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

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.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
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.

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