Stephen Elop and vision for Nokia

Yesterday I attended a short media briefing and Q&A before Nokia’s annual general meeting in Helsinki, where CEO Stephen Elop and the new Chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa answered a few questions. It felt like one more missed chance to convince things are improving at Nokia.

Mr. Siilasmaa emphasized Nokia’s Finnish cultural roots, but we didn’t hear any news on how he could actually help Nokia proceed with its new strategy.  However, he is just starting in his new role, so he deserves time to show he can help Elop’s team.

Stephen Elop appeared like he wouldn’t have anything to share about Nokia’s vision and battle strategy against competition. I assume they cannot get growth just by cutting costs and laying off people.

Elop has had time to communicate Nokia’s new strategy and vision for almost two years now, and I’ve been surprised how little we have heard about this yet. Yes, Nokia is using the Windows Phone platform, but so are many others too. How does Nokia compete with Apple and Samsung, and what’s their future strategy? Are services like navigation bringing results?

Nokia’s former Symbian executive Lee Williams said in an interview for CNET UK there seems to be a lack vision for future. I have to agree Stephen Elop has not been able to convince yet. Mostly we have heard about cutting costs, and earlier those famous statements about how bad Symbian is.

I also attended Nokia’s press conference at Mobile World Congress in February where they announced a few new Lumia phones and the ”monster camera-phone” Nokia 808 PureView. The latter is impressive technology, but it was still considered a technology demo, because Symbian has been called almost obsolete by Nokia themselves.

One kind of a sad irony is that Symbian finally has a quite decent touch user interface and many nice apps after the latest Belle software update. Almost no one just cares anymore. Unfortunately some people could not even update their Nokia E7 or N8 to Belle, because the update was not anymore available over the air (FOTA) or using the Mac OS X client.

How could Nokia inprove their public image? I think they should quickly tell more about what kind of cool stuff their talented people are working on.  I have met many designers, software specialists and R&D engineers from Nokia. They seem to be excited about their work, and they are developing interesting things. I think Nokia should communicate this more openly. Bringing their camera team specialists ”Juha and Eero” to the MWC press conference was a good start, but we should see more of this.