Leaked Nokia CEO memo fuels further Windows Phone 7 talk

By Tom Warren, on 9th Feb 11 4:45 pm with 5 Comments

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop issued a 1,300 word internal memo to the company’s employees recently.

The memo was leaked to Engadget on Tuesday and shows that Elop is planning to shake things up majorly at Nokia. Elop’s message is one of honesty. He admits throughout the memo that competitors are doing better and that Nokia’s current ecosystem is a “burning platform”.

Engadget has summarized a number of the key quotes, for the full memo see Engadget’s article:

  • “…there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.”
  • “They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.”
  • “Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.”
  • “We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.”
  • “…Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements…”
  • “Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem.”
  • “We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning.”

Rumors of a Nokia Windows Phone 7 partnership have been rife since Elop’s departure from Microsoft to Nokia in September, 2010. Speculation also began when it was reported that Nokia was in talks with Microsoftto look at offering Windows Phone 7 devices. The talks were kick started by Nokia’s new management. Stephen Elop, ex-Microsoft employee, joined Nokia last year as the company’s CEO. Elop admitted, during an earnings call last month, that Nokia needed to join a competitive ecosystem. “In addition to great device experiences, we must build, capitalize and/or join a competitive ecosystem,” said Elop.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Nokia has dropped development of its first MeeGo powered device before its launch. Two industry sources close to the company reportedly claimed that Nokia has ended development for MeeGo, mirroring Elop’s MeeGo concerns.

Investment analyst, Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank, wrote to Microsoft and Nokia recently, urging them to partner for Windows Phone 7 handsets. Ahmad issued a note with his recommendations for Microsoft, asking for an exclusive deal with Nokia to improve its U.S. market share. Ahmad also recommends that Nokia pushes its Symbian solutions into the low-to-mid-range smartphone market “as quickly as possible”. WinRumors understands that both Elop and Ballmer have been discussing Windows Phone 7 devices for a number of months after Elop’s Microsoft departure. It’s unclear whether these talks have progressed into a full decision but one source claims that Nokia is ready to drop meego and adopt Windows Phone 7 as its high-endsmartphone operating system. The transition would not kill off Nokia’s Symbian range but simply re-align them as low and mid-range devices.

Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, is expected to unveil Nokia’s new company strategy on Friday February 11.

Nokia Windows Phone 7 mock up

  • http://techvirtuoso.com Michael Stanclift

    It seems like they would be best served to build both Windows Phone and Android phones. I’m sure they have a lot of creative talent that would be helpful towards moving Android forward, and they’ve always had pretty solid devices. It seems like jumping into bed exclusively with Microsoft would end up hurting them a lot in the end if Windows Phone doesn’t really take off.

    • Anonymous

      nah, they won’t want to be just another hardware company, they want to be part of the ecosystem. This may be a “1st tier phone” – a position MS doesn’t already have filled and google does. (google nexus…) They also have a lot of software they could bring to the WP7 ecosystem that android already has. Better to be the leader than just another name in a saturated market

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      Yep, Ovi Maps for one. WP7 sorely needs a navigation application and Maps comes free with Nokia phones. Plus using WP7 frees them from having to dive into software development to skin android and they can concentrate on producing great hardware designs like the E7.

  • GP007

    I don’t think they’ll do Android since they have money and people invested in MeeGo. I actually think if they want to get off of Symbian then a WP7 + MeeGo combo is the way to go probably.

  • http://twitter.com/StefEBear Stefan Greenwood

    If MS and Nokia do partner up, I’d expect some very nice hardware for the top Smartphones
    and yes Ovi Maps as well would be nice, along with the other special Apps that Nokia could included.
    They’ll still of course use their own stuff for the dumb/feature phones. :)