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If the theme for IT in 2009 is to do more with less, Nokia has certainly taken that message to heart, with plans to expand its use of third party developers and partners while cutting back its own workforce.

Mobile phone handset maker Nokia signaled a shift in strategy Tuesday by expanding its third party application distribution in an effort to encourage third party developers and partners while at the same time simplifying the end-user experience. Nokia’s services unit says it will now make all mobile games available through its Ovi store in addition to existing channels.

The plan will help Nokia realize cost efficiencies. Those efficiencies, together with a plan to streamline internal IT and Compatibility and Industry Collaboration activities will mean layoffs for 450 Nokia employees around the world, the company says. 

"The planned changes are aimed at improving and simplifying the user experience of Nokia services, increasing opportunities for third party developers and other partners to create compelling services, and accelerating the development of a common platform for Nokia’s different service offerings," says Niklas Savander, executive vice president of Services at Nokia, in a formal statement issued by the company.  "We believe this will create a better experience for Nokia’s millions of customers and spur opportunities for game developers," Savander adds.

Nokia’s plans also call for adding more third party partners, including social networking sites, to the image capture and sharing features on its devices.