Nokia CTO Takes Leave Of Absence After MeeGo Clash

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In a clear sign of the upheaval currently racking Nokia, it emerged that its CTO has taken a leave of absence

The turmoil Nokia is facing at the moment has become more evident after it emerged that its CTO has taken a leave of absence, amid media reports of strategy disagreements.

Nokia has confirmed that its chief technology officer, 55 year old Richard Green, has taken leave of absence. However the his departure is attributed to varying reasons.

Medical Leave or Strategy Disagreement?

Nokia told Daily Mobile that Green was taking a medical leave of absence.

“Rich Green is taking a medical leave of absence. During this time Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, will be the acting CTO,” Nokia spokesman Tomi Kuuppelomaki told the website in an email.

However according to the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Green is departing and is unlikely to return because of differences of opinion over Nokia’s strategy.

“According to information obtained by Helsingin Sanomat from two independent sources, Green will remain absent at least until the end of the year, and will most likely not return to Nokia, owing to fundamental differences of opinion over the company’s strategy,” the newspaper said.

MeeGo Clashes

Green is acknowledged as something of a software expert within Nokia, having previously worked at Sun Microsystems.

However the Finnish newspaper states that Green was unhappy with the decision to abandon the MeeGo operating system Nokia had been jointly developing with Intel. It is thought that Green was pushing for the ongoing development of the open source operating system.

Stephen Elop announced the decision in February that Nokia was to use Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone platform, and begin to wind down Symbian in an effort to better compete with the intense competition posed by Android and Apple iOS-based handsets.

Troubled Times

Only last week Nokia warned that its second-quarter mobile phone sales would be substantially below a previous forecast. Nokia also abandoned its full-year outlook, blaming tough competition in China and Europe.

It is fair to say that the decision by Elop, formerly president of Microsoft’s Business Division, to opt for his former employer’s mobile operating system was not universally popular, especially when it emerged that Microsoft was paying billions to Nokia and that it would also mean substantial job losses at the handset maker.

Elop himself had to face down a shareholder revolt, and since he joined the Finnish handset maker, after the ousting of former chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Elop has had to contend with some fairly major management figures leaving the company.

In October Ari Jaaksi, who was head of Nokia’s MeeGo Linux mobile operating system unit, announced his resignation.

Other notable departures include Nokia’s chairman, Jorma Ollila, who in September announced his decision to step down.

And Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president responsible for smartphones, announced in mid September that he was leaving the company.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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