5 Challenges Elop Faces As Nokia CEO12:00 PM EST Fri. Sep. 10, 2010
Nokia has lost a third of its market capitalization since April, it's losing mobile phone market share to Apple and Android, and it's struggling to get developers to build apps for the Symbian OS platform. And now it's Stephen Elop's responsibility fix it all.
Nokia handpicked Elop, now head of Microsoft's Business Division, to replace Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as CEO and try to regain some of its momentum. Here's a more detailed look at five challenges Elop faces in trying to rebuild Nokia.
1. Regaining Symbian-ic Relationships. While Symbian OS remains the top mobile platform, there's little doubt that Apple's iPhone OS and Google's Android are rapidly gaining mindshare and market share. And now that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has been released to manufacturing, the competition for Nokia and Symbian is going to get more fierce. Nokia may have to invest heavily in a Symbian upgrade to keep up with the competition.
2. Winning Back Wall Street. Nokia's stock price fell 13 percent April 22 after the company missed first-quarter earnings expectations and it's down more than 32 percent in all since the spring. Given the company's declining market share in the smart phone market, Wall Street is going to have to see some better operational results before it fully believes in the company again. Elop may face having to reduce internal costs dramatically to become more profitable to investors.
3. Potentially Shaking Up Management -- Again. A new CEO often means a shakeup in the management org chart, as the new boss finds his own team of executives he trusts. The problem is Nokia just shook up its mobile business team in May when Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo brought in Sun Microsystems' Rich Green as its new CTO and Rick Simonson, former head of Nokia's Mobile Phones group, left the company. It'll be interesting to watch whether Elop likes what he has or wants to clean house for a second time in less than a year.
4. Winning The U.S. Market. Big success in the United States has always eluded Nokia, and the company seems to be counting on its long-awaited N8 smartphone to be a Yankee Doodle Dandy. But the N8, due Oct. 1., is priced at $549 and has only a 680 Mhz processor, far slower than 1 Ghz processors already available in many Android-based phones.
5. Where's the Apps? Last month, Nokia agreed to buy Motally, a mobile analytics company, to help bolster its mobile application development services business. But it's going to take more than a neat analytics tool that tracks and reports apps usage to get more developers to build apps for Nokia phones. Nokia still must convince developers they can make money with mobile games, videos and ring tones on Nokia devices. Its Ovi Store has fallen significantly behind the stores for iPhone and Android apps.