The Resignations

It doesn't take a genius to realise profits falling from 8bn euros in 2008 to 1bn euros in 2010 and market share dropping from 40 per cent to 33 per cent over the same timeframe illustrate a major problem, so out have gone CEO and 30 year Nokia veteran Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (left) and head of mobile solutions Anssi Vanjoki (middle) while chairman of 14 years Jorma Ollila (right) has announced he will step down in 2012. The surprise here is Vanjoki since he only took role in July and used his second day in the job to pen a passionate blog post entitled The fightback starts now in which he declared: "I am committed, perhaps even obsessed, with getting Nokia back to being number one in high-end devices".

Instead the new Nokia poster boy for change will be Stephen Elop, Microsoft's business division president and the first non-Finn to take the helm. Questions are already being asked of the appointment (why the business head, not the mobile head? Why is Microsoft's mobile record one to follow? Why not poach from Google, or Apple as Palm did when creating webOS?), but his first act has been commendable: announcing a $1m developer prize to try and stimulate the Ovi Store's collection of apps. Hopefully this software focus will continue because Nokia's problem has never been its hardware.

Another reason to be cheerful is Nokia's burgeoning relationship with Intel. It could be argued that teaming Nokia with Intel in the phone space is like the blind leading the blind, but while Symbian has struggled to keep pace with rival platforms MeeGo smacks of genuine promise and between the two companies they won't be short of marketing money. Nokia can also take heart from Motorola which has done a fantastic job of turning its fortunes around after replacing its CEO, admitting its software wasn't up to snuff, switching to Android and refocusing on what it does best: making phones.


On the flip side there are warning scare stories for those who don't get their OSes in order, namely Sony Ericsson and LG. The former having endured catastrophic financial results and product recalls, while the latter has at least begun to take action after its CEO Nam Yong resigned yesterday over poor phone sales.

When I asked in July 'What's Going Wrong At Nokia?' I suggested the company must now decide whether it wanted to be involved in the smartphone sector or not. After all it remains a master of pushing low margin, high volume handsets - it really doesn't need the stress. Two months on, however, I would argue Nokia has taken an even more fundamental step: it has embarked upon the most radical top down executive change in its history. Only time will tell if it made the right changes, but it would take a cold heart not to wish it well...

comments powered by Disqus