Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO, Nokia
What makes him powerful: With Nokia's dominance of the worldwide smartphone market slowly but surely eroding, President and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo continues his efforts to transform the company into a true multimedia superpower commanding the futures of the mobile Web, mobile music and mobile gaming.
Nokia's metamorphosis has dominated headlines for close to three years now: In 2007, the firm reintroduced its N-Gage mobile gaming platform, premiered its MOSH mobile social network, acquired mobile advertising provider Enpocket, rolled out its Internet services brand Ovi, purchased navigation software developer Navteq and announced the pending launch of Comes With Music, an all-you-can-eat music download service. The pace continued throughout 2008, with the introduction of new mobile advertising initiatives and even a mobile TV channel, Capsule N96, and culminated earlier this year with the announcement of Ovi Store, a mobile application effort touting a customized and contextually relevant user experience determined by factors like personal contacts and physical whereabouts (or as Nokia calls it, "social location").
But it has not been smooth sailing. Nokia rattled Wall Street by reporting a $834 million loss in the third quarter, its first quarterly net loss since it started reporting quarterly in 1996. Nokia's handset business has grown stagnant: It shipped 108.5 million units in the quarter, up sequentially but down 8 percent from the 117.8 million it shipped in the year-ago quarter, and its total handset market share now stands at 38 percent, unchanged from the second quarter or the year-ago quarter. And a year after the U.K. debut of Comes With Music, digital music research firm Music Ally reported the mobile music effort has signed up slightly more than 107,000 users worldwide. As for Ovi Store, Nokia has not released any download statistics, although its chief of devices Kai Oistamo said in September that users had downloaded 10 million pieces of content and applications since the store's May launch. Compare that to Apple, which surpassed 100 million downloads in the first two months of the App Store's existence and 1.5 billion downloads after a year.
The greatest challenge facing Kallasvuo's Nokia remains co-existing with mobile operators as it evolves from collaborator to direct competitor: The same carriers offering Nokia handsets to their subscribers also offer their own mobile media services, of course. The company also is struggling to keep its head above water in the United States, where its share of the market is just 7 percent--Nokia recently revamped its U.S. operations to collaborate more closely with the four major operators, but it has no device to rival Apple's iPhone, and no major smartphone poised for American release during the upcoming holiday season. Reshaping Nokia is one thing, but the jury is still out on whether Kallasvuo can reshape the mobile multimedia landscape as well as reinvent its brand in the U.S. --Jason