Nokia Considers Windows Phone 7, As Vanjoki Lets Rip

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Could new boss Stephen Elop bring the Windows Phone 7 OS with him from Microsoft for future Nokia phones?

The new boss of Nokia, former Microsoft manager Stephen Elop, is reportedly considering running Windows Phone 7 on the Finnish giant’s smartphone handsets, in a move that will surely raise a few eyebrows around the world.

Up until 20 September, Elop was a part of Microsoft’s senior management team responsible for group strategy, but he was appointed to the top position within Nokia after its former chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was ousted. Kallasvuo’s departure had been predicted for a while.

Elop was brought in to reinvigorate Nokia’s smartphone business which is still the world’s largest, but is losing share to Apple and Android-based systems.

Windows Phone 7

And now according to Venture Beat, one of the most surprising moves is that he is considering the adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. This is apparently according to ‘trusted sources’ close to Nokia, who spoke to VentureBeat.

Nokia has publicly dismissed reports that it plans to adopt Microsoft Windows Phone 7, telling Bloomberg that its software platforms are Series 40, Symbian and MeeGo, and it’s not planning to add others.

“This stance was strongly reinforced by our management during Nokia World, and we have no plans to use other operating systems,” spokesman Leo McKay told Bloomberg by text message, in response the VentureBeat report.

However VentureBeat was unrepentant. “Update: Nokia disagrees with our report. However, we have two additional sources which agree with it,” it said.

Nokia Disarray

There is little doubt that Nokia’s platform strategy is in disarray at the moment. It publicly stated that it was going to drop Symbian^3 OS from its flagship N range handsets, but then seemed to backtrack on this. And Nokia continues to work on the open-source MeeGo operating system in conjunction with chip giant Intel, although it has yet to appear on any Nokia handsets.

Meanwhile, a fasincating insight into the upper management at Nokia was provided by Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president responsible for smartphones, who in mid September announced he would leave the company in six months time.

His departure came hot on the heels of the hiring of Stephen Elop who replaces former CEO Oli-Pekka Kalasvuo. Subsequently Nokia’s chairman, Jorma Ollila also announced his decision to step down. And UK boss Mark Loughran also announced his resignation.

Vanjoki Lets Rip

In surprisingly frank comments, Vanjoki explained why he was leaving Nokia, and admitted that the key reason was because “I didn’t become CEO”.

“I didn’t become the CEO. It is as simple as that,” Vanjoki said, speaking to the Wall Street Journal at the Nokia World event in London, when asked why he resigned.

“You know who the guy is it’s not you…so what do you do, you stay or you leave. I decided to leave,” the 54-year-old executive said.

Vanjoki blamed Nokia’s problems on two things. The first was the fact that Nokia didn’t have the right operating system to compete with Google and Apple, which he calls a “niche player.”

Peeing Your Pants

Nokia’s OS of choice till now has been Symbian, despite its user interface which is often criticised for being clunky. Vanjoki told the WSJ that he doesn’t regret sticking with the open source operating system.

And Vanjoki was pretty scathing of Android after he likens manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC, who are firmly in the Android camp, to young, experienced boys in Finland, who “pee in the pants” to keep warm in the winter. He felt that this strategy is a temporary fix for growth but it will only hurt their brand later.

“First it gives you a warm feeling, but boy is it cold after that,” he said.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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