Even the adoption of Windows Phone – which makes some strategic sense, especially given the amount of cash Microsoft was willing to pay for Nokia’s friendship – even that created some initial skepticism in Nokia’s traditional markets in Europe, where Microsoft’s brand name is met with greater skepticism than in North America.
All that would be fine if Nokia’s sales were on fire now, but apparently Nokia isn’t out of the woods yet; they refused to provide guidance for 2012, stating instead that it will be yet another transition year, “during which our devices-and-services business will be subject to risks and uncertainties.”
What do you do when times are rockier than you thought, and the road back to growth is longer than expected? You shake up management, and that’s what has happened on Nokia’s Board of Directors. Three board members will step down, including Chairman Jorma Ollila, who has been on the board since 1985. Board members Bengt Holmström and Per Karlsson will also stand down.
2012 will be absolutely vital to Nokia’s chances at survival in the mobile industry. We know that Microsoft plans to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into marketing, and we may see some truly cutting-edge Windows Phone devices in Q4 when Apollo hits. Hopefully Nokia’s executives and new board members can guide them through to better times.
If not, shuffling board members may be as useful as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.