Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rules out possible comeback of MeeGo
Elop promises support for those in danger of being laid off
Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop promised that the company will soon introduce a range of new inventions and innovations, with which it will improve the competitiveness of its mobile phones.
According to Elop, great changes have been made in the company’s internal working methods during the last four months, the purpose of which has been to speed up the development and practical realisation of new and better handsets.
“I have talked a lot about how we increase our staff’s accountability, our empathy to listen to our clients and each other, and our aim to avoid being arrogant”, Elop said in a Helsingin Sanomat interview yesterday.
As an example of new inventions, Elop mentioned the brand-new N9 handset launched in Singapore on Tuesday, which will come on sale in the autumn, a year behind the original schedule.
“The N9 features many new breakthroughs related to its usability, design, and materials, which we will be utilising and developing further in our upcoming models. I cannot speak of them more specifically just yet, but they will soon become apparent”, Elop said.
According to Elop, the N9 is a handset that relies more on the Qt application framework than its MeeGo operating system. Thanks for the Qt environment, the used applications can be programmed to work with three of the platforms used by Nokia, though not with the Windows Phone system.
In Elop's words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.
“I have taken part in the conversations with the teleoperators and I have been part of the consumer test groups. The feedback has been extremely positive and I am sure that the Windows Phone system will be a great success”, Elop says of the strategic partnership announced with microsoft in February of this year.
Nokia’s seemingly endless round of continuing problems in recent years has caused the workers and the investors alike to start doubting the firm’s ability to resolve problems quickly enough.
The sales figures of its competitors are growing, but the demand for Nokia handsets has been on a downward trend.
This year, Nokia’s stock price has depreciated by more than 40 per cent, as investors have voiced serious doubts with regard to the forward development of the company’s business activities.
“I understand completely that the investors want to see the results of our new strategy in their full glory. This will take some time, but once we are in a position to introduce the results of our strategy, I am sure the doubts will disperse.”
The switch to the software giant Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system has frustrated many of the Nokia staffers.
Some are afraid that the company will turn into a mere equipment manufacturer and a Microsoft subcontractor.
Elop roundly rejects this interpretation.
“Nokia will continue its research and development on the software side, as well as in services and equipment design. We will build inventions for our Windows phones that will make us stand apart from our competitors and bring significant additional advantage to our application developers”, he declared firmly.
According to Elop, in recent months Nokia has launched several different software development projects.
“Those working within the software R&D sector are more and more motivated thanks to our achievements. I am continuously in touch with them. I constantly receive emails that tell me how the pace of problem-solving has quickened.”
The ending of the co-determination talks this week may also ease off the anxiety among the workers.
Those under the threat of dismissal - 1,400 jobs will go in Finland, according to Wednesday's announcement - have until the end of the year to think about their future.
”We will be working in cooperation with outside companies to find jobs for those who leave voluntarily. We are ready to fund the setting up of new companies, so long as we can come up with ideas concerning the further development of our patented designs in other hands. But of course the legal issues have to be ironed out first”, Elop concluded.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Nokia´s first (and only?) MeeGo smartphone sees light of day (22.6.2011)
Nokia confirms plans to cut 1,400 jobs in Finland (22.6.2011)