Some Nokia Employees Are Still In Serious Denial About The Company

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Photo: fw42 via Flickr

Some Nokia employees are demoralized about the company’s decision earlier this year to abandon Symbian and MeeGo and place a big bet on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform instead.As a result, the company’s software development centre in Tamere, Finland, clears out every day at 4 p.m., according to a story today in the Global Post.

Some employees are even questioning whether CEO Stephen Elop was a mole, planted by Microsoft to sabotage Nokia’s business and drive its stock price down so Microsoft could later buy the company at a huge discount.

That’s one theory.

Another theory: Nokia’s long-time employees are STILL in serious denial about the company’s situation.

Recall that in June 2010 Nokia slashed its earnings guidance and warned about its declining smartphone market share. It was still cranking out ugly phones like this with totally outdated software.

Even back in December 2009, analysts at Nokia’s analyst day were all using Blackberries and iPhones, prompting the New York Times — not exactly a cutting-edge opinion leader — to ask whether Nokia could recapture its glory days.

The writing was on the wall long before Elop was hired. That’s why the board hired an outsider — to shake Nokia up and instill some fresh thinking. So it’s no surprise that the engineers who were left behind by the change are a little bit upset.

Especially given that MeeGo was a flagship example of the open source community, which is strong in Finland — Linux creator Linux Torvalds is from the country — and which distrusts Microsoft reflexively.

Elop still has a long way to go to fix the company, and choosing Windows Phone might turn out to be wrong — maybe Nokia could have done better using Android, or even creating a custom Android fork like Amazon has done for its Kindle Fire tablet.

But sticking with Symbian would have meant staying with an outdated smartphone platform, and pushing MeeGo would have meant creating an entirely new phone ecosystem from scratch rather than having a deep-pocketed backer like Microsoft to help out.

The first step toward solving a problem is admitting there was a problem. Some Nokia employees are still back at square zero, and work slowdowns and conspiracy theories probably won’t help much.



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