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Nokia shareholder tells CEO Elop he's going to hell

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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been taking flak from angry shareholders at the company's annual investor's conference, with accusations flying that he's running the company into the ground by keeping Nokia as a Windows-only operation.

"You're a nice guy ... and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it's not enough," shareholder Hannu Virtanen told Elop, Reuters reports. "Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road."

It has been over two years since Elop made public the "Burning Platform" memo to Nokia staff that warned of the vendor's fundamental problems as he saw them. Two days later, Elop signed up his former employers at Microsoft to provide an operating system for the Finnish vendor which has seen little sign of setting the world on fire.

Two years down the line and the investors are getting fractious. Shares are hovering around the $3 mark, down from almost $60 in Nokia's glory years around the turn of the century. Shareholders large and small lambasted Elop for his strategy, but the American boss insisted there was no Plan B.

"We make adjustments as we go. But it's very clear to us that in today's war of ecosystems, we've made a very clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line," he said. "And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and Android."

Given the state of the company's last financial results, that kind of attitude is not going to placate the owners of Nokia, nor solve the Finish company's long-term problems. Handset sales were down nearly a third on the year, and while some Lumia models are selling reasonably well, Nokia is being squeezed at both the high and low ends of the market.

"He's managed to decrease costs but not to increase market share," said Magnus Rehle, senior partner in Greenwich Consulting, which advises telecom companies. "Maybe they could go back to Google and say we also want to go with Android. Even if it hurts. Microsoft, they've had their chances, and are not managing to take off."

Finnish pension fund Ilmarinen wasn't impressed, telling Reuters that it had reduced its shareholdings in Nokia by over a quarter. Other shareholders expressed concerns with the corporate policy Elop is espousing.

"He has closed doors," said Juha Varis, senior portfolio manager at Danske Capital. "They don't have new ideas now. Their fate is all in Windows Phones."

The problem with Elop's steady-as-she-goes course is that he appears to be losing the confidence of his crew. When that happens a mutiny is the traditional course, and Elop could well find himself walking the plank.

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Hey hows that Windows Phone doing for ya?

Considering that they made a nice profit last quarter (something like $585 million), I'd say pretty good.

What were their options? Go with Android? How's that working out for HTC? Or the other 600 android OEMs that are fighting for the scraps Samsung leaves behind?

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I don't really think you can blame windows phone. Look at HTC and Sony they are all in the crapper. Sony should exit the phone market. Android really the great savier. Its only the savior for samsung. Noone else is really making a profit.

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Honestly, WP is the only reason that Nokia exists anymore in the American market. The American market is ridiculously fickle and narrow-minded when it comes to wireless thus why it took even Android a long time to break through.

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Hey hows that Windows Phone doing for ya?

At least with Windows Phone they have a chance to stand out. It would take them longer to become a player in Android than it would with Windows Phone.

What other choices were there at the time? iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS weren't options and I doubt Google even knows how many OEM's there are for Android, but only one of them is turning a nice profit.

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I still think Nokia should have stuck with Meego. At $3 dollars a share that is just a shame. I have had so many Nokia phones in my life but there is no way I will ever touch a Windows Phone in it's current form. I miss Windows Mobile.... Oh well guess I am just old fashioned

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Honestly, WP is the only reason that Nokia exists anymore in the American market. The American market is ridiculously fickle and narrow-minded when it comes to wireless thus why it took even Android a long time to break through.

That and the carriers are notoriously slow with anything that smells like an upgrade expense for them.

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At least with Windows Phone they have a chance to stand out. It would take them longer to become a player in Android than it would with Windows Phone.

What other choices were there at the time? iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS weren't options and I doubt Google even knows how many OEM's there are for Android, but only one of them is turning a nice profit.

You know it is all speculation, I am sure Nokia could have ripped into Samsung if they also had Android, Nokia's hardware is leaps and bounds better than Samsung if you ask me.

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Windows Phone was the best option for Nokia. As mentioned above, companies like Sony and HTC aren't doing well with Android. WP8 is still growing with new apps being released daily (and old ones being updated with new UIs and features). It's also still new considering it was released in October 2012. Nokia is slowly sweeping up emerging markets in Asia and Europe with low-end Lumia devices so they're on the right track.

Also, the Lumia 920 is the most popular Windows Phone device (source). And it's a high-end device. That shows how well they're doing on the hardware side. And speaking of the hardware side, WP allows them to be unique and not just with the OS. The Lumia range of phones are offered in a variety of colours that go well with the colours of WP. If they went with Android, they'd have the same issues as any company that isn't Samsung (but to a lesser degree because it's Nokia and their hardware is awesome).

Anyway, things will only get better when Verizon and T-Mobile get their high-end Lumia devices (Lumia 928 and "Catwalk", respectively).

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Considering that they made a nice profit last quarter (something like $585 million), I'd say pretty good.

What were their options? Go with Android? How's that working out for HTC? Or the other 600 android OEMs that are fighting for the scraps Samsung leaves behind?

HTC also went with WP in their phone portfolio hows that working out for them?

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HTC also went with WP in their phone portfolio hows that working out for them?

So you failed to point out Nokia's issues and now you're pointing your finger at HTC. I know I'm not the only person that feels this way but your question ("How's that working out for them?") comes off as snarky. And that's not a good thing. :/

I'm sure people wouldn't like it if I said "Oh, HTC. Yeah... they use Android last I checked. How's that working out for them?"

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Dawg, you're a fan of Windows Mobile. I don't think you should even be allowed to comment.

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I was commenting back on the Razers post. I mean come on, lets be realistic here Microsoft needs to step up the game and partner with more OEM's and carriers if they want to make it a success.

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As usual, people just don't get things. It's not relevant that Nokia try to, strive towards, or make every decision to put them into a position of absolute smartphone dominance like they were in the plain old "vanilla cell phone" days - making profit is certainly enough to stay alive (BlackBerry could learn a thing or two from them in this respect: Nokia sided with Microsoft because it was the best option at the time; BlackBerry's best possible move right now would be to side with Google for Android devices, seriously).

There's only two mobile platforms that really matter anymore and will remain the dominant two from here on out: iOS and Android.

All the other competitors, including Windows Phone, will simply be "fighting" for consumer scraps, basically.

But the actual mobile OSes pale compared to making "cool devices" overall - look what's happened with HTC in the past 2 months because of the HTC One. Last years models started the change but the One itself is the game changer for them. Sony has that Experia out that is getting rave reviews, but in the long run it's Samsung by a mile with something like the S3 and now the S4 which has so much going for it it's not even funny - and I can't wait to see what the Note 3 brings to the table(t) as well.

Nokia's doing fine, or as fine as they can expect given the situation. They created it, knowing what would happen, and now they're dealing with it.

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Dawg, you're a fan of Windows Mobile. I don't think you should even be allowed to comment.

Why even post your comment because it is obvious your a fanboy. The point of this article is the stock of Nokia sucks and they are diversified in one platform only. Having your stock plunge to 3 dollars a share is not a thing stock holders would enjoy. I am sure if you held stock in Nokia you would not be happy too.

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HTC also went with WP in their phone portfolio hows that working out for them?

If you look at profitable companies in phone business (Apple, Samsung), they focus. They don't try to be jack of all trades. Sure, Samsung released an ATIV phone, but it never bother to update it or market it. The focus is Android and Galaxy product line.

For HTC, they try to be jack of all trades, there hardware is not as compelling and they don't have focus. The results are there to see.

Nokia chose a competing emerging platform with deep enough pockets to ride out the initial hiccups to root a platoform. Considering how deep rooted consumer alliances lies in the mobile world, and how it has been fashionable for some time to be owner of Iphone or Galaxy, i think Nokia did a fabulous job of atleast getting people to start noticing and talking about Lumia's. The numbers would start showing up as the platform matures. The shareholders want the results early and want it fast, which unfortunately would not happen in today's competitive marketplace. They would need to have patience. I for one am sure Elop is betting on the right things.

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If you look at profitable companies in phone business (Apple, Samsung), they focus. They don't try to be jack of all trades. Sure, Samsung released an ATIV phone, but it never bother to update it or market it. The focus is Android and Galaxy product line.

For HTC, they try to be jack of all trades, there hardware is not compelling and they don't have focus. The results are there to see.

Nokia chose a competing emerging platform. Considering how deep rooted consumer alliances lies in the mobile world, and how it has been fashionable for some time to be owner of Iphone or Galaxy, i think Nokia did a fabulous job of atleast people noticing and talking about Lumia's. The numbers would start showing up as the platform matures. The shareholders want the results early and want it fast, which unfortunately would not happen in today's competitive marketplace. They would need to have patience. I for one am sure Elop is betting on the right things.

I agree with you ork, my point was that other OEM's have tried and just have not seen much success either. Yet...

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From the title, I thought some crazy religious shareholder got up in a conference and started screaming "You're going to hell, Elop!"

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If you look at profitable companies in phone business (Apple, Samsung), they focus. They don't try to be jack of all trades.

Samsung is focusing on what's currently working best for them but they didn't just go and place all their bets on a single option. They aren't only selling Android and WP devices but also Bada, which apparently has been doing quite nicely in some areas as a low end range device.

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What were their options? Go with Android?

I was going to buy a Lumia 920 when they first came out. Due to lack of availability, and dealers who DID have them refusing to discount the price I ended up not buying one.

Microsoft's "Metro everywhere" and lack of apps on either the phone or PC platform has totally turned me off anything Windows 8.

If I was going to buy a new phone today it'd be a Samsung S4.

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Considering that they made a nice profit last quarter (something like $585 million), I'd say pretty good.

What were their options? Go with Android? How's that working out for HTC? Or the other 600 android OEMs that are fighting for the scraps Samsung leaves behind?

Have to say this is really a good point actually. At least by going with Windows Phone, which many other manufacturers haven't really put any real effort into (aside perhaps from HTC) Nokia had a good chance to gain a very decent foothold if Windows Phone adoption went up. I guess it could still happen - however it feels that Windows Phone development seems a little slow so is perhaps hampering it? Nokia are certainly putting out nice handsets and bringing out new designs quite frequently so I feel they're doing their part.. and as you say if they'd gone Android, they would have been entering a very saturated, competitive market.

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With Google and Apple rolling their own hardware, Microsoft was the only partnership that would be both stable and cooperative, rather than competitive.

Nokia needs a platform where it can grab a huge slice of a pie that has a foreseeable chance to grow bigger. The Google pie is already about as big as it can get, and the slices get smaller every time some new MeToo company decides to launch an Android phone.

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From the title, I thought some crazy religious shareholder got up in a conference and started screaming "You're going to hell, Elop!"

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Hey hows that Windows Phone doing for ya?

I'm going to counter these stupid "WP is screwing OEMs up" arguments by presenting to you a reverse of what you are saying- which may I add actually works in WPs favour. The biggest phone manufacturer is Samsung and they use Windows Phone. Boom- I think we can safely say they are rolling in the cash.

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You know it is all speculation, I am sure Nokia could have ripped into Samsung if they also had Android, Nokia's hardware is leaps and bounds better than Samsung if you ask me.

In what ways does Nokia beats Samsung except in the camera?

If you are going to say Samsung using plastic and therefore its build quality sucks, I don't think it takes a genius to switch from plastic to other form of materials.

In all other aspect Samsung does very good in it.

Even if Windows Phone is successful, Samsung could jump from Android to WP anyway and Nokia will have a rival anyway...

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