In a recent internal missive to senior executives of Nokia, that was ‘leaked’ to the wider public, the new Chief Executive, compared Nokia to that of a ‘burning platform’ fuelled further by its own adequacies:
‘We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.”
We all appreciate frankness and plain-speaking and it’s good to ‘lay your cards’ on the table, but conveniently for Mr.Elop as he has only recently joined Nokia from Microsoft he is able to lay the blame for Nokia’s failings on his predecessors and incumbents. Now is this the right way to motivate and encourage a business that has been at the forefront of mobile technology for many years and still holds a deep affinity with the wider general public as the mobile phone of choice? Well several arguments laid down by Lucy Kellaway of the FT actually suggest yes honesty is the best policy in this case, though ‘bravest’ leaders admit to not only the burning platform, but being the ones who started it. (Talk like a loser and you might win - FT)
With the new strategic battle lines being outlined by Nokia it will be interesting to see how Mr Elop sees the way forward. A merger may be the only viable route to catch-up in a market that never slows down and could this see Nokia becoming another Google tool in their quest for world domination?
The deal... Feb 11th
In a move that has effectively taken over $7 billion dollars off the market value of Nokia in two days and threatens over 6000 Finnish jobs, a deal with Microsoft has been struck to make the Windows Phone 7 its primary mobile-phone platform, replacing its home-grown Symbian. Analysts and industry professionals are debating the wisdom of moving to a platform that is significantly behind its rivals, however there is also the flip side, which is what alternative did Nokia really have?
Now it will be Elop’s rhetoric that he hopes will galvanise Nokia behind the Microsoft deal to ensure long term stability, with the short-term gains very much taking a back seat. There will be many Symbian developers within the Nokia ranks who will also need to be quelled and cajouled down the Microsoft route as Elop drives his vision of the business forward.
Nokia is definitely one to watch this year with Elop in full voice, even if its competitors don’t think so... with Motorola describing the alliance as almost ‘a non-event’. Microsoft tie-up
Read the internal memo in full: