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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





“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith



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