Sony Ericsson to close RTP site

Posted November 18, 2009
Updated November 19, 2009

— Mobile phone handset maker Sony Ericsson announced Wednesday that it will close its operation in Research Triangle Park, eliminating 420 jobs.

Officials didn't provide a date for the closure of the plant, which served as its North American headquarters and research operation, but they said the move would occur by the middle of next year. Seattle; Miami; San Diego; Kista, Sweden; and Chennai, India.

Sony Ericsson sign Layoffs latest to hit RTP area

Sony Ericsson will move its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta, and its R&D unit will be shifted to California, officials said during an employee meeting Wednesday morning.

Officials said some people will be offered jobs at the new sites, but it's unclear how many will move.

"At the end of the day, we have to keep creating and keeping our jobs here," Gov. Beverly Perdue said. "I can't afford to lose companies – none of us can – and we have to work harder and more aggressively on creating jobs."

The shutdown is the latest blow for the joint venture between Swedish communications company LM Ericsson and Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. A year ago, it eliminated 450 RTP jobs as part of 2,000 layoffs company wide.

The current round of cuts also is expected to be about 2,000 company wide, officials said.

“This cost reduction program is to increase efficiency company wide and help us remain agile,” spokeswoman Stacy Doster said.

Sony Ericsson lost $245 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, as its sales fell more than 40 percent, to $2.4 billion. Still, the company was able to line up $676 million in financing to strengthen its balance sheet.

The company is the sixth to lay off workers in RTP this year, according to information from the state Employment Security Commission. Others include IBM Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and NetApp Inc.

Morrisville, which abuts the research park, has had nine companies, including computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd., close or lay off employees this year, according to ESC records.

Meanwhile, 600 people lost their jobs Wednesday at the Dell Inc. computer plant in Winston-Salem. The company announced last month that it would close the 4-year-old plant and lay off all 900 workers by January.

"We need to help the folks who've lost jobs, who are losing jobs before the holiday season, (to) get into other work force opportunities," Perdue said.


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  • hereinone Nov 24, 2009

    And to the earlier poster, who said "At least they are keeping the jobs in the US!" and Mako II...They are cutting jobs, not keeping jobs. End of story. SE may relocate a small number of people to other sites, but they are definitely not creating new jobs in the US. In fact, much of SE's operations have already been moved to China in the past few years, and the few sites that will remain in the United States will be more expensive to operate and maintain than the one in RTP.

    All the political commentary on this article is ridiculous. Sony Ericsson is a company with an upper management that has continuously made seriously flawed decisions repeatedly, and that's really all there is to it. This was a fast tracked, poorly considered plan to show their major lender that they were cutting costs. They have no plan in place for themselves and they're scrambling to figure this out.

  • hereinone Nov 24, 2009

    RandolphBloke, it's clear that you aren't particularly knowledgeable about the operations at the RTP site. It's not a manufacturing plant. They don't manufacture the phones in RTP. Also, you think the engineers are solely responsible for the user interface? That's not how the development process works.

    "I believe some will be relocated if they choose to do so."

    Why, because you read the article where it said "some people will be offered jobs at the new sites, but it's unclear how many will move?" Way to state the "facts" to someone who works at Sony Ericsson (and was actually in the company meeting) exactly what they've already been told are a asset to this board. Key words in that sentence are "some people." Those at Sony Ericsson don't have much of a "choice"'s not expected that many employees will be offered relocation. Those who are offered relocation, may not be able to relocate from this area. Those folks will not be getting severance.

  • conscitizen Nov 19, 2009

    Mako - just to correct one thing you stated - Sony Ericsson is eliminating 2000 jobs worldwide, including most in RTP. There will be a few job transfers from RTP to other sites, but most are to be eliminated. This is not just a "Move" of jobs.

  • MakoII Nov 19, 2009

    The reason the Government doesn't seem to have "built" jobs is because they government isn't directly employing people. It's trying to stimulate the economy, so that Private employers will hire.

    You CAN take what, 700 Billion, employ 23 million at a 30k salary for 1 year. Then what?

    Or you can use it to fund projects that have no permanent effect.

    OR you can fund project that have long term effects, like construction.

    You COULD do nothing. Which was done and analyzed (1929-1933 period) and most economists said that you should SPEND and SPEND SOONER rather than later. Obama is following what most economists have advocated.

    But let's face it, if THAT is your take, spending nothing, then you wouldn't BE a Republican or Conservative, really.

    Because I've ONLY seen ardent Repub. and Cons. support for Reagan, Bush41, Bush43 who DEFINE big government & big spending.

    If I didn't know better, I'd think Obama would be YOUR man, for continuing this Republican tradition.

  • MakoII Nov 19, 2009


    I don't think there's an argument over there being a cycle. I think the issue is how steep that cycle can be.

    The regulations put in place in the 30's definitely had a superb effect on the markets. Because you look before them, and the huge swings and constantly disruptive recessions were pebbled throughout our first half as a country.

    Since then, recessions have been very shallow, and there's been ZERO depressions.

    It wouldn't make sense to think you CAN'T influence the steepness of a cycle.

    BUT, if as you say, it would ALL happen as part of a cycle, and isn't therefore controllable via the government, nor the President.

    Then you will equivically say in your next post:

    "Obama is not to blame for the lost Jobs in America, nor the continuation or formation of any recession!" -TarheelsDontLikeEdwards


    If you won't say that, then you don't believe what you said in your last post.

  • chargernut69 Nov 19, 2009

    Sorry to hear about this.... it's aways the employees that get the raw deal!

    Sorry, but I don't think Bev Perdue has a clue about how to keep jobs in NC!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 19, 2009

    "Obama was clearly wrong on his prediction. But almost EVERY economist was RIGHT. BUT, Economist SAID we'd be in a Depression and the "Economic Stimulus" did just what it SAYS it is. STIMULATED the ECONOMY. We're not 2 quarters of positive growth, yes?"

    Economy's have natural cycles. During recessions the economy goes down and then it comes back up. No amount of government intervention changes this cycle. The economy is recovering because of the natural cycle, not what obama's failed stimulus bill did or didn't do for the economy.

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Nov 19, 2009

    Obama will be known as the president that kept putting us deeper and deeper into misery.

  • MakoII Nov 19, 2009


    Obama was clearly wrong on his prediction. But almost EVERY economist was RIGHT. BUT, Economist SAID we'd be in a Depression and the "Economic Stimulus" did just what it SAYS it is. STIMULATED the ECONOMY. We're not 2 quarters of positive growth, yes?

    Obama isn't Always right, or Always wrong.

    Now why don't YOU admit that it is the PRIVATE sector that is RESPONSIBLE for CREATING jobs, and is NOW "Responsible" for CUTTING jobs!

    You whine about how great the private sector is. But THEY have created that poor job market. Only THEY can END it, unless you're advocating a large-scale Government run Jobs Program.

    Is that what you want? Government Jobs? Or Private Sector jobs?

    If you want PRIVATE, then stop blaming the gov or Obama for it.

    BTW, 250B of that stimulus will never be spent. Fiscally Good.

    And what came to NC, the LARGEST portion went to the NATIONAL GUARD!!!

    Is that a "Liberal" thing? (most else to infrastructure, roads)

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 19, 2009

    "The company states they were making the move months ago. That means the decision was being made months before that. Before Obama was President."

    MakoII, you were able to defend your savior the great messiah on this one.

    Bet you can't defend him so easily on the other job losses that are now pushing 10.2% unemployment and higher.

    Didn't your messiah Obama promise that if Congress passed his pork barrel spending bill that masqueraded as a stimulus bill without reading it, that unemployment wouldn't exceed 8.5 %.

    If the stimulus bill had actually helped the economy instead of paying for the Democrats in Congress pork barrel projects, unemployment would be going down.

    No matter what Obama says about inheriting the economy, it became his when the stimulus bill passed.

    Unfortunately, Obama won't take responsibility for his actions and blames his problems on others.