Nokia CEO Stephen Elop took to the stage on Sunday at Mobile World Congress to detail the company’s new partnership with Microsoft.
Elop fielded a number of questions after a press briefing on Sunday, one of them asking whether Elop was a “trojanhorse” (plant) by Microsoft. “The obvious answer is no. But however, I am very sensitive to the perception and awkwardness of that situation. We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process…everyone on the management team believed this was the right decision. The board of directors reviewed the whole situation…and made the final decision on Thursday night.” said Elop.
Elop was extremely honest and open with the audience in all his answers. One audience member asked Elop about rumors he is the second largest Microsoft shareholder. Elop rubbished the claims, “that would be a very very substantial amount of money which I do not have” he said. Elop didn’t leave it at that though and felt compelled to provide absolute clarify over his Microsoft shares. “As an executive of Microsoft for some number of years I accumulated a very substantial position of Microsoft shares. When I made the move over to Nokia from Microsoft, I was legally prohibited from selling those shares, for the first month or so” he said. Elop went on to explain that as soon as he was allowed to sell shares again he began selling them to bring his position down. Elop also confirmed he has Nokia shares but is legally unable to disclose the figure until later this year.
Elop also revealed that he is putting pressure on Nokia’s marketing manager, Jo Harlow, to deliver a Windows Phone 7 device before the end of 2011. Harlow confirmed her boss (Elop) would be “much happier” if a device shipped before the end of the year. Harlow also revealed a second Nokia Windows Phone 7 device concept image on Sunday. Harlow confirmed that the leaked concept images are genuine and that Nokia want to get a device into people’s hands “soon”.
Microsoft and Nokia both announced a strategic partnership on Friday allowing Nokia to create a range of Windows Phone 7 devices. The announcement came days after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop issued a 1,300 word internal memo to the company’s employees recently spelling. Elop admitted throughout the memo that competitors are doing better and that Nokia’s current ecosystem is a “burning platform”.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also confirmed on Friday that both companies have been working on a Nokia Windows Phone 7. Microsoft and Nokia have both reached out to chip providers and Ballmer claims the company’s will share more information “over the next weeks and months.” Nokia CEO Stephen Elop later confirmed that the company will be able to create a Windows Phone 7 quickly thanks to joint-engineering efforts.
Rumors of a Nokia Windows Phone 7 partnership were rife since Elop’s departure from Microsoft to Nokia in September, 2010. Speculation began when it was reported that Nokia was in talks with Microsoft to 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.