Engadget got ahold of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s memo to employees yesterday, and it’s one of the most scathingly honest assessments of a company from its leader that we’ve ever seen.
He basically says that Nokia‘s current position is hopeless — Apple owns the high-end smartphone market, Android has taken market leadership from Nokia in the midrange after only two years, and Chinese company MediaTek has created reference designs that now ship in one-third of all smartphones worldwide.
On Nokia’s last earnings call, Elop said that the company would announce a major strategic shift this Friday, probably including an embrace of either Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform or Android, and rumours are circulating about a big executive shake-up as well. Given some of the scathing comments Elop had for Nokia’s current leadership in the memo, that seems very likely:
The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.
And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.
How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?
This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.
It’s worth reading the entire memo: he also goes into detail about how S&P and Moody’s may be lowering Nokia’s credit rating and how it’s losing in customer preference rankings around the world.
Elop was brought in from Microsoft to shake things up. Looks like the board is getting what they wanted.