When Microsoft’s vendor partners shipped their first Windows Phone 7 devices last year, they hardly seemed to back up the launches with the kind of marketing efforts that might position the platform to succeed against established rivals like Android and iOS. Reportedly, “secret shoppers” from Microsoft have since been snooping in stores and discovering that sales staff were largely uneducated about the platform, often confusing it with the older Windows Mobile operating system. The Redmond-based company is trying a different tactic for its new Windows Phone Mango devices, however. In preparation for the upcoming release, Microsoft and HTC are training “hundreds” of sales staff on to use and sell the platform, head of Windows Phone marketing at Microsoft Achim Berg recently told Bloomberg. In addition, the company will also put more effort into its marketing campaigns according to the report. Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone Mango operating system is expected to be deployed to Windows Phone devices this fall alongside the release of a new batch of Mango smartphones. More →
Hon Hai-owned manufacturing giant Foxconn intends to release a portion of its workforce in favor of 1 million new robot workers according to a new report. Xinhua News Agency said on Friday that Hon Hai chairman and founder Terry Gou confirmed the news, seemingly in callous fashion at an employee dance party. The new robots will be used to perform “simple and routine work” such as part assembly and welding. Foxconn currently employs approximately 1.2 million people and also utilizes 10,000 robots. According to the chairman’s reported comments, the number of robot workers will increase to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years. It is unclear how much of Foxconn’s current workforce will be let go following the introduction of these new robots. Foxconn’s treatment of its workforce has garnered a great amount of attention following a string of employee suicides. More →
A report filed by Bloomberg paints a grim picture for Nokia Oyj workers the world over. With an announced and looming restructuring in the works, the publication writes that “a reduction in research and development activities is set to be announced by the end of the month” and that “as many as 6,000 jobs” could be cut. Back in February — just days before Mobile World Congress — the company’s new CEO, Stephen Elop, announced that Nokia would adopt Microsoft’s recently released Windows Phone operating system on future smartphones. The announcement also noted that the company would begin to sunset development, support, and research activities centered around the Symbian and MeeGo operating systems — the two mobile operating systems currently utilized by Nokia phones. This reduction in activity translates into a surplus of unneeded, full-time job positions. At the close of 2010, Nokia employed 58,642 people in its handset organisation — 16,134 work in research and development. The company has over 16,000 workers located in Finland, and accounts for just north of 2% of that country’s total gross domestic product.