Nokia Investors Ask Chief Exec to Change Company’s Direction

Stephen Elop Insists on Windows Phone as Investors Doubt Success

by Anton Shilov
05/08/2013 | 08:40 PM

Investors of Nokia Corp. doubt that Lumia smartphones based on Windows Phone operating system (OS) will be able to turn the company around and return it to the position of a top smartphone vendor it once was. However, the management of Nokia wants to stick to Windows Phone platform and does not seem to have any plans to release smartphones based on any other OS.

 

"You are a nice guy […] and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it is not enough. Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road,” said Hannu Virtanen, a Nokia shareholder, at the annual general meeting in Helsinki, Finland, while addressing Stephen Elop, reports Reuters news-agency.

The transition to Windows Phone from Nokia's own Symbian system announced in 2011 was meant to take two years. The period is now over, the transition is nearly complete, but the actual sales of Lumia handsets are well below those of Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S and other leading-edge smartphones. Moreover, as sales of smartphones are growing globally, sales of Nokia smartphones are getting lower. To make the matters even worse, it does not seem that traditional Nokia customers are transiting to Windows Phone from Symbian.

The executive team of Nokia does not seem to have any plans regarding Google Android operating system, which is the No.1 smartphone OS on the planet. As it appears, there is now no any “plan B”.

"We make adjustments as we go. But it is very clear to us that in today's war of ecosystems, we have made a very clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line. And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and (Google's operating system) Android,” said Stephen Elop, chief exec of Nokia, at the conference.

Nokia shares are now trading at €2.72, a fraction of their €65 peak in 2000, when Nokia was the absolute leader in mobile phones. Asked why they still held Nokia stock despite poor financial results and a pause in yearly dividends, some older attendants at the AGM [annual general meeting] acknowledged to being sentimental about a firm that symbolized Finland's rebirth after the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, its main trading partner.

"[Nokia’s] best chance of success is not going head to head with Apple. We think it will be in the mid-range. That's $300 rather than the $600 models. That's where customers in emerging markets and first-time buyers will be looking,” said Brian Colello, an analyst with Morningstar.