Nokia shareholders are not very happy right now with NOK taking a 25 percent hit since the announcement of the Microsoft marriage. Stephen Elop, Nokia's first foreign-born CEO, is taking heat on multiple fronts even as he prostrates himself to the media in hopes of getting his message out. Already, we've heard numerous conspiracies calling Elop a "trojan horse," sent by Steve Ballmer to sabotage Nokia from within. Conspiraloons are quick to point to records showing Elop holding a significant number of Microsoft shares -- a situation that Elop says is temporary (and outdated) having already sold a majority of his Microsoft position with plans to sell off the rest in favor of Nokia stock just as soon as he's free to do so under regulatory moratoriums meant to prevent insider trading. Nevertheless, Nokia will be facing at least two very real showdowns on its near-term horizon.
First, will be a battle with the Finnish trade union Pro which is demanding €100,000 (in addition to severance payments) for every Nokia employee that loses their job under Elop's new strategy -- money the unions says will be used for reeducation. The union estimates that Nokia could cut as many as 25% (5,000 people) of Nokia's 20,000 workers located in Finland. The second major hurdle facing Elop, and the board of directors that appointed him, will come at Nokia's Annual General Meeting for shareholders. Already, a cabal of nine frustrated shareholders have been grabbing attention with its "Nokia Plan B" proposal to oust Stephen Elop and return Nokia to a MeeGo focus giving Symbian a five-year minimum reprieve. The group has since disbanded after its plan was rejected by institutional investors. Nevertheless, we don't expect Symbian / MeeGo fans and developers to give up without a fight, and we expect Helsinki Fair Centre's Amfi Hall to be center-ring when the event kicks off on May 3rd in Helsinki.
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