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POV: Ollila’s hands-off approach as chairman may have cost Nokia dearly!!

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Jorma Ollila had been a visionary and charismatic leader for Nokia who took the reins of Nokia when it was facing serious difficulties and in his role as CEO he took the company to pinnacle before resigning in 2006. When he resigned Nokia was the market leader by huge distance in featurephones or smartphones and had 48% of smartphone market share leaving RIM in 2nd position at just 7.5%.

So, what went wrong for Nokia? Many reasons have been cited from this and may be all had their contributions in the downfall of Nokia as the smartphone leader. But, where was Jorma Ollila in all these times and why he didn’ try to save Nokia, the company he nurtured for so long. Answer is, perhaps he was a hands-off chairman unlike the hands-on charismatic CEO he once had been.

In a recent interview he said,

The execution of the plans started to increasingly falter in 2007 as a result of the organizational changes; Ollila says that as Chairman of the board, he had considered intervening in the operational activities of the company.

“I am quite sure that the execution would have been even messier if the Chairman of the board would have bypassed the CEO and started to take issue with operational matters.”

So, his reluctance in correcting the wrong path charted by his successors cost the execution of plans and finally Nokia’s chances,

According to Ollila, there were assurances from different parts of the organisation in 2008 and 2009 that Symbian could be upgraded, and made competitive.

“On the Board we had to trust that the messages coming from the organisation were accurate. After all, they had been accurate before. But suddenly the old confidence in the organisation was no longer there. The products started coming in behind schedule.”

This also brings to fore the fact that perhaps Ollila could never find a good successor for Nokia CEO post. If OPK was not competent enough then Elop had his plans which were more beneficial to “3rd eco-system” than Nokia.

Ollila says he was shocked and grieved to hear the news of Nokia’s Devices and Services division getting sold, but irony is that he was the only one who could have stopped this from happening!!

Just another Sunday rant!!

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Nayan has more than 10 years of experience of covering Technology and innovations. He is a big Nokia fan and Tech disruptions aficionado. He loves to review new cool gadgets and writing about Android, iOS, Gadgets and general Technology stuff. He has been associated with other well-known Tech sites WinCentral and GadgetOx since long. He currently sports a Lumia 950 XL and Nexus 5X. Other interests include listening to Nu-Metal Hits and Kick-Boxing. Write to him at Email: [email protected]
  • Prasenjit Singh Bist

    Kamal, i really like your POVs simple clean short and not pretentious. Keep doing your bit..we love it

  • BigLittle

    What happened? Symbian happened…
    Together with some fruit…

    • Kamal

      That’s pretty lazy analysis IMO. Symbian carried Nokia as leader even after being denied an efficient UI till Belle, unless a memo from 3rd eco-system CEO killed it. And over-credited fruit company never could garner meaningful volume share itself in old times and that too it was and still limited to US market. If I have to take one name which did the real harm to Nokia is “Android” which impacted both low-end and high-end Nokia phones share.

      • Prasenjit Singh Bist

        Sorry Kamal but then i have to differ, when the touch screen ui revolution started iOS changed every thing apple reinvented smartphones, till then Nokia’s touch devices or ones from HTC and Motorola were nothing compared to apple. N97 was a joke i remember my cousin brother bought it and it was a useless crap paper weight.
        even after belle its a joke the browser sucks, email client a joke, system crashes, slow performance, a third grade app ecosystem and whole blame is on the Symbian OS. And the engineers and managers who lied to management and gave false hopes promises and every time failed to deliver, Symbian killed Nokia like cancer.

        i fully support Stephen Elop for not trusting Symbian and Meego teams.

        • mhs

          lol seriously? Have you ever used a symbian device released after n97?? It seems that you didn’t. If you really did use any of them you would have blamed nokia for not giving enough power to their devices to make it smoothly. Symbian is much much more capable then just ARM11 single core SOCs. And your ‘beloved’ windows phone has not managed to get profits to Nokia, while they were getting profits till the very end from 808. If nokia ships one, only one symbian powered device with better specs worldwide, it would sell much more than your total WindowsPhones. Such is the power of Symbian with the Nokia logo on it. Go figure.

          • Prasenjit Singh Bist

            well i have used n8 and i still use it its the best design i have ever loved i love it, i love the USB OTG feature and the camera but at times the OS just kills me. I have used Symbian since 6600 was launched so i am not making dumb comments.

          • Prasenjit Singh Bist

            Well may be one more point i would like to make every one has a day today i am the young the world is mine tomorrow it will be another guy.Symbian was an awesome OS that should what is possible on converged devices and ushered the smartphone era but with iPhone a new era emerged and Symbian was not ready for it from architectural point and also management and engineering point. Do you think Symbian on Lumia 920 spec can do anything better well Sir then you are wrong it will still be the same sick experience. Symbian kernel is great but the middleware. Apps and UI is just hell and it will behave still the same overall except for better speed UI transitions etc.