Ina Fried

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Nokia’s Bumpy Ride Gets Bumpier as CTO Rich Green Goes on Leave

Nokia confirmed on Thursday that Rich Green, its chief technology officer has taken an indefinite leave of absence “to attend to a personal matter.”

Green joined the company just over a year ago after a long career at Sun Microsystems.

“We have not provided a specific timetable for his return but during his absence, Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, will assume the responsibilities of the CTO office,” Nokia said in a statement to AllThingsD. “This has no impact on our product strategy or our expected product launch timelines.”

Word of Green’s departure broke in a Finnish newspaper, which also said that Green is not expected to return and had disagreements with the company over strategy, particularly the company’s decision to move away from the mobile Linux-based MeeGo operating system it had been developing with Intel and instead pin its hopes on Microsoft’s Windows Phone software.

In any case, Green’s leave is the latest bump in an already far-from-smooth transition. The company warned last week that quarterly sales would fall short of estimates as Symbian sales are already dropping faster than expected–particularly worrisome since Nokia won’t have a full slate of Windows Phone products until sometime next year. Nokia also withdrew its full-year 2011 fianancial guidance. Nokia aims to get its first Windows Phone model out in the fourth quarter of this year.

In an interview after appearing on stage last week at D9, CEO Stephen Elop said he wasn’t concerned that Android would be able to eat away Symbian’s entire base as the Google operating system reaches the lowest-end of the smartphone business.

“Just because there is a version of an operating system at a price point, doesn’t mean that it is a great experience,” Elop said.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus