Ericsson has announced that it will close its regional research and development laboratory, leaving 450 staff in Melbourne and Sydney looking for work.
Ericsson's AsiaPacificLab developed switch and signalling technology for Ericsson and its customers. Over several decades of innovation, the labs registered more than 75 patents.
The closure was announced following a global reduction in R&D spend by the giant telecommunications equipment manufacturer, which has also closed similar facilities in Germany and Sweden. After a comprehensive review of operations following its second-quarter financial results, Ericsson is culling both R&D efforts and reducing its workforce by around 25 per cent. In Australia, staff cuts have been even more extreme.
"Naturally our staff are extremely disappointed, but we will refocus to complete our current assignments and transfer our responsibilities with the competence and professionalism that has been the hallmark of the organisation for over 20 years," said Ric Clark, managing director of Ericsson AsiaPacificLab.
"It is a sad day for R&D in Australia with no upside except that the local industry will now have access to some of the finest communications and software engineers in the world."