With the really big companies in the smartphone market as dominant as they are, things are hard for the smaller players. And for as true as that is for even significant names like HTC and Motorola, it can be positively overwhelming for nascent upstarts. Jolla sure took on a big challenge when it attempted to introduce not just its alternative Sailfish OS, but also its own hardware that would run the platform. And while so far the company has managed to keep its head above water, public struggles like its delay in shipping the Jolla Tablet have hinted that things may be rockier than we realized. Now it’s becoming more clear just how difficult a position Jolla finds itself in, as the company announces some significant layoffs as it postpones its latest funding round and files for debt restructuring.
That may sound like “bankruptcy” to your ears, and while it’s not quite, it’s clear the company is in a precarious financial situation. Jolla hasn’t been able to attract the level of investment it’s looking for, and while it has some prospects, it needs to tighten the purse-strings for the near future.
Jolla is laying off about half of its current staff, in what it calls a “temporary” measure. Right now it intends to work on adapting Sailfish OS in ways to make it more appealing to potential clients, and once more money starts coming in, the plan seems to be to bring those employees back on.
Right now, though, there are a lot of uncertainties, and while Jolla’s adamant that Sailfish OS will continue, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will do so in a form we’ll recognize. There’s also no word on any hope of future Jolla hardware, and we may be looking at a situation where licensing to other manufacturers becomes the norm.
The story of Jolla and Sailfish OS may not be over, but the company certainly has its work cut out for it as it tries to find a way to keep its dream going.