Nokia (NYSE:NOK) CEO Stephen Elop told shareholders that the company discussed the MeeGo operating system with a host of handset makers but found that only one of the companies was interested in the OS. Nokia discussed MeeGo--which it jointly developed with Intel last year--with HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Samsung, according to comments Elop made at Nokia's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday.
"One manufacturer was fairly interested in MeeGo and the others have their own plans, and they were not particularly interested in MeeGo," Elop said, according to the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. "They were afraid that Nokia had too much power in MeeGo."
Nokia plans to release one MeeGo device this year, but Elop said it will not be a tablet. LG confirmed last month that it was interested in MeeGo, but has declined to say whether it will produce MeeGo mobile devices. "At this point in time, LG has no definitive plans to mass produce MeeGo devices other than for automobile infotainment systems," LG spokesman Ken Hong told FierceWireless. "We will continue to participate in MeeGo working groups as part of our innovation and partnership strategy but in what particular areas, I am not at liberty to say for competitive reasons."
In the wake of Nokia's decision to ally with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to use Windows Phone 7 as Nokia's primary smartphone platform, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Intel would work to find other vendors to support MeeGo.
During the meeting, shareholders and analysts pressed Nokia on its strategy and why it took so long for Nokia to switch direction. According to the Helsingin Sanomat report, CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood accused Nokia of "wandering aimlessly for years as in a dream."
"First of all, Nokia's management has not wandered in a dream. Nokia's strategy has been quite clear, because we saw this change, and we have the steps for how to move ahead," Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila said. "As far as Symbian is concerned, we saw the forthcoming change on the basis of the demands of our customers, but we are not able to influence it as quickly as we should have."
Ollila confirmed that he will step down as chairman of the company next year, but will stay on through the transition to Windows Phone. "I am committed to continue at the job and do my bit. Throwing in the towel due to earlier difficulties is not my way of doing things," Ollila said, adding: "It was a tough year, and I expect the year ahead to be a tough one, too."
Nokia said last month it will slash 4,000 jobs and outsource its Symbian software activities--and an additional 3,000 employees--to Accenture as part of its transition to Windows Phone.
- see this Helsingin Sanomat article
- see this Reuters article
- see this AFP article
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