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Nokia starts huge restructuring plan, rules out Android

updated 08:55 am EST, Fri February 11, 2011

Nokia reorganizes in the wake of Windows Phone

Nokia as part of its shift to Windows Phone outlined major changes in organization. Along with moving Jo Harlow to lead the Smart Devices group, which should now handle MeeGo and Symbian as well as Windows Phone, it will put Mary McDowell at the head of the Mobile Phones group that handles basic feature phones. Niklas Savander will handle the company's Markets group, which oversees shipping and selling all of Nokia's products.

The Services and Developer Experience group, which handles services like Ovi, will be temporarily headed up by Tero Ojanpera. Design will be lead by Marko Ahtisaari and the Chief Technical Officer spot by Rich Green.

Despite rumors of a major executive shuffle, the board and most other top positions will remain intact. MeeGo lead Alberto Torres has already left as the company relegates the OS to a longer term and more experimental role.

All of the position changes should take effect April 1.

CEO Stephen Elop added during a question and answer session after the financial meeting on Friday that there would be "substantial reductions" both in Nokia's staff and in its research and development, since it no longer needs to work as much on other operating systems and will eventually phase out Symbian entirely. Both 2011 and 2012 are considered transition years. Nokia will still remain a Finnish company, Elop said.

The executive explained in the session that Nokia had decided against Android. Although it had talked with Google, it warned of a lowest common denominator effect. There would be "difficulty differentiating" in Android, even with the option of a custom interface, Elop said. He also warned that Google's emphasis on a free OS and on lower cost phones created a "commoditization risk" that would have hurt Nokia's average selling prices and profits.

Too much of the value would be in Google's hands, he added.

MeeGo wasn't moving fast enough to be the backbone of a smartphone strategy and would instead be an "opportunity to learn." Rumors have surfaced that the company may just have a MeeGo tablet in 2011 and will have dropped the N9 smartphone altogether. Elop did say tablets could use a Microsoft OS as an option.

The decision to use WP7 is likely to cause a rift within the company from those loyal to Symbian or who may face job cuts. Carriers had nonetheless been publicly urging Nokia not to side with Android since it would have led to a strictly two-sided competition. The new strategy, if successful, could see at least three and more likely four major smartphone platforms with comparable market share, adding Windows Phone to Android, BlackBerry and the iPhone.

Google could face a public image hit as Nokia has directly accused the search firm of hurting the phone business and devaluing custom software experiences. Android has been free in a bid to profit off of search ad revenues, but this along with low hardware requirements has led to even competent Android phones costing as little as $150 off-contract.

by MacNN Staff



  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't get it?

    Why would they choose to put all their eggs in the Windoze Phone basket? They are positioned to build handsets for Android as well giving them an option to eventually go with the OS that works or sells best. Now we need to listen to Balmer boasting how many Win phones have shipped, blah...

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Public image hit?

    "Google could face a public image hit as Nokia has directly accused the search firm of hurting the phone business and devaluing custom software experiences."

    I don't think the public give two **its about how hurt the phone business is. Phone companies were in cahoots with carriers for a decade before Apple came along and shook things up to everyone's dismay.

    Nokia saying "Google hurt me" is just precious.

    Go play with Microsoft and pick up the scraps.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The track record of Microsoft as a mobile OS developer is abysmal. They've already started talking about WinPho 8, and there's no guarantees it will be backwards compatible w/ WinPho 7. For all those developers, engineers and money, Microsoft is a hack in this arena.


  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    absolute bunk from a MS shill

    Android is open source - they could have used it as a starting point and forked it to a completely different OS.

    The reality is this guy was prejudiced in favor of Microsoft from the beginning and rushed through this decision, going from first talks in November to an announcement today.

    Does Nokia need change? Yes. Do they need to pre-announce not to buy the phones they have on sale today? LOL - what a moron.

    And tying your boat to WinPho 7? Who told this guy there was demand for that....what buffoon.

    I don't think it really hurts Android, and certainly not iOS - it probably will help MS in the short run, but sinking Nokia isn't going to be a great story for them either, in the longer run.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why bet the farm on MS? Because. . .

    It's a pretty fair bet that MS is providing significant incentives to Nokia to not use Android. Heck, Nokia even admitted that they can customize the UI if they want, something MS is not allowing anyone else to do. So yeah, MS got a major player to go exclusive with Windows Phone 7 in exchange for that concession and who knows what else. It's a typical good-ole'-boys deal.

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One sided deal

    Elop must have accumulated a huge bunch of Microsoft shares as an Executive there; how many Nokia shares does he have?

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Board level job losses in 12 to 18 months

    As for the restructuring of board level jobs, that happens in a year to 18 mnths after his hand-picked cronies have all been in their new second level jobs long enough to know who the hard core Nokia loyalists are so they can be removed, and for them to develop some yes men of their own.

    If you think this is anything but a Microsoft take over by the back door, you're going to have a BIG surprise...

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