Jorma Ollila reveals his thoughts on Nokia’s strategy with Windows Phones
Jorma Ollila retired in 2006 after his 21 years career in Nokia, taking the company to its most successful point. During that time he had been avoiding attention or publicity but today he accepted the offer of giving an interview with Helsingin Sanomat and spoke for the first time about Nokia’s decision of going with Windows Phone. According to Jorma Ollila the strategy wasn’t a successful one.
He shares that Nokia couldn’t accomplish the desired results by using Microsoft’s operating system to create adequate for competition handsets. Besides that, things went to worse due to the slow decision-making and trust issues inside the board. Jorma Ollila claims that there were assurances from different parts of the organization in 2008 and 2009 that Symbian could become competitive, however apparently the Board put unfounded trust in the accuracy of these same messages. Due to the bad decisions and the low confidence, the products started to launch way behind schedule and all the plans to falter. He mentioned in the interview about the shock he received when the company’s chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa called him on the phone to shoot the news about Nokia’s D&S sale to Microsoft that was about to be announced on the next day. Nokia mobile phones were a significant part of Ollila’s life for so many years that he couldn’t receive the news without a deep grief.
Ollila mentions how Elop was not the first choice for CEO of the company. He describes how he flew to the USA the same year to interview potential candidates over the course of three days. He chose a man at a well-known American company but he doesn’t name that candidate. The only tips he gave to the interviewer were that the executive is in his 50s but he dropped himself from the selection due to personal reasons which left the Board of Nokia with Elop who impressed them with his salesman and decision-making skills.