Nokia chairman: We'll continue with cuts to restore competitiveness
In his first public comments since being appointed as Nokia's chairman, Risto Siilasmaa said that decisions the company has made to rebuild its competitive edge have been "extremely painful." Nokia said in mid-June that it would cut an additional 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013 and it lowered its outlook for the second quarter.
"Our duty is above all to ensure that Nokia's competitiveness is restored," Siilasmaa told the Finnish TV broadcaster YLE in an interview, adding that making these painful decisions will continue "for as long as they are necessary."
The chairman also used the interview to defend the choice of Microsoft's Windows Phone as the platform to replace its flagging Symbian operating system, which he said had been in steady decline since 2008.
"Symbian's market share has come down close to zero," said Siilasmaa, adding that the Windows Phone had only been selected after a critical and detailed study of available options.
However, according to he Nokia chairman, the company has a contingency plan in place if the Windows Phone 8 fails to live up to expectations, but said he remained confident that it will be a success.
Analysts have expressed worries that Nokia will be damaged by the fact that Windows Phone 8 will not run on Nokia's current Lumia line of Windows Phones. Older Windows Phones will receive a software update, called Windows Phone 7.8, that delivers a new start screen user interface. However, due to hardware limitations, the older phones will not get the full update.
Responding to criticism of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, the chairman told YLE: "He came in at a tough time," adding that Elop's management style had been "good and transparent." Siilasmaa refused to comment on whether a management shakeup was being planned.
Separately, both Nokia and RIM could be the next two firms to offer large patent portfolios to market, according to Peter Holden, head of the IP investment group at Coller Capital. The interest in patent-based acquisitions has persisted since the 2011 Nortel Networks auction and sectors outside of telecoms are now also attracting significant attention from buyers, reported IAM magazine.
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