CEO warns Nokia is burning

Sensational memo from Nokia CEO

The head of Nokia has penned a dramatic memo to staff in which he warns that the company will continue to decline unless it undergoes a major overhaul.

Stephen Elop, Nokia's chief executive officer, compared Nokia's situation to that of a man on a burning oil platform in the North Sea. He explained that the man was forced to decide between being consumed by the flames or plunging 30 meters into icy waters.

Although he would not normally dive into the sea, the seriousness of the situation forced him to jump. After being rescued, he reflected that the burning platform had radically changed his behaviour.

"We too, are standing on a 'burning platform', and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour," he wrote. "And, we have more than one explosion - we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us."

Major headaches for Nokia

Mr Elop then singled out some pressing problems for Nokia, including:

  • The iPhone - He said Apple now owns the high-end mobile market after showing people will buy expensive phones that offer a great experience.
  • Android - He said Google's platform launched two years ago as a high-end device, but is now winning the mid-range and increasingly going for the low-end market after attracting app developers, hardware manufacturers and service providers.
  • MediaTek - He said that Chinese manufacturers have been producing mobiles at an unbelievable pace and taking share from Nokia in emerging markets after receiving complete reference designs for the chipsets of phones from semiconductor company MediaTek in 2008.

His words come ahead of a crucial Nokia analyst briefing in London on Friday, 11 February 2011, where he is expected to set out a new growth strategy for the company. The event will be keenly watched by senior figures at Apple and Google, both of which recently changed their management teams. At Apple, chief executive officer Steve Jobs has taken a leave of absence for health reasons while the reshuffle at Google saw co-founder Larry Page installed as the new chief executive officer.

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