Nokia chairman says the company has a contingency plan beyond Windows Phone

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Chairman Risto Siilasmaa said the company has a contingency plan in place if Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 fails to live up to expectations. However, the executive said he is confident that the platform will succeed and in Nokia CEO Stephen Elop's decision to back Windows Phone.

nokia risto siilasmaa

Siilasmaa

In his first public comments since becoming Nokia's chairman in May, Siilasmaa said that Nokia made the right decision to migrate from its aging Symbian platform to Windows Phone. "Symbian's market share has come down close to zero," he said, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.

Elop has repeatedly said Nokia is investing in "future disruptions" that are separate from the company's commitment to Windows Phone, but the handset maker has revealed few details of those plans.

Microsoft last month unveiled its revamped Windows Phone 8 platform, which will be released later this year. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and U.S. Cellular have all voiced support for the platform, and greater carrier support is seen as crucial to Windows Phone gaining more traction in the market. Along with Nokia, HTC, Huawei and Samsung have also committed to releasing Windows Phone 8 devices this year.

Siilasmaa also defended Elop's stewardship of Nokia since Elop arrived in the fall of 2010. "He came in at a tough time," Siilasmaa said, adding that Elop's management style had been "good and transparent."

In June Nokia said it would cut an additional 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013 and it lowered its outlook for the second quarter. Siilasmaa said the cuts are difficult but that Nokia will continue to make them until its competitiveness is restored, according to YLE.

In an interview last week with Finnish national newspaper Aamulehti, Elop acknowledged Nokia's missteps. "We had moments in the past year and a half when we could have done some things differently had we known that the industry was changing so rapidly," Elop said. He said one example of this "was the steep price decrease of Android phones in China."

"It happened so fast that Nokia's situation has now become difficult, but we keep honing our strategy."

For more:
- see this YLE article
- see this Reuters article
- see this AFP article

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