John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Time for Nokia to Switch to Android? CEO Stephen Elop Says It’s Windows Phone or Bust.

burningplatformIt has been well over two years since Nokia leapt from its burning platform into a Microsoft-designed lifeboat that CEO Stephen Elop said would carry it to shore. Yet today the company remains adrift with no sign of landfall in sight. And shareholder patience with its progress is wearing thin.

To wit, the fractious general meeting Nokia held Tuesday, which was reportedly peppered with calls for the company to reconsider its bet on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Why, when Samsung has had such success with Google’s Android OS, does Nokia insist on sticking with Windows?

With Android, Samsung is capturing 43 percent of the handset industry’s profits — the other 57 percent going to Apple. Meanwhile, with Windows Phone, Nokia is capturing nothing. Given that vast disparity in performance, isn’t it about time Nokia and its leadership reassess the company’s commitment to Windows Phone and take a good hard look at Android?

As one shareholder bluntly put it, “The executive team is doing its best. But it’s not enough. Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road.”

Not an entirely unreasonable suggestion, considering Nokia’s downward trajectory the past few years. But evidently it’s not one CEO Stephen Elop is willing to entertain right now — even after a 60 percent decline in the company’s share price. Really, there’s no easy answer here: Windows Phone might be slow to ramp, but there’s no guarantee that Nokia would do any better with Android, a platform that Samsung has so thoroughly dominated.

“We’ve made a clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line,” Elop said. “And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and Android.”

In other words, for Nokia, Windows Phone is Plan A — and Plan B is that Plan A must succeed.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik