Group of Nokia Investors Want to Fire CEO Elop for Microsoft Deal

Nokia has found itself on the defensive since announcing its company changing deal with Microsoft on Friday. Now a group of self-described "nine young Nokia shareholders" who have organized under the moniker "Plan B" are planning a revolt at Nokia's Annual General Meeting on May 3, 2011.

They loathe the Microsoft deal and want to remove CEO Stephen Elop. It's not clear how many shares they collectively own; however I'm sure their complaints will resonate with some Nokia shareholders. 

Here is part of their "agenda":

  • Return  the company to a strategy that seeks high growth and high profit margins through innovation and overwhelmingly superior products with unrivaled user experience.
  • Maintain ownership and control of the software layer of the Nokia products. Software is where innovation, differentiation and shareholder value can most easily be created.
  • Avoid at all cost becoming a poorly differentiated OEM with only low margin, commodity products that is unable to attract top software talent and cannot create shareholder value though innovation.

 (Emphasis added.)

Here are some of their proposed "concrete actions" if they're elected to the board (not likely):

  • Immediate discharge of Stephen Elop from his duties as President and CEO of the company
  • Restructure alliance with Microsoft as a tactical exercise focused primarily at the North American market
  • MeeGo will be Nokia’s primary smartphone platform. Increase the lifespan of Symbian to a minimum of 5 years
  • Developer strategy based on Qt with primary focus on MeeGo, but providing a credible developer story for Symbian
  • End of distributed R&D; end of R&D outsourcing
  • Leadership team shakeup
  • Aggressively recruit young software talent from top universities

Nokia's bureaucratic culture and slow decision making put it in the bind it's in now. MeeGo and Symbian are not competitive; it's not clear how long it would take to make them so. Elop's decision was "rational," although arguably he probably should have remained open to Android as well. 

Yet the investors' fears that Nokia will devolve into a "a poorly differentiated OEM with only low margin, commodity products" are not entirely unfounded. This was the reason Elop asserted for shunning Android but it might also happen with Windows Mobile too.