Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) held its annual general shareholders meeting in Helsinki this week. These are usually very uneventful affairs, where shareholders vote on nominations to the board of directors, hear “state of the company” speeches by various executives – and get free food while booking a room in a resort hotel. Thousands of these meetings happen every year around the world, and rarely are there any fireworks or controversy.
This week, however, a Roman candle was spotted going off over the skies of Helsinki. Could the vultures be circling Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) CEO Stephen Elop? While this was bandied about in the analysts’ circles on Wall Street, they remembered that Elop asked for two years for Nokia to fully implement its strategy with the Windows Phone operating system by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). It seems that the shareholders are starting to share in the Wall Street sentiment – that Elop’s days could be numbered at Nokia if this Windows Phone experiment doesn’t produce better results in the short term.
Image: Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)
Elop was confronted (professionally and courteously, of course) at the meeting by one investor, Hannu Virtanen, who expressed his displeasure in the company’s “all-in” approach by only using Windows Phone OS on its smartphone handsets. “You’re a nice guy … and the leadership team is doing its best,” Virtanen began. “But clearly, it’s not enough. Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road,” he said.
Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) did see growth in its Lumia line of smartphones – which run on the Windows Phone platform – as evidenced by the company posted 5.6 million Lumia sales in the most recent quarter, a 27-percent increase over the 4.4 million sold in the previous quarter. But with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android controlling more than half the market, it has been tough for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Windows Phone OS to gain a foothold due to its late arrival to the competition. And with Nokia solely aligning with Microsoft, as the Windows Phone OS goes, so goes Nokia.
The general suggestion was to either ditch Windows Phone, or open up the possibility of making Nokia handsets that run on another OS – such as Android – in order to improve prospects or the company.
What has Elop had to say?