I'm excited to announce that our next CNET Conversation will be with Tero Ojanpera, Nokia's executive vice president of mobile services. Nokia's a fascinating company right now: it recently ousted its CEO and installed the first non-Finnish chief executive in company history, Microsoft exec Stephen Elop.
Thereafter, Nokia lost its head of smartphone development, Anssi Vankoji, who bluntly told the Wall Street Journal he quit because he wasn't appointed CEO. Next out the door will be chairman Jorma Olila, who announced at Nokia World that he'll depart in 2012.
It's rare for a company to be so publicly in flux, and I'm hoping that will make for an interesting interview. Nokia's market share and stock have been in decline, and its U.S. strategy in particular--selling high-priced, unlocked phones with no carrier partnerships or subsidies--has been muddy and unsuccessful. The New York Times this week painted Nokia's corporate culture as one of complacency and fear: reportedly, the company held an iPhone-like prototype in its hands in 2004, and killed the project out of concern over the high risk of developing the device.
To some, Stephen Elop hardly seems like the guy to stage a daring rescue mission. Steve Ballmer damned Elop with faint praise on his way out the door, saying he'd been a "good steward" of the Microsoft Business Division, and analysts said plainly that Elop isn't the visionary the company needs. Meanwhile, pressure mounts for Nokia to reconsider its commitment to the Symbian operating system, and Android is growing and projected to grow even faster over the next few years.
So, what's a flagging Finnish company to do? Come out swinging, if the opening days of Nokia World were to be believed, but will the bravado translate to a real-world corporate turnaround? I'm hoping Ojanpera can offer some answers, and I'd like you to submit your questions in the comments below!