Stephen Elop -- formerly of Microsoft -- in a roughly 1,300-word memo to the company's employees that we've received today. Though we can't vouch for the authenticity, it's notable that the memo contains a portion previously reported by The Register and heard by sources at TechCrunch Europe, so it would seem that we've simply received the whole thing. Elop goes on to suggest that his company is "standing on a burning platform" and must "change [its] behavior," suggesting that the adoption of a non-homegrown platform like Android or Windows Phone 7 is a more realistic possibility than ever before.
Update: We've now heard from multiple trusted sources that this memo is indeed real, and was posted to an internal Nokia employee system. That makes it one of the most exciting and interesting CEO memos we've ever seen -- and we're absolutely dying to see how Elop plans to shake things up.
Overall, the communique laments Nokia's lateral movement while Apple and Google have started eating its lunch on the mid- and high end and Shenzhen-based off brands have started to cut into its traditional dominance in emerging markets, leaving Espoo with virtually zero market leadership. It's a stark revelation that seems befitting of a man brought in from the outside -- he's neither Finnish, nor raised in the Nokia system -- and he promises to start revealing the way forward this Friday at the company's Capital Markets Day event where grandiose plans have been unveiled in the past.
Whether the memo is legitimate or not, the frequency and intensity of big-time rumors floating around Nokia ahead of Capital Markets Day (and MWC next week) have been pretty wild: we've heard they'll be announcing a partnership with Microsoft possibly revolving around Windows Phone 7, that a boatload of executives would be shown the door, and that Elop would start looking to Nokia's new Silicon Valley campus as its center of gravity, with execs and senior management expected to start spending more time outside Finland.
We'll know far, far more about what's going on over in Espoo in the next few days, but in the meantime, here are some choice quotes from the memo:
- "...there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem."
- "They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range."
- "Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core."
- "We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market."
- "...Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements..."
- "Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem."
- "We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning."