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I Go or MeeGo

Optimize Blog - June 9, 2011 - 0 comments

Well, Nokia has lost another technology chief – their fourth in five years. Nokia says that he left for personal reasons but the Finnish press are saying that he left due to differing views on strategy. Mr Green was known to champion the MeeGo mobile operating system which Nokia recently sidelined.
That decision was brought about by Nokia boss Stephen Elop’s decision to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone software for its Smartphones. Unnamed Nokia sources are said to be backing up the claim that the abandonment of the MeeGo operating system decision was the core issue for Mr Green. Rich Green joined Nokia in early 2010 following a 19 year stint at Sun Microsystems.
We have referred to Nokia’s problems in the past in this blog, when we discussed the strategy lessons to be learned from the erosion of their formerly substantial market share. At the moment, there is no doubt that the transformation Nokia is currently going through needs to be rapid and far reaching. Clearly, Nokia’s senior management have had to make some very hard decisions regarding its older projects and products but the strategic decision to switch to Windows is one that Mr Green was not prepared to support.
From our perspective there are a number of positive lessons coming out of this.
Firstly, Mr Green’s decision to leave rather than to deliver a strategy that he was not engaged with… The issue of who is right is not important here. If indeed he left by choice and as a matter of principle, then good for him for accepting that he could not deliver on something he did not believe in and recognizing that it could cause internal conflict which would create drag on the Nokia organization.
Conversely, if he was forced out then good for Nokia for taking a tough decision and realizing that if a key executive cannot be persuaded to be on-side with the strategy then such a scenario would be unlikely to end well. As we say consistently, strategy is all about making tough choices and trade-offs.
The credit ratings agency Fitch has cut the status of Nokia’s bonds to just above junk… with their rating dropping from BBB+ to BBB-. Last week Nokia warned that its sales for the second quarter of this year would be well below previous forecasts and also abandoned its outlook for the full year, knocking 12% off the company’s share price in Frankfurt. In executing Nokia’s strategy, they have further tough choices to make.
Critically, whatever they do, the pace of change needs to be appropriate and reflective of the pace of change being experienced in the Smartphone marketplace. Accommodating dissenting voices at the leadership table is a luxury the company simply cannot afford.

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