Nokia - too little, too late?

10 Feb 2011

Nokia has been hitting the headlines in the past week, but not always for the right reasons. Firstly, speculation in the New York Times about an enhanced alliance with Microsoft (the first was announced back in 2009 but little came of it except that the Microsoft executive involved is now Nokia’s CEO) surprisingly lifted its share price four per cent over four days.

Then came the news that new CEO Stephen Elop, would be dispensing with the services of four of his top executives in a radical shakeup, with more to follow.

Soon after was a report by independent analyst, Asymco, that Nokia had as many people working on it smartphone software as Apple had working on all of its complete product range, around 8,000 people.

All of this news is happening just prior to the release of the company’s plan to turn around its flagging status and sales. Rather cleverly, the news comes out well before the annual PR tsunami that is called the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

However, all of this may be a little too late for a market that appears to have a much stronger appetite for Android and Apple iOS powered smartphones. Symbian simply doesn’t ‘cut the mustard’ and appears to have had its day and no amount of resuscitation is likely to restore its fortunes.

Should Mr Elop choose to form a stronger relationship with his old employers, Microsoft, and adopt the still market unproven Windows Mobile Phone 7 software, the results could be almost as unspectacular as Microsoft’s.

If Palm was able to pluck a handful of Apple trained staff and develop a quite brilliant smartphone operating system for its Pre, prior to acquisition by Hewlett-Packard, then why can’t Nokia with all its experience do the same.

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