Nokia ’on a burning platform,’ CEO warns in internal memo

Nokia ’on a burning platform,’ CEO warns in internal memo

Helsinki: World-leading mobile phone company Nokia is “standing on a burning platform," surrounded by a “blazing fire" of competition, new company head Stephen Elop said in an internal memo obtained by AFP Wednesday.

Elop’s memo paints a picture of a man on a burning platform who must take the drastic move of plunging into icy waters in order to save himself, adding that the company must now make a similar radical choice.

“In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times - his platform was on fire... We too, are standing on a ‘burning platform,’ and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour," Elop wrote.

The memo is a scathing indictment of Nokia’s “non-competitive" platform Symbian, a lack of accountability and leadership, painfully slow product delivery, a lack of internal collaboration and a general “series of misses".

The Finnish company was once the juggernaut of the mobile world, with a 40% share in the mobile device market as recently at the second quarter of 2008.

That figure has been sliding ever since, hitting just 31% in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Although Nokia refused to officially comment on internal communications, a company source told AFP the memo was genuine, and was sent to employees last week.

“We have more than one explosion - we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us," continued Canadian Elop, who took over as the first non-Finnish CEO last September.

With this brutally honest appraisal of the company’s woes, Elop appeared to be sowing the ground for a spectacular shake-up of corporate strategy, which he is expected to unveil on Friday during the company’s strategy and financial briefing in London.

“When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company," he wrote.