Nokia investors' patience wearing thin; CEO says Windows Phone to the bitter end, no plan B

Nokia investors' patience wearing thin; CEO says Windows Phone to the bitter end, no plan B

Summary: The Finnish phone maker isn't bailing on Microsoft any time soon. It's Windows Phone to the bitter end, even if shareholders and investors hate the idea — which they do.

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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop speaking at Nokia World in London. (Image: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

"You're a nice guy. But clearly it's not enough."

The words from one shareholder, according to Reuters, speaking to Nokia's chief executive Stephen Elop at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday. Regarding the company's progress — or lack of, based on recent market share figures — investors want out of Windows Phone. "Please switch to another road." 

Other shareholders think Elop and Nokia are making a mistake. "Their fate is all in Windows Phones," another investor told the wire service.

But Elop is sticking to his guns, and there's no plan B. It's Windows Phone or nothing.

The Nokia chief confirmed that there are no plans to deviate from its Windows Phone strategy any time soon. But its Symbian-powered feature phones, which for years were the company's main bread and butter, continue to decline in market share. 

"It's very clear to us that in today's war of ecosystems, we've made a very clear decisions to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line," Elop said. "And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and Android."

But shareholders and investors are getting twitchy.

Nokia's Symbian-powered feature phones are declining in share, but its Windows Phone-powered Lumia smartphones are not picking up the slack. Things are improving and looking better quarter on quarter.

Nokia's two-year timeframe to shift from Symbian to Windows Phone is over. Though Nokia has seen a recent uptick in Lumia smartphones shipments in recent months, it falls significantly shy of the share held by most competitors.

At its first-quarter earnings call, the company announced that its Lumia shipments were up by 25 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, latest comScore figures show Microsoft has around 3 percent of the overall smartphone market, beating Symbian's meager, declining share of just 0.5 percent. Kantar figures are more optimistic, showing Windows Phone accounted for 5.6 percent of all smartphone sales during Q1 2013.

Microsoft has other Windows Phone partnerships, not limited to HTC, Huawei and Samsung. But all other partners, bar Nokia, have a wider range of other devices running the Android platform.

But Nokia has put all of its smartphone eggs in one Windows Phone branded basket, and those who have plowed money into the phone maker argue that they yet to see a significant bump in market share.

Topics: Nokia, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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138 comments
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  • Elop is beyond redemption

    I wish the board would step in and save this once great company.

    There's no upside here, just look at the fate of Microsoft's previous mobile 'partners':
    http://www.asymco.com/2011/02/11/in-memoriam-microsofts-previous-strategic-mobile-partners/
    Beerfloat
    • Elop is a Trojan

      Elop is a Trojan microsoft

      He worked for years in microsoft before going to nokia

      must have millions in shares of microsoft
      Henrique Dourado
      • Unfortunately ...

        those are my thoughts also. One day MS will pick Nokia up for chump change. Nobody else will want to touch it.
        D.T.Long
        • Are you an 'analyst'

          You and CB7 should think together.
          OwlllllNet
          • They sit....

            And think up new ways to bash Microsoft at their Open Source Trolling Convention in Florida.
            Dreyer Smit
          • Wow

            Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
            http://goo.gl/JJEGl
            AmandaElly
          • But space somewhere

            ...and pay the going rates like everybody else
            Papa_Bill
          • No bashing...

            As Cuba Gooding Jr. once said to Tom Cruise... "show me the money!!! show me the money!!!"

            If you can... we'll gladly show at that convention...
            cosuna
          • Nokia investors' patience wearing thin ...

            same investor mindset that drove sun microsystem to the gutter ... can't blame them, they are there for the money in the short term !!!
            kc63092@...
        • Microsoft wont need to buy NOKIA

          Elop has been transferring NOKIA's valuable patents into third party companies, many at no cost, where Microsoft gets a cut of the licensing fee (despite making no contribution to developing the patented technologies) and also get to use them as a weapon against their competitors.
          URNumber6
      • Elop is a Troijan or not but...

        Elop cannot own any Microsoft shares, it was part of the contract, when he got hired to Nokia.
        jtvfin@...
        • Actions

          actions must be the wife or child!
          Henrique Dourado
      • He held Microsoft shares when he signed the deal on NOKIA's behalf.

        How on earth can that be legal?
        URNumber6
      • This is mainly just pimp-whore story...

        ...but also sad part of the collapse of Finnish IT story. Finland was once in 1990's one the leading countries in mobile and IT-technology but nowadays far behind the others. It's another story of Finnish stagnation, just like in 1970's when most of Finnish politicians and great deal of advocates believed the everlasting influence of Breznevism and Sovjet socialism.

        During the history Finnish politicians and advocates have done severe miscalculations in politics and business and put people pay the price. Nokia is a death fish because elite of Finland didn't realize that Microsoft is just another Neanderthal of IT.
        Frankie1965
  • On the right path to success

    iPhone is not hot anymore, Android has peaked, only Samsung is selling, but the gimmicks is not going to work anymore. Windows Phone is steadily gaining market share. With Lumia 520 selling for a mere $120, WP will see explosive growth.
    OwlllllNet
    • Gaining by who?

      When you "gain 0.2%" and your competitors are gaining 2-3+%, you are loosing.

      Nokia F-ed up when getting in bed with MS.

      Shareholders would be best to vote Elop out.
      itguy10
      • @ itguy10

        What are you talking about?

        The company is financially well managed even though it has most of its products in declining markets. The company's first goal is to survive. Its next goal is to proliferate. Its third goal is to dominate. And it has been achieving its first goal, hasnt it?

        And Nokia is still working on its second goal. Expect Nokia to reach 20 million smartphone shipments in fiscal year 2013. And then move to ~30-40 million smartphone shipments for fiscal year 2014. Essentially it will see a minimum growth rate of 25% every year in shipment #.

        Why is this a bad company? If any company has trouble, it is HTC with a $2 million book profit. Or Motorola with a $1 billion loss last fiscal year. Or LG with no profits from mobility division and all being streamed from its appliances/display division.

        With atleast $3 billion in cash sitting in the bank, Nokia will survive and proliferate. Expect Lumia 928 to do well. As well as other new Lumia phones.
        calahan
        • "company is financially well managed"

          2013Q1 results show YoY cash reserved down 8%, net sales down %20, a negligible operating profit (EUR3m).

          Such performance is terrible.
          Richard Flude
          • How much...

            How much of that spend was charges related to restructuring? Nokia has been reorganizing, closing offices and factories, outsourcing support functions, etc. to cut costs, but those changes come with one-time charges that take a huge chunk of what might have been profit.

            The organization has settled now, though, and the turbulence is much less pronounced. Restructuring charges won't have such a profound impact on upcoming quarters.
            jeffdp@...
        • comment from Calahan about future sales figures for Nokia

          Excuse me for saying this but. Do you by any chance work for Microsoft. You seem to know your figures very well and have some insight into percentages of what is yet to come. Crystal balls still don't work that well or accurate. Just wondering, that's all.
          Angtech