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Former SVP says Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has "No...vision"; argues Android isn't open or functional

Once the world's top maker of both smartphones, these days Finland-based phonemaker Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) can only wait and hope for a turnaround.  The company was facing sliding sales and criticism that its smartphone operating system, Symbian, couldn't keep up with the young guns of the mobile world -- Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS. In response, Nokia's board made a bold gamble importing former Microsoft Corp. (MSFTexecutive Stephen Elop as its CEO and allowing him to forge a pact with Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone.  

I. Ex-Nokia Exec "Hates on" Android, Showers Defunct Symbian OS With Praise

While there are some promising signs in terms of hardware and sales of late, the financials to date have been pretty ugly and have called Nokia's decision to ditch Symbian -- or at least how it's executed that plan -- into question.

In a ranting interview with Crave Media, a clearly outraged Lee Williams -- former Nokia SVP of the early Series 60 smartphones (2006-2009) and later Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation (2009-2010) -- vented his frustrations at his former employer's decision to scrap Symbian, which he sees as a big mistake.  He also used the interview as a platform to express some unusual views, attacking the operating system world's top players as incompetent in various ways and arguing that Nokia's Symbian is the ultimate operating system."

Mr. Williams, who now is a partner a SourceBits, a San Francisco mobile consulting firm, comments, "I did not see a good reason to change course [from Symbian] so frantically...I don't think Nokia was going in the wrong direction with some of the things it was doing -- it was simply executing poorly before Elop got there and they weren't giving it enough time.  Symbian was Nokia's cash-cow -- Elop sacrificed it."

Lee Williams

Lee Williams, former Symbian chief, claims Nokia is making a mistake.  He argues that  Microsoft's Windows Phone and Google's Android are losers, and that Symbian is a winner.
[Image Source: World of Phones]

The former Symbian chief argues Nokia would have been better served pledging to primarily support Symbian, but perhaps dabbling in Windows Phone.

He would approve of Nokia going to Microsoft's competitor Google even less, though.  He had harsh words for the world's most used smartphone operating system, which he accuses of not being open and lacking functionality to -- you guessed it -- Symbian.  

He jabs, "Android is a less capable offering than a few options that still exist within Nokia.  It's certainly not what I would refer to as an open system. More than that, I think that Nokia has little opportunity to differentiate here in the near term…"

He bemoans, "Symbian is shipping on around 20 million new units a quarter as of today. When I was at the company it was responsible for seven of 10 of Nokia's highest gross margin products. Think of those volumes. There were dozens of products that shipped in the tens of millions."

II. Microsoft, Nokia CEO Elop, and Nokia Board Chairman Also Get Attacked

The bitter former executive throws dirt on Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8.  After arguing that the new OS won't be a market changer, he attacks Microsoft's general track record, commenting, "[E]verything 'Windows 8' has a big question mark on it right now, and it should be this way.  Microsoft is notoriously late on delivery..."

He accuses Nokia CEO Stephen Elop of ruining the company.  He comments, "As an arm chair quarterback, it is clear to me that [Nokia CEO Stephen] Elop is struggling. The results speak for themselves.  Elop hasn't delivered a roadmap. He's been there for two to three years and there's really no roadmap," says Williams. "There's no overarching vision for this company. That to me is akin to stepping completely out of the leadership role and running behind the bus now."

Symbian Belle
Mr. Williams predicts that Nokia will eventually come back to
Symbian after realizing that it's the best. [Image Source: GizMag]

The issue provokes Mr. Williams so much that he vents about the strategy, stating, "Elop is operating like a CFO [chief financial officer] -- CFOs are very practical, always looking at costs, always internally focused... I don't think he's really projecting anything forward or sitting around with his team imaging what the future looks like. I think it's 's**t (sic) how do I get rid of a third of this overhead in R&D?"

And he's not above crowing about the recent Nokia credit downgrade to junk status, commenting, "Those credit ratings are a huge deal for them.  If they can't borrow and move money -- wow! There's very little for them to do. Because they're the world's largest distributed manufacturer highly dependent on that movement and those credit ratings, and cash and bank."

III. Former Symbian Chief Predicts Nokia Will Come Crawling Back

The controversial analyst predicts that in six months to a year Mr. Elop will be booted and Nokia will undergo a "course correction" "back in the direction of [Symbian]."

While most of Mr. William's vehemence seems to be directed at Nokia it's impressive that he managed to claim that the world's top smartphone OS maker (Google) wasn't putting out a competent product and that the world's top personal computer OS maker (Microsoft) can't make a deadline.

On the one hand Nokia is indeed in a lot of trouble and one has to wonder if there isn't some truth in parts of Mr. Williams' frustrated diatribe.  But at the same time some of his statements make him appear a bit out of touch with the reality that Microsoft and Google are the top dogs in the operating systems industry (along with Apple).  It seems pretty unlikely that Nokia will turn back to the Symbian "burning platform" -- but that won't stop Symbian's ex-director from wishing Nokia would.

Source: Crave Media



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

hmm
By kleinma on 4/26/2012 12:47:42 PM , Rating: 5
bitter much?




RE: hmm
By Gungel on 4/26/2012 1:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like it. I want to hear from him how Nokia would fund future development of Symbian and MeeGo since it made sooo much money for Nokia


RE: hmm
By Ushio01 on 4/26/2012 2:15:12 PM , Rating: 4
Nokia's sales of feature and smartphones were both growing sequentially and year on year up to the 4th quarter 2010.

Then Elop in the first quarter of 2011 called symbian the burning platform and it's been downhill in sales since.

If Elop had said WP7 devices were being added to Nokia's line up fine, instead he slated Nokia's entire portfolio of existing phones and since it's been a catastrophe. Nokia will probably be a Palm by the end of next year.


RE: hmm
By jvillaro on 4/26/2012 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
No... Nokia and Symbian were already declining big time before all that. Let's not get that twisted.
Elop and WP on Nokia devices are the "consecuence" NOT the cause of Nokia's problems


RE: hmm
By sprockkets on 4/26/2012 7:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe if they actually, uh, you know, sold symbian phones in the US, you know, like with att, and did like, market i,t like they did with WP7, maybe, just maybe, that would help.

If by declined you mean, the iphone overtook them, then yes. The solution of taking an unproven platform and sticking all you eggs into that basket is quite retarded.


RE: hmm
By Ushio01 on 4/27/2012 1:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actaully sales of phones were NOT declining only market share was.


RE: hmm
By NellyFromMA on 4/26/2012 3:26:39 PM , Rating: 5
Nah, if Nokia has stayed the Symbian course (btw, do you know ANY average consumer who even know's what Symbian is? Then ask them about any other major player) then they'd be the next Palm.

Now they have a shot at being the next Samsung.


RE: hmm
By corduroygt on 4/26/2012 5:05:29 PM , Rating: 1
For that, they'd need to make Android phones with the newest technology. Not some 480x800 single core phone with a name that evokes prejudice and has no apps.


RE: hmm
By kleinma on 4/26/2012 6:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
I see you know nothing at all about anything. You should have a fun time trying to get through life.


RE: hmm
By cjc1103 on 4/27/2012 8:14:39 AM , Rating: 3
From what I've read, single core WP phones work just fine. Tell me what apps you are running that needs a dual core CPU? Dual core is just the latest hardware buzz word. The hardware and software have to work together on any computer. Android is not as efficient as WP, and needs more resources (CPU and RAM). Dual core CPUs will use more battery, if WP can use a single core CPU efficiently, then that's a plus. Also there are plenty of apps for WP, you obviously have not looked.


RE: hmm
By NellyFromMA on 4/27/2012 10:53:43 AM , Rating: 1
There are a group of Android fans (and I guess also a group of Linux fans) who are strangely ONLY about specs and could care less about actual usage.

Those types definitely not in the majority but you still can't help but notice since they are the loudest....


RE: hmm
By corduroygt on 4/27/2012 2:45:42 PM , Rating: 1
I am an iOS person, but I respect Android. iOS is the Mac but with a huge application advantage vs. Android which is the PC without the huge application catalog (but still very respectable).

Then you get WP7 which is trying to be iOS but failing at it. Over half the apps I use on my iPhone are not available in a WP7 phone.


RE: hmm
By Myrandex on 4/30/2012 3:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
That's funny, I have more apps on my WP7 device than my iPhone. The biggest one I'm missing is my mobile banking app which Chase has said is coming in June or July or so. That will fill a big hole, but I definitely prefer my Lumia on AT&T to my iPhone 4 on Verizon.

And guess what when Android launched there weren't many apps available then. I had one back then too and it wasn't the best experience at all.

Jason


RE: hmm
By Myrandex on 4/30/2012 4:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
Eh yea forgot I also use the Dish app on my iPhone fairly often which I wish would come out on the Windows Phone platform.


RE: hmm
By Gungel on 4/27/2012 12:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
I suggest you go back and look at the sale numbers and losses again.


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