John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Nokia Reorg Actually "Job Rotation"

51X00X3ZKSL._SL500_AA240_Nokia describes the management overhaul it’s undertaking as a common “job rotation,” but coming as it does after its lousy third-quarter financial performance and a worrisome decline in smart-phone market share, it seems perhaps just a little bit more.

This morning the Finnish mobile phone giant tapped Rick Simonson, currently its chief financial officer, as head of its handset division. And the company named Timo Ihamuotila, currently global head of sales, CFO.

While Simonson’s move from CFO to head of Nokia’s mobile phone business might seem a bit odd, analysts say it could be just what the company needs. “Simonson has been in the business for years,” Swedbank Securities analyst Jan Ihrfelt told Forbes. “He knows the company quite well, has the financial skills and the skills of a good communicator to make people in the company excited about new goals.”

And that’s clearly something Nokia (NOK) needs. For while the company is holding its ground in the broader mobile phone business, it’s losing it in smart phones, the fastest-growing segment of the market. As I noted yesterday, Nokia’s share of the smart-phone market slipped to 35 percent from 41 percent in its latest quarter, a grim reminder of just how poorly the company’s flagship smart phones are faring in their battle with iPhone maker Apple (AAPL) and BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIMM).

Said Ihrfelt: “Nokia hasn’t been as quick as others in catching up with trends in the market and in bringing phones to consumers. One would expect a player the size of Nokia to have a product that competes with the iPhone, but that hasn’t been the case.”

Not yet, anyway. But that may soon change. A few weeks back, Nokia hired John Martin, former vice president of iPhone and Mac Internet Services at Apple to oversee development of new devices based on its Maemo platform.

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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