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But it's unclear if ditching WinPhone would fix Nokia's deep issues

Magnus Rehle, a senior partner at telecom advising firm Greenwich Consulting, tells Reuters in an interview, "Elop has not been able to attract customers and that is what counts. You can say that he has not had enough time, but he has been there for two years. Time is up."

He's referring to Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) CEO Stephen Elop, the former Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) executive who now leads the embattled Finnish phonemaker.

Patience with Mr. Elop is wearing thin among investors.  Danske Invest Finnish Equity Fund is one large Nokia shareholder.  Juha Varis one of the fund's members comments, "The Christmas season is a lost cause. For Nokia, if there is any chance, it will be Spring.  The beginning of next year may be the final judgment. I think that maybe the end of the first quarter is the marking point."

Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies comments, "He has been making some brave decisions and courage is something this company has lacked for a long time before Elop joined.  His starting point was really weak and it's hard to say someone else would have done a better job."

Stephen Elop
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop [Image Source: Mark Vlander/Getty Images]

But Reuters reports that even Mr. Sakarmies views Q1/Q2 2013 as the point at which Nokia must turn the quarter or show Mr. Elop the door.

Nokia's failures are correlated to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, but responsibility for causation doesn't necessarily rest on the shoulders of Mr. Elop's decision to go Windows Phone.  Rather, it was arguably from making the decision to early (perhaps) and taking a bizarrely long time to get Windows Phone product to market.

Now Nokia's Windows Phone 8 lineup is facing stiff competition from HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) who previously had paid little interest to the platform.  At the same time Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung's Android lineup are consistently outselling Nokia's Lumia Windows Phones.

The question is what should Nokia do?  Some like Mr. Rehle believe Nokia should ditch Windows Phone and use Android.  A switch to Android would certainly lower costs, but at a price.  First, Nokia would lose its payments from Microsoft.  Second, abandoning Microsoft for Google Inc.'s (GOOG) open source OS could lead to some big legal risks, given Apple and Microsoft's aggressive litigation history (Nokia does have a cross-licensing deal with Apple, but its exact scope is unclear).

Android statues
Some investors want Nokia to jump ship to Android. [Image Source: AndroidModo]

On the other hand, with Samsung and HTC on the verge of fleeing to Windows Phone, if Nokia stays, it could find itself being shown up in a market it was groomed by Microsoft to be the star of.

Source: Reuters

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By Reclaimer77 on 9/19/2012 6:58:10 PM , Rating: 4
On the other hand, with Samsung and HTC on the verge of fleeing to Windows Phone

This is an unsupported statement and I feel it's too sensationalized and should be changed.

HTC and Samsung have been waiting for a Windows Phone version (8) that would allow them to make a full featured halo smartphone. I wouldn't exactly call this "fleeing" to Windows Phone.

What's the deal Jason? Every article about phones lately has this unrealistic view that a single court decision that will likely be overturned is the death-kneel of the Android OS as we know it. And that suddenly Windows Phone is some amazing alternative. When Windows Phone can't even reach modest market share of 20%+ and the most successful phone to date was the behind the times Lumia 900. Which when is all said and done, was clearly over-hyped. Especially on Daily Tech.

As far as Elop goes, of course he made horrible choices. Windows Phone might have been profitable for Nokia at "some point in the future", but that doesn't cut it in this business.

RE: Huh?
By aurareturn on 9/19/2012 8:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Samsung and HTC aren't fleeing to Microsoft. They are just expanding their portfolio. They aren't putting all their eggs in one basket.

RE: Huh?
By aurareturn on 9/19/2012 8:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who actually believes Nokia can turn the ship around is crazy.

If Nokia goes to Android, it can't compete with Samsung and HTC in phone design. Nokia is too late to the game. Doesn't have a brand-name in the Android market. Would take them years to build the image that Samsung and HTC have with Android.

If MS' OS does miraculously succeed, other superior hardware makers like Samsung and HTC will just storm in and make better phones.

Nokia has lost its advantage. It's not longer the best hardware maker and it doesn't even have its own OS anymore.

RIM part II.

RE: Huh?
By Kyuu on 9/19/2012 9:52:35 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that Nokia doesn't have the brand-name image of Samsung or HTC in the Android market, but I'm wondering on what basis you make the assertion that Nokia is an inferior hardware maker. Have you actually compared the Lumias, Samsung's Ativ S, and the HTC 8X/8S?

The Lumias are generally regarded as the nicest pieces of hardware coming out period, WP8 phone or otherwise -- only major complaint is the weight, but I wonder how many people actually give a crap about an extra couple tenths of a pound). Of course not everyone will like them, and the Samsung Ativ S looks nice (being basically a WP8 version of the GS3 with an attractive brushed-aluminum back). The HTCs are nice enough but not terribly interesting unless you prefer smaller phones.

RE: Huh?
By othercents on 9/20/2012 10:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, while Nokia isn't known in the Android market they are well known for making reliable phones especially compared to Samsung which are more flimsy than Nokia. Personally I would be using a Lumia now except they took too long to get to market. I'm using a Samsung Focus S.

Keep in mind Samsung and HTC were the initial release partners for Windows Phone 7 on November 8, 2010. Nokia decided to go to Windows Phone 7 during the Mango release and the Lumia 800 arrived on Dec 2011 in the US.

RE: Huh?
By JKflipflop98 on 9/20/2012 7:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
While I certainly agree that it's a long-shot, nothing is impossible. They may very well come out of left field with the next iPhone that everyone just has to have.

Highly improbable? You betcha. Completely impossible? Nope.

RE: Huh?
By Strunf on 9/20/2012 7:55:17 AM , Rating: 3
Why are you reducing the brand name to the android market when Nokia as a company has a much better image than HTC, if the average joe goes to buy a smartphone chances are he will recognize much faster the Nokia brand than HTC.

Also you're very incorrect if you think Nokia can't compete in design... the new Lumia stand out easily, HTC not soo much.

In terms of hardware, Nokia has always been top notch with phones that last and features not seen anywhere else, like the 40Mpx cameras...

Nokia lost its advantage but don't count them dead yet, their only stupidity was to move exclusively to windows phone and announcing it long before having actual products made them 2x more stupid... that said they are still in the game and the Lumias prove it.

Nokia today is the perfect example of wasted potential, when you have a brand name like Nokia you don't go around doing beginner mistakes! This whole chapter for me was nothing more than a ploy from MS to give an extra boost to windows phone at the expense of Nokia.

RE: Huh?
By sgns on 9/20/2012 9:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia today is the perfect example of wasted potential, when you have a brand name like Nokia you don't go around doing beginner mistakes! This whole chapter for me was nothing more than a ploy from MS to give an extra boost to windows phone at the expense of Nokia.

This. I agree 100%. Nokia squandered their uniqueness (they should really have rebranded Meego – and thrown money at buying UX people from Palm for example, and never went MS exclusive). I'm sad to say this looks like a weakness of Elop's era – he has to my knowledge not either delivered a positive vision (in contrast to the unfortunate – because it still stands out in a major way – burning platform memo), or preserved the heritage. Even if N9 looked great, abandoning it made the Lumias look like an afterthought.

It's easy to see that Nokia didn't know how to build an ecosystem/software like Apple, or the chips that Samsung do. They bet on their hardware being enough… but then MS should have not messed up, and Nokia should not have let anybody mess up the execution one bit.

Unfortunately, with only hardware (and maps and music services) their own, there's very little left to recognize them for when MS doesn't deliver and Nokia's shipping dates slip. It looks very ugly. My Finnish-born heart bleeds.

Episode 16 of the Talk Show with John Gruber, where he interviews Om Malik and they talk about Nokia (good discussion) brought me here. :| The link:

RE: Huh?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2012 12:44:51 PM , Rating: 1
If Nokia goes to Android, it can't compete with Samsung and HTC in phone design.

Why couldn't they? That's the great thing about Android, ANYONE can make a great phone for it.

Think about what Android has done for the non-Apple smartphone market! It's allowed players we've barely heard of to compete. Who was HTC before Android came along? Did anyone buy their phones before? Sure they made some stuff before Android came along, but they weren't a household name.

So when you say Nokia "can't compete" with others in phone design, I have a big issue with that statement. History is against you.

RE: Huh?
By zephyrprime on 9/20/2012 12:57:38 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think Samsung and especially HTC have super strong brands in the Android market. Also, I don't even agree that the idea of an "Android market" has much mindshare at all with the general public because the general phone buying public doesn't think about this stuff much at all. Only the iphone and apple have any significant mindshare in the public as brands when it comes to phones. For techies, it's a different story but techies are 1% of the market.

RE: Huh?
By Mint on 9/20/2012 2:12:29 PM , Rating: 4
Every non-Samsung maker for Android is basically fighting for scraps. Those scraps are big enough for HTC, LG, etc. to be happy, but not Nokia. In order for them to take substantial share away from Samsung, they'd have to make a much better phone, and I don't think that's possible without some serious Samsung blunders.

WP8 is the only realistic way to give Nokia a chance at being a top dog again. If they stuck with Symbian, it would be a RIM redux. If they went with Android 3 years ago, they may have had a chance, but it's too late now. If they go Android now, their fate is sealed as a bit player.

Elop made the right choice. The best of WP8 is still to come a year or two down the road, particularly with Intel's x86 mobile penetration being an unstoppable train due to their process advantage.

RE: Huh?
By Mitch101 on 9/20/2012 10:28:43 AM , Rating: 3
It really is much deeper than the rectangle and expanding portfolio.

Google did not support Samsung in the case and was nowhere to be found except if you count the lame sorry it gave after judgement was handed down. It left a bad taste in many Android manufacturers that Google is not doing enough to protect the manufacturers of Android devices. This is part of the reason Microsoft works with the vendors to prevent such lawsuits. Google has not.

Read more international sites the manufacturers of Android devices are not happy about this one bit. Some are even looking at creating one offs like Amazon did with the kindle but an easier route is to use Windows Phone OS.

Google should be cross licensing with Apple to prevent these kind of lawsuits and they failed to do so instead blaming the patent system which is the real problem but isn't going to fix the current issues. Google also opted out of the large patent portfolio purchase a while back from whom I cant recall the name and they tried to claim they weren't invited then Microsoft outed them with the e-mail trail showing Google was invited but Google arrogance again. Google realizing they made a huge mistake grabbed Motorola mobile. But its not enough to protect them. They need to start making cross license deals or they are going to be forced to pay more royalties to everyone else or face lawsuits.

This lawsuit is just the beginning as you can see its growing and including more and more devices. You see many other companies looking at making Microsoft devices because they need a plan B its not 100% safe to make an Android device.

Samsung was mad going into the lawsuit without Google backing thats when they started looking at alternatives if things went like they did. This is also a warning shot to Google saying your not the only choice in town and to get your act together. Samsung made Android they can help to make Windows Phone an option too.

Microsoft is a lot more relevant than going with their own OS which has limited apps Microsoft is also the no lawsuit option with a 100k+ app market and growing.

You watch Apples lawsuits are going to spread and they are going to leverage this win with Samsung to every other carrier.

RE: Huh?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2012 12:37:23 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not surprised that such a wildy innacurate and dishonest slant on these events come from Mitch, a known Windows Phone homer.

First off Apple was legally granted these patents. Yes, they are absurd. Yes, they shouldn't have been. But in the eyes of the law and that court, Samsung "willfully" inferinged. You cannot blame Google for not "coming to Samsung's defense" more. Hello? Google didn't design the Galaxy line of phones!

On the software side of things, ooops, there's another tidbit of facts that defeat Mitch's arguments. Where Samsung got in trouble on the software patents was NOT because of a stock Android UI. It was their own Samsung "Touch Wiz" proprietary UI scheme that was found to infringe on Apple's bs "patents".

Google should be cross licensing with Apple

This is how a child views the world. Apple started this legal campaign. We have NO evidence to suggest that Apple contacted Google first to discuss a cross-licensing deal.

Also, and again, this would DO NOTHING to protect Android hardware vendors who are accused of violating Apple's "trade dress" and hardware design patents. Hello?

Read more international sites the manufacturers of Android devices are not happy about this one bit.

Unsupported hearsay argument based on rumors.

Google realizing they made a huge mistake grabbed Motorola mobile


All in all this is one horribly biased, untruthful, and altogether laughable attempt on Mitch's part. There's so much flat out wrong, made up, or just outright lies that I barely touched on them. But most disturbing is that after all this time, Mitch still can't grasp the difference between hardware and software design patents, and that Google doesn't make phones just an OS.

RE: Huh?
By Kepler on 9/20/2012 12:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
How is Google supposed to defend against the manufacturers' own modifications to their OS? I don't see why Google should waste their time with these frivolous suits. Samsung knew 100% that they were going to appeal this ruling before the case even started. No need for Google to get their hands tied up in it.

As far as I can tell, Google is suing Apple with their MotoMobile patents, hopefully to squelch future lawsuits against anyone -- putting much needed fear in Apple's eyes.

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