Nokia is planning a major shakeup in its strategy and executive lineup, one that could see the phone maker at least partially adopt Windows Phone 7 or Android.
change-up could involve a seismic shift among its management team. That comes
courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, as the rumor mill buzzes over whether the
Finnish company will adopt Windows Phone 7 as an operating system for its
According to the Journal's Feb. 7 report
"several senior Nokia managers are expected to leave the company" in the near
term. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, formerly president of Microsoft's Business
Division, has set Feb. 11 as the date to reveal the company's business
build, catalyze or join a competitive ecosystem," Elop said during a Jan. 27
earnings call, kicking off a good deal of speculation. "We [are] very clearly
ensuring that it will give us the opportunity to reopen markets such as the
U.S. and some others where we have not recently been present."
At least one
analyst has been poking Nokia and Microsoft to form an alliance over Windows
Phone 7, which hit the U.S. market in early November.
In a Jan. 31 letter
addressed rather familiarly
to "Stephen (Nokia CEO) and Steve (Microsoft CEO)," Berenberg Bank analyst
Adnaan Ahmad suggested Microsoft's software platform on Nokia phones would
provide mutual benefit to both companies: "You get access to their WP7
intellectual property (IPR) scot-free and access to the U.S. market where your
share has dived to the low single-digit level, and in doing [so] cut your bloated
handset business R&D budget."
Nokia already have something of a partnership extending back to August 2009,
when the two companies announced that mobile versions of Microsoft Office would
come preloaded on Nokia smartphones. At that time, Nokia also began work on
optimizing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for its devices, allowing for more
streamlined access to e-mail and personal information.
companies feeling pressured by the combined weight of Apple's iPhone and the
growing family of Google Android devices, the time could very well come to
elevate that relationship to a new level. According to one analyst, such a
boosted alliance offers some advantages.
competition is fierce, and companies like Samsung and LG [Electronics] have
made enormous gains on the device side by being agnostic and opportunistic," Al
Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 20 e-mail to eWEEK. Nokia's quest
to "leverage smartphone device economics," he added, will eventually mean
"coming to terms with Android and Windows Phone 7."
feel that Nokia's path to salvation lies with Android.
Android-based smartphone, analyst Jack Gold recently suggested, would allow
Nokia "to get to market very quickly with a line of compelling smartphone devices
that are competitive while giving current Nokia users a migration path with a
familiar UI paradigm."
But Nokia may
not have much time. The company's most recent earnings report placed its
quarterly profits at $1.02 billion, a year-over-year decline of 21 percent,
along with an eroding share of the smartphone market. Nokia is unlikely to
disappear anytime soon, but it nonetheless faces competition akin to an existential
threat from Apple, Google and the latter's manufacturing partners.