Late last month, rumors began to swirl that Nokia's fearless leader may be closer than ever to grabbing hold of his golden parachute, and with the frustrations surrounding the company's inability to keep pace with other smartphone producers, it's certainly a believable whisper. Today, those sharks are still looking for answers, and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo attempted to give some during today's address to shareholders. One choice quote came right off the top, with OPK stating the following:
"By combining services with devices, Nokia is in a stronger position to grow and create more value for our shareholders. We still have plenty of work to do, but we have built a solid foundation. We believe in our strategy."
He then went on to list some of the many, many fruitful things that the company has delivered over the past few months (sadly not elaborating on the business shift), noting that Ovi Mail now has eight million registered users, Life Tools would be headed to China "soon," and that his company shipped some 432 million devices globally last year -- more than its top three rivals combined. Of course, it's not the sum that investors are worried about, it's the apparent inability to seriously chase the Apples, HTCs, LGs and Samsungs of the world in the smartphone space. To that end, Kallasvuo asserted that in 2010, the company will "introduce a new generation of devices that is expected to help close the gap with the competition in high-end smartphones," and he continued by claiming that Nokia's approach "has been to concentrate on fewer, competitive products that bring the features of Symbian-based smartphones to more and more people around the world." The head-honcho certainly understands the rough position his outfit is in, confessing that Nokia is "working hard to reclaim leadership in high-end smartphones and mobile computers," and also informing the world that the company's next "mobile computer" will be humming along on MeeGo. Best of luck out there, OPK -- it's certainly going to take more than a snazzy Symbian^3 marketing campaign to regain the attention of these Android and iPhone OS loyalists.

Update: The full speech has now been posted [PDF], and unfortunately, there really aren't any juicy tidbits to extract. Typical corporate speak from top to bottom.
Show full PR text
Kallasvuo addresses Nokia AGM, says 2010 a key year
May 06, 2010

Helsinki, Finland - Nokia has built a solid foundation for future success, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told shareholders Thursday.


"By combining services with devices, Nokia is in a stronger position to grow and create more value for our shareholders," Kallasvuo said. "We still have plenty of work to do, but we have built a solid foundation. We believe in our strategy."

Nokia's strategy is based on the vision of a future that is truly mobile. People increasingly live their lives in ways that are free from the constraints of place; they want to be able to access and experience the things that matter to them, and share those experiences with others, wherever they are and whatever they happen to be doing.

Kallasvuo said about 83 million people around the world are already registered active users of Nokia services, which increasingly are included with the purchase of a Nokia mobile device.

As evidence of Nokia's achievements thus far, Kallasvuo cited the following statistics:

- The Ovi Store, which opened a year ago this month, is now averaging about 1.7 million downloads a day. There are also localized versions of the store in 18 countries, supporting 30 different languages.

- Nokia's free pedestrian and car navigation software has been downloaded more than 10 million times since it was launched in January. The service is now available for more than 70 countries and in more than 45 languages.

- Comes With Music, which makes millions of songs available for download at no extra cost for up to a year with the purchase of certain Nokia devices, was recently launched in China and India - two of the world's largest and fastest-growing markets.

- Nokia Messaging is growing rapidly, supported by more than 70 operators globally.

- Ovi Mail, which is targeting the billions of potential first-time e-mail users around the world, has registered 8 million subscriptions. That's a rate of about 1 million subscribers a month.

- Nokia Life Tools is providing people in India and Indonesia with agricultural information, educational services and entertainment. In less than a year, it has attracted more than 1.5 million paying subscribers, and Kallasvuo announced the service will soon be extended to China.

Kallasvuo said the rapidly growing demand for applications, games and other mobile content is no longer just a Western phenomenon. "It's a global trend that plays to one of Nokia's strengths, our global presence," he said.

Kallasvuo cited the success of a Finnish company, Offscreen Technologies, which makes a variety of mobile applications. People from virtually every country in the world have downloaded Offscreen's apps with Nokia devices more than 25 million times.

In reviewing Nokia's performance in 2009, Kallasvuo noted that the company sold 432 million devices worldwide - more than its top three competitors combined. 2009 marked Nokia's 12th consecutive year as the world's largest manufacturer of mobile devices.

But 2009, Kallasvuo noted, was a difficult year, due to a weak global economy. "The recession coincided with our transformation, as well as changes in our device portfolio. With all these factors together, it resulted in a decrease in operating profit and earnings per share, compared with 2008. Despite the challenging conditions, Nokia continued to maintain strict controls on costs and has maintained a solid financial position," Kallasvuo said.

This year, Nokia is planning to introduce a new generation of devices that is expected to help close the gap with the competition in high-end smartphones, Kallasvuo said.

"Our approach has been to concentrate on fewer, competitive products that bring the features of Symbian-based smartphones to more and more people around the world. And we are well on our way to doing that."

In addition, Nokia is continuously improving the experience and value of Ovi services that are tightly integrated with its devices, creating reasons for people to start using them and to come back again and again.

Kallasvuo expressed optimism about the MeeGo software platform, which will be used for Nokia's next mobile computer.

"We are working hard to reclaim leadership in high-end smartphones and mobile computers." he said. "It is critical that we improve the customer experience with the usability of both our devices and our services."

0 Comments

Nokia 'combining services with devices,' says the board approves