The new Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group had plenty to say during an interview session posted Monday on Nokia’s Conversations blog.
Nokia hosted an “ask me anything” session with Stephen Elop Monday, which quickly grew confrontational as the former Nokia boss and new Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group fielded questions about his relationship with Microsoft during his time as CEO of Nokia and why he put a halt to the Symbian project.
Nokia’s mobile division become part of Microsoft on Friday, with 25,000 Nokia employees joining the Microsoft ranks as part of the deal between the two companies.
As history shows, during Elop’s tenure at Nokia the company’s market share dropped from a commanding 34 percent to 3.4 percent, its market capitalization dropped by 13 billion and its share price saw 60 percent of its value erased by the time Nokia’s mobile unit was acquired by Microsoft. Of course, this wasn’t entirely Elop’s fault. During this time the market was undergoing a radical transformation brought on by the introduction of the iPhone, the demise of Blackberry, and the rise of Samsung.
“I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia,” Elop said in his defence to the Trojan Horse question. “Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member.”
On the topic of Symbian — once accepted as a major part of the overall worldwide mobile ecosytem — Elop said the platform was simply no longer competitive in the shadow of iOS.
“We could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped three years earlier,” he said. “The Meego effort [another Nokia led OS similar so Symbian] was significantly delayed and did not have the promise of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again.”
As for the Nokia brand itself, Elop says it’s dead — sort of.
“The Nokia brand is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phones products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand,” he said.
The one last bearer of the Nokia brand, the Android-powered Nokia-X, isn’t going away anytime soon. Elop says the plan for that device is to use it as a brand ambassador of sorts to introduce Microsoft mobile products to Android users.
“[It will] help connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s services,” he said.