Nokia’s former chairman: We failed to identify the threat posed by Apple; Elop was 2nd choice CEO

“Stephen Elop, who quit as Nokia Oyj chief last month after failing to revive sales during his three-year tenure, was the mobile-phone maker’s second choice for a new leader when hired in 2010, according to a former chairman,” Kati Pohjanpalo reports for Bloomberg News.

“The Finnish company was looking to replicate Apple Inc.’s success with consumers when it sought a new chief executive officer, Jorma Ollila, Nokia’s chairman at the time, wrote in his memoir published today,” Pohjanpalo reports. “His preferred candidate, not named in the book and identified as deputy chief at a U.S. technology company, turned the job down for personal reasons, prompting Nokia to set its sights on Elop, Ollila said.”

“Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, was struggling to regain relevance in smartphones after Apple co-founder and then-CEO Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007,” Pohjanpalo reports. “Nokia’s smartphone shipments fell by almost two-thirds since a 2010 peak of 104 million units, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. Replacing Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as chief, the company chose Elop, who introduced Microsoft Corp’s Windows Phone operating system for its smartphones in 2011.”

Pohjanpalo reports, “Last month, two years after Elop struck the deal with Microsoft, Nokia agreed to sell its entire mobile-phone division to the Redmond, Washington-based software company amid plunging sales. Elop is moving to Microsoft as part of the deal and is also a candidate to become its CEO. Nokia failed to identify the threat posed by Apple, said Ollila, currently the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila announces exit – September 14, 2010
Nokia marketing flack emptily slams Apple over iPhone, FaceTime – September 14, 2010
Wreckage piles up at Nokia as Vanjoki packs it in – September 13, 2010
Analysts not impressed with Nokia’s incoming CEO Elop – September 10, 2010
Nokia replaces CEO Kallasvuo with Microsoft’s Stephen Elop – September 10, 2010
Apple iOS devices take 41% of mobile traffic in Finland, Nokia’s backyard – September 02, 2010
Nokia Q2 profits drop, CEO wants exit talk to stop one way or the other – July 22, 2010
5MP beats 8MP: iPhone 4 camera beats all in smartphone ‘competition,’ including Droid X – June 25, 2010
Apple iPhone takes 20%+ smartphone market share in Finland, home of Nokia – June 23, 2010
Nokia slashes sales outlook citing iPhone competition, stock plummets – June 16, 2010
Struggling Nokia revamps management team yet again – May 11, 2010
IDC: Apple posts strong growth in global smartphone market share as Nokia stays flat, RIM declines – May 07, 2010
Nokia warns on profits as it delays ‘iPhone killer’; shares plunge – April 22, 2010
Nokia shutters U.S. flagship stores as floundering cellphone maker fails in face of Apple’s success – December 09, 2009
Nokia shutters flagship Regent Street store in face of Apple retail’s domination – December 08, 2009
Nokia Chief Strategist: Apple will remain a niche player in smartphones, just like in computers – November 30, 2009
Nokia to cut another 330 R&D jobs – November 20, 2009
To understand market share vs. profits, look no further than Nokia vs. Apple – November 11, 2009
How Apple passed Nokia to become the world’s most profitable handset vendor – November 11, 2009
Strategy Analytics: Apple passes Nokia to become world’s most profitable handset vendor – November 10, 2009
Nokia posts loss of 559 million euros on weaker smartphone sales – October 15, 2009


  1. Oh puleeeeeese, the writing was all on the wall for years……!

    Elop was a blind trojan sent to Nokia by Ballmer to lead them off the cliff. You can turd all you want in hind sight and under a huge bonus pile of money.

    1. Yep… Apple was indeed a threat (to the status quo of mobile phones) but… the much bigger threat they completely failed to see (and gave the keys to the city) was the general from redmond who was ready and waiting to burn Nokia to the ground and then return to Microsoft victorious.

      My question is who were these people? Who in their right mind is stupid enough to “partner” with microsoft?
      Like it -EVER- ends well for the partner.

      1. Well, the top execs from MS and Nokia probably got together and planned out their exits…who gets what and how much. Their ass is well cushioned on the blood and sweats of employee-financial-slaves.

        See the trend? No matter the performance, top execs always get shit load of money.

        It’s all designed…….

        1. Eh… I don’t know about that, what reason did Nokia executives have to burn their company down?

          And I think you are confused, the employees were paid. The people who lost 90% of their money were the owners (shareholders)

  2. I heard Microsoft was considering Alan Mulally from Ford for the top spot. Why would they even consider a loser like Elop for CEO. Maybe Ballmer wants someone more inept than him to make himself look good. Mulally has a pretty impressive resume and is a graduate of MIT. Ballmer is way out of this guys league. Ballmer talking with him, would be like, a third grader talking to a graduate student.

  3. “His preferred candidate, not named in the book and identified as deputy chief at a U.S. technology company, turned the job down for personal reasons, prompting Nokia to set its sights on Elop, Ollila said.”
    There is a rumour in Finland that this “deputy chief at a U.S. technololgy company” was * as a matter of fact * Mr. Cook of Apple Computer!

    1. Apocryphal, but I can understand Tim Cook ready to bail after being relentlessly trashed by market analysts, bloggers, academic philosophers, sports correspondents, advice columnists, and his own family for failing to exceed expectations set by Zeus during a particularly foul mood. Job never had it as good.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.