division starting July 1.