LONDON--It is hard to ignore the paradox at Nokia's global partner and developer conference: the company sells more smartphones than anyone else in the industry but is fighting for its life.
Nokia executives speaking here Tuesday at Nokia World 2010 didn't try to dismiss the years of trouble that culminated last week in the hiring of Microsoft's Stephen Elop as its new chief executive. Nokia's management is facing Apple's and Google's economic might, brand power, and sudden relevance in the mobile phone market that Nokia once dominated.
With words that were at times defiant, defensive, and strident, though, three Nokia leaders tried to show a new assertiveness to the programmers and mobile phone service providers that the company needs as allies.
"We haven't been as competitive as we want to be in smartphones. That's about to change," said Niklas Savender, Nokia's executive vice president of sales. "Today, we shift into high gear in Nokia's fight back in smartphone leadership."
It's a time of turmoil for Nokia. Chairman Jorma Ollila plans to leave in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. That's on top of last week's announcement of Elop replacing CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and Monday's announcement that mobile solutions chief Anssi Vanjoki is stepping down.
To recover its position, Nokia is trying to capitalize on the large number of Nokia phones in circulation today--not just smartphones but the more modest and widespread "feature phones," which fit midway between smartphones and basic cell phones. The company is pitching its wares to ordinary people, the folks far from Silicon Valley's technophilic bubble. … Read more