September 14, 2010, 4:59 PM — Optimism and confidence are admirable qualities. Premature triumphalism, not so much.
Still, you have to give Nokia EVP of marketing Niklas Savander credit for taking on the job of stoking up the 3,000 attendees at the company's annual conference and developer summit. As TechCrunch reports, Savander proclaimed during his keynote speech at the London event that "Nokia is back."
Which, of course, is ridiculous. The Finnish mobile device manufacturer is undergoing a period of high-level transition prompted by its weakening position in the smartphone market and a steep drop in earnings and stock price, all of which led the company to announce just last week that it is replacing CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop.
On top of that, just yesterday Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of mobile solutions (and a Nokia board member), announced he was leaving the company. Vanjoki also made an appearance on the Nokia World stage, which really must have stoked up the crowd. We're in this thing together, right to the end!
Elop, who takes the helm a week from today, is a bit more realistic about the road ahead, which could be why he didn't attend what is supposed to be (and rightly so) a feel-good, cheerleading event. At a news conference last week announcing his appointment as Nokia CEO, Elop said his job was to "lead this team through the period of change, take the organization through this period of disruption…to meet the needs of its customers, while delivering superior financial performance.”
Not exactly "back" talk, if you know what I mean, but the guy at least seems to understand the formidable challenges facing the company, otherwise known as Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and RIM's BlackBerry.
All that being said, it wasn't as if Savander was stuck up on stage with nothing more than empty platitudes and expressions of Nordic confidence. Actually, he was, at least until Vanjoki joined him to unveil three new smartphones, called the C6, C7 and E7. (Whoever at Nokia named these devices must be a musician on the side, because all three are common chords.) TechCrunch's Steve O'Hear has a rundown on the trio of Nokia devices, all of which use the Symbian^3 open source operating system.