I don't really agree with you that it is the new norm, but the general point I am making is that, whatever they are focusing on, firing employees just because they "change focus" is a sign of inept management. These employees aren't robots -- they can do a wide range of things.
It is obviously a move designed to ensure the man at the top keeps his job, pathetic but goes on in the corporate #$%$ environment all the time across a variety of professions. This is one of the reasons I love small indie developers. However, they might be looking for people with more mobile coding and designing experience. The people they laid off can usually pick up new jobs very quickly.
Whenever a company acquires another, there is job duplication. Just because they have let some people go doesn't in any means that it was their talent. EA can do POPCAP's accounting, marketing, distribution, support, etc. it doesn't mean they let go one creative talent.