Shareholder mutiny at Nokia not very fair on Elop

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Investors aren’t happy with Nokia’s performance and want a change of direction, but Paul Withers argues the criticism is slightly harsh

If ever there was evidence of how fast our industry changes, look no further than the drama unfolding at Nokia.

The manufacturer looked to be on the road to recovery, but shareholders are not impressed, questioning the tactics used by president and CEO Stephen Elop over the past two years.

Nokia sold 5.6 million Lumia smartphones in Q1, up 27 per cent quarterly, and predicted more growth in Q2.

Elop said Nokia was executing its strategy with urgency and said that people are responding positively to its Lumia portfolio.

However, he still found himself in the firing line from shareholders at Nokia’s AGM in Helsinki earlier this month, who expressed concern his strategy of building Nokia around the Windows Phone 8 operating system was not working. One shareholder said:

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road.”

His absence from the recent global launch of the new Lumia 925 – the firm’s new flagship devices and biggest launch of the year to date – was noticeable.

Whatever the reasons, it’s hard not to defend Elop against some of this criticism. In February 2011, Nokia decided to start using Microsoft’s OS in its smartphones, rather than joining the ever growing list of Android users to retain some form of differentiation.

The move took guts, but shareholders, ultimately, are only interested in safeguarding their investment.

Nokia, and Elop in particular, needs the Lumia 925 to hit the ground running when it goes on sale next month. Anything less than a successful launch will halt Nokia’s progress and increase pressure on Elop from shareholders about continuing in his position.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Every move he has made has been wrong. Ditching the software division was stupid, now there phones are the same as everyone else’s. Focusing on the US market was stupid, most of Nokias mindshare and customer base is elsewhere. Windows phone 7 was stupid, who wants to develop apps for an OS that obsolete within a year.

    What they should have done was stuck to their Qt strategy, and actually executed it. That was the problem at Nokia, lack of focus and delivery, not bad phones.

  2. Nokia should have kept MeeGo.
    Windows sucks and Elop is a Trojan horse.
    Nokia should reunite with Jolla once their Sailfish OS is ready.
    Android sucks as well.
    Blackberry is a good example how well a company could perform with their own OS!

  3. how is it “obvious”? Sales volume is doubling every quarter, WP8 is growing past blackberry. I’ve used it and I like it, it integrates seamlessly with my laptop and desktop and I don’t have to deal with buggy android or proprietary bs from apple. Nokia needs to keep on the road now that lumia is finally starting to bear fruit imho.

  4. Not very fair? It’s always very fair to bash this Microsoft stooge who’s flushing Nokia down the toilet.

    It’s quite obvious that no one wants a Windows phone, and yet the reaction of Elop is equivalent to sticking fingers in one’s ears and shouting ‘la-la-la, I can’t hear you’.

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