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Nokia shrinks workforce, drops virtual reality business

Nokia is pulling the plug on its OZO virtual reality camera and hardware, just two years after its launch, citing "the slower-than-expected development of the VR market".

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Nokia's OZO multi-camera virtual reality device also sported a hefty price tag that likely only attracted deep-pocketed developers investing in the technology. Image: Milla Vahtila / Yle

Finnish tech firm Nokia is cutting up to 190 jobs in Finland. Altogether the company plans to shrink its workforce by some 310, with redundancies in the US and UK as well. The cuts are in its Nokia Technologies division, which has just over 1,000 employees. The group as a whole has more than 100,000 workers.

Less than 7,000 of those are in Finland, down from a peak of some 25,000 around the turn of the millennium.

Nokia said on Tuesday that the reductions will not affect patent licensing operations, a major source of income especially since it signed a multi-year intellectual property licensing deal with Apple last May, ending a long-running dispute between the two tech giants.

This week, Nokia unveiled a plan whereby Nokia Technologies will focus on digital healthcare services, better exploiting its existing product range.

Much of that results from last year's acquisition of the French firm Withings, which made devices such as scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors and baby monitors.

Nokia aims to boost sales to both consumers and the medical industry.

VR fails to take off

Meanwhile Nokia is pulling the plug on its OZO virtual reality camera and hardware, just two years after its launch.

It cites "the slower-than-expected development of the VR market," adding that it will "reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities."

OZO was the first consumer hardware device launched by Nokia after it sold off its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013. The Nokia brand has since re-entered the phone market with devices manufactured by HMD Global.

OZO originally sported a price tag of $60,000, which was later reduced to around $25,000 – still out of the range of most private individuals.

Over the summer, Nokia announced that it would cut about 170 jobs in its Networks division in Finland.

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