Nokia CEO: "We are standing on a burning platform"

Stunning assessment shows gravity of Nokia's problems

Stephen Elop says Nokia is losing out in almost every area of its business.

Nokia’s Stephen Elop was brought in as CEO to freshen up thinking at the Finnish phone maker. And boy does he not mince his words. In an outspoken and frank memo to staff at Espoo, Elop has claimed that Nokia is, “…standing on a burning platform,” facing a battle in all fronts as it loses out in top, middle and bottom range markets.

Elop starts by explaining, “…we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us,” before going on to be brutally honest about Apple’s success. He says Cupertino now owns the top-end smartphone market and that in four years they have “changed the game” and that Nokia, “…still don’t have a phone that is close to their experience.”

That’s explosive enough, but Elop then turns his attention to Android, which he says now has the middle ground stitched up. “In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100.”

He even says that Nokia’s traditional stronghold, developing markets, is being battered by local manufacturers in China, who are able to undercut the Finnish phone giant.

Elop is clearly not impressed by what he’s seen so far at Nokia. He says, “We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.”

MeeGo is also given both barrels. “We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.”

Elop is preparing to reveal big changes at Nokia’s Capital Markets Day in London this Friday, before new phones are outed at MWC. Word is a tie-up with Microsoft is on the cards, with a Nokia Windows Phone 7 effort a real possibility.

What do you make of Elop’s blistering attack? Has he nailed it? Tell us what you think on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Via Engadget