You can only read so many tech blogs “surprised” by Stephen Elop’s move to Nokia, opining that the Finnish phone giant really needed someone like Steve Jobs.
For more perspective, check out this analysis in the British tech pub The Register. A few excerpts:
So modest is Elop’s resume, that he lists his tenure at fast food outlet Boston Chicken Incorporated twice on his LinkedIn profile. (To be precise — Boston Chicken Inc and Einstein Brothers Bagels.)
It’s amazing just how widespread is the perception that Nokia has been left behind. For example, today the BBC, reporting on the change of CEO, tells us that Nokia has “struggled to break into the smartphone market”. This must hurt; Nokia effectively created the smartphone market and has (numerically, at least) led it for a decade. But Nokia’s smartphones really aren’t used as data devices. They’re expensive phones, and the end-user experience has been horrible and getting worse.
Elop’s biggest challenge is that Nokia is more than capable of restoring its fortunes. This was pointed out by Junhani Risku in his recent book on the company. It still has the clever designers and boffins to bring innovations to market. What the CEO needs to do is cut through huge layers of corporate bureaucracy to allow this innovation to flourish. And since Nokia is something of a state institution, this isn’t going to be easy.