Nokia CTO on extended break

10 Jun 2011

Reports that Nokia’s chief technology officer won’t return from a leave of absence are easy to swallow.

Rich Green is one of the driving forces behind the firm’s MeeGo operating system and was quick to issue assurances that platform and its long-established Symbian software wouldn’t fall by the wayside as a result of Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft.

He was also quick to go on record as being disappointed the firm had chosen an external partner, at a point when it was apparently finalizing the launch of its first MeeGo device, and when Green estimated Symbian was good for another 150 million shipments this year.

Now Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat cites two sources who say the CTO is unlikely to return from long leave period, which it says Nokia has confirmed he took for “personal reasons”.

It’s not hard to surmise that those ‘reasons’ are discontentment at the direction Nokia is going in terms of software. First it ditched MeeGo, and then it farmed out Symbian development to Accenture – hinting along the way it could drop the platform entirely once Windows Phone 7 becomes established as its de-facto operating system.

The man who rightly predicted Nokia’s tie-up with Microsoft - Russian analyst Eldar Murtazin - speculates Green’s departure is, indeed, due to disagreements over its software strategy, and issued an ominous warning via Twitter that it is “only the beginning” of the bad news for Nokia.

In a week when the firm has been batting off rumors the ‘for sale’ sign has been hung out after credit agency Fitch cut its rating to one rung above junk status, you wonder how much worse the news can get.

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