John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Nokia CEO: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Nokia lost nearly $1.3 billion in the last quarter. It was the company’s sixth consecutive quarterly loss, one made more dismal by the announcement that it sold just 6.3 million smartphones in the quarter — down from 16.8 million a year ago. Of those, only 300,000 were sold in the vital North American market. And of the 6.3 million unit total, fewer than half were Nokia’s new Windows Phone-based Lumias.

It was a difficult quarter, tough enough to shake the confidence of anyone who has bought into Nokia’s comeback story. But CEO Stephen Elop remains undaunted. He believes Nokia’s fortunes are about to change, and that change will be expedited by carriers’ need for a third smartphone ecosystem apart from Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

“There’s a dynamic that we’re seeing and hearing about … and that is increasing concern amongst operators about the concentration of power that is landing with two particular ecosystems that are obviously quite strong out there today,” Elop said during a Thursday earnings call. “I think you’re going to see a trend where operators, starting in the West, begin to say, ‘We need a third ecosystem to really begin to happen. We really need to double down on it. We need to cause it to happen.'”

When will that trend begin in earnest? Now. And Nokia is fully prepared to exploit it.

“This is an opportunity that we look at as quite positive for 2013 as a whole,” Elop said. “And it begins in Q4.”

Presumably, that means with the launch of Nokia’s next smartphone, the Lumia 920, and the other devices that will follow it to market. So, if Elop is right, we’ll see Nokia regaining some traction in the near future. And if he’s not? Well, it might be time to revisit that “burning platform” memo.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle