Nokia investors tell chief executive their patience is running out
Investors say current Lumia strategy not enough
Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop was told by shareholders that he should reconsider his decision to switch to the phone operating software made by his former employer Microsoft. Photograph: Reuters/Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva
Many shareholders at the annual general meeting in Helsinki said Elop should reconsider his 2011 decision to switch to the phone operating software made by his former employer Microsoft, which has left them scrambling to get back in the race from a standing start with its new Lumia range of smartphones.
“You’re a nice guy . . . and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it’s not enough,” one shareholder, Hannu Virtanen, told Elop. “Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road,” he said.
The transition to Windows Phone from Nokia’s own Symbian system was meant to take two years. That period is now over, and while recent results have shown growth in sales of Lumia smartphones using Windows Phone 8 software, the volumes pale in comparison with the top Samsung and Apple models, and sales of its regular mobile phones have plunged in the meantime.
Nokia shares have also plunged, now trading at €2.72, a fraction of their €65 peak in 2000.
Asked why they still held Nokia stock despite poor results and a suspension in annual dividends, some older attendants at the AGM admitted to being sentimental.
Elop, however, reiterated the company’s commitment to Windows Phone software. “We make adjustments as we go. But it’s very clear to us that in today’s war of ecosystems, we’ve made a very clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line,” he said. “And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and (Google’s operating system) Android.”