Nokia CEO Stephen Elop came under heavy fire from shareholders, as investors weary with the Finnish vendor's failure to compete with Apple and Samsung Electronics told the company they were running out of patience with its strategy of using Microsoft's Windows Phone software.
According to several reports of comments made at Nokia's annual general meeting in Helsinki, investors questioned the wisdom of continuing to use Windows Phone in Nokia's Lumia-branded products.
"You're a nice guy...and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it's not enough," shareholder Hannu Virtanen told Elop, according to a Reuters report. "Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road," he said.
Such comments came only shortly after Elop had said Nokia would continue to focus on Windows Phone to compete with Google's Android and Apple's iOS. The Finnish vendor has also just unveiled its next high-end Lumia smartphone, the 928, and is reportedly on the brink of announcing an agreement with Verizon Wireless to sell Lumia device through the U.S. operator.
"We make adjustments as we go. But it's very clear to us that in today's war of ecosystems, we've made a very clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line," Elop said. "And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and Android."
Recent Lumia sales have been more promising, with shipments reaching 5.6 million units in the first quarter. However, this is still far below units leading manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung, as indicated by recent figures for smartphone shipments in the first quarter. Analysts say Lumia sales are simply not strong enough yet to ensure the future survival of Nokia.
Juha Varis, senior portfolio manager at Danske Capital, which owns Nokia shares, said Elop may be making a mistake. "He has closed doors," he told Reuters. "They don't have new ideas now. Their fate is all in Windows Phones."
Elop's comments indicate that Nokia does not have a "Plan B," however this is clearly worrying shareholders. Analysts have suggested the company might be better off focusing on mid- to low-range devices, such as the new Asha range, rather than competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung.
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