Nokia puts awful news through the spin cycle

June 14, 2012: 1:47 PM ET

The company describes firing thousands and forecasting bad quarters ahead as "sharpening strategy" and "providing updates."

FORTUNE -- We all expect spin from press releases -- that's what they're for. But sometimes they go so far past spin they become worthy of note. Or of mockery. This often happens when a company has appallingly bad news to report. Today, Nokia issued a release to inform its investors that it plans to fire thousands of people and that its losses in future quarters will be horrifyingly bad. Here's the headline Nokia (NOK) chose to break the bad news:

"Nokia sharpens strategy and provides updates to its targets and outlook."

The strategy-sharpening consists mainly of cutting 10,000 jobs. Sharp! And the update-provision consists of the fact that losses will be even worse than had already been forecast.

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In the first paragraph, Nokia says that while it's "planning to significantly reduce its operating expenses," the company "remains focused on the unique experiences offered by its smartphones and feature phones, including an increased emphasis on location-based services."

Smartphones of course are the cause of Nokia's problems. It's being crushed in the marketplace by Apple's iPhone (AAPL) and phones running Google'e Android (GOOG) operating system.

The restructuring also involves firing a bunch of executives. The press release put this as Nokia "making changes to its management team by tapping into the strong leadership bench at the company."

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The truth can be divined by reading through the release, of course, but it's an exhausting process. Toward the bottom, under the heading "Renewed leadership team," we learn which executives are being elevated and which will "step down" from their positions. The number of job cuts is finally cited in paragraph 12. The cuts are described as part of Nokia's strategy of "[b]alancing its investment priorities."

In a tweet this morning, Troy Wolverton, personal technology columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, described the release as "an amazing collection of Orwellian doublespeak." There's plenty more there for fans of that sort of thing. For people who need to know what's actually happening at Nokia, there are hundreds of clearly written news stories just a click away. Those who simply want the gist could simply look at the stock price, which at this writing was down by more than 16%.

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