Internal memos are highly sensitive documents, which by their nature should not be seen by the eyes of the wider world. The leak of a 1,300 word memo by Nokia chief, Stephen Elop, starkly proves the point.
Engadget received the full memo yesterday and have since had it confirmed as real by several trusted sources. Snippets of the memo had previously been reported elsewhere and it seems as if they are consistent with what was sent yesterday. The memo opens with an allegory about a man standing on a burning oil platform about to be consumed by the flames. He is faced with a stark choice: being burned alive or jumping 30 metres into the forboding North Atlantic Sea. “The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a "burning platform" caused a radical change in his behaviour. We too, are standing on a "burning platform," and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.”
Stirring stuff from Elop, who was brought in amid a storm of controversy last year as the first non-Finnish head of Nokia. Elop clearly believes that Apple and Android have made huge strides in the past couple of years while Nokia has been standing still. “There is intense heat coming from our competitors. The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.”
Speaking about its own products, Elop says there are “some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia” but things are not happening fast enough. Speaking about MeeGo, he said Nokia believed this could win them a large share of the high-end smartphone market, “however, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.”
Symbian is faring no better according to Elop. “It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms.”
On the financial side of things Elop speaks about rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, who have both indicated they are putting Nokia’s credit ratings on negative credit watch. Not a good sign in anyone’s language. Looking forward, Elop says: “Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem."
This would all seem to point to something major happening this Friday at Nokia’s Strategy Briefing right here in London. Could we be seeing Nokia go into partnership with the likes of Microsoft or even Google? We will be bringing you all the news as it happens this Friday.
Update: It seems as if a tie-up between Nokia and Android is a non-runner following a tweet (below) by Google's Vic Gundotra. He tweeted: "Two turkeys do not make an Eagle" prefaced with a #feb11 hashtag which is the same day as Nokia's Strategic Briefing in London.