Sony Ericsson cuts Swedish staff by 400

The layoffs are part of plan to can 2,000 employees by mid-2010

Mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson will reduce its workforce by about 400 people in Lund, Sweden, cutting 160 employees and 250 consultants, the company announced on Friday.

The site in Lund had a workforce of about 4,000, including 1,000 consultants, before the cuts, according to a spokesman. One hundred consultants were already shown the door in April, a statement said.

The cutbacks are part of a plan to lower its global workforce by approximately 2,000 people - out of a total 10,000 - by the middle of next year.

The plan was announced on April 17, when the company announced its results for the first quarter of 2009.

The results showed sales had dropped to 14.5 million phones, compared to 22.3 million phones sold in the same period last year.

The most recent figures are also a 40 percent drop compared to the last three months of 2008. The company is now the fifth-largest mobile vendor; Motorola ascended to the fourth spot from fifth.

The coming months will be important for Sony Ericsson. On May 28, it will detail its Idou smartphone, which was previewed at Mobile World Congress in February.

The company did then say that the Idou will come equipped with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a 12.1-megapixel camera with a Xenon flash. A lack of smartphones is part of the company's current woes.

Also in June, the W995 will go on sale. The device is a phone that looks to combine the company's prowess in both camera and music phones.

The phone comes with an 8.1-megapixel camera, support for Assisted GPS and a range of music features, including a 3.5mm audio jack. It surfs the using either Wi-Fi or HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access).

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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