Scenario 1. The Trojan horse
Microsoft noticed in 2009-2010 that it was in deep trouble. There was a risk, as the industry moved towards mobile devices and away from the desktop, that Microsoft would be left out. Microsoft was about to loose its core business in the long run to Apple and Google. So, they came up with a brilliant plan. Behind the scenes Microsoft would influence the attitudes of the American institutions that still hold power in Nokia. The American investors pressure the Board of Directors to change the CEO due the reason that Nokia has been underperforming in the USA market. They even blackmail the Chairman, Jorma Ollila by threatening to dismantle the Board of Directors by voting against it in the next general meeting if this doesn’t happen. The Chairman gives in and fires the current CEO, O.P Kallasvuo. At this point everyone inside Nokia still believes that the reason behind this move is the American investors dissatisfaction towards the situation in the USA market. The truth starts to settle in when Ollila’s number one candidate for CEO, Anssi Vanjoki, gets rejected by the American investors and institutions. They demand that the new CEO needs to have a software background and experience of the North-American market – he needs to be an American. Along comes Stephen Elop who pleases everyone. Ollila appoints Elop as the CEO but stresses that Elop is to concentrate only on implementing the existing strategy that the Board of Directors has agreed on. When in reality Microsoft has been behind this all along, acting behind the curtains, behind the American institutions. Microsoft has succeeded; they now have their own marionette running Nokia. With the support of Microsoft and the power they have over the American investors Elop goes to work. He throws Nokia’s old strategy, the one that he was supposed to implement, out of the window. And partners with Microsoft and by doing so secures their future.
Scenario 2. Elop the Conqueror
Ollila realises that Apple and Google are getting away. He drafts a plan to get Nokia back in the game. He hires Elop for the CEO post due to his talents and expertise in software and knowledge of the American market. Elop goes to work and realises that the current strategy isn’t strong enough. Apple and Google are getting away and MeeGo isn’t ready. He uses his contacts in Microsoft and begins negotiations with the company. He knows that Microsoft’s current mobile strategy is going nowhere without Nokia. He pressures the company and gives them two options. Either to bend to his terms or face the possibility of “extinction”. Elop gets the better deal, a new operating system and services for a very reasonable price. Nokia gets what it wants and is back in the game quicker than anyone thought was possible. Apple and Google can still be beaten. He knows that the other WP7 manufactures will most likely dump WP7 after this announcement and concentrate on Android. It doesn’t matter; Nokia has it own OS again. Elop keeps MeeGo alive. His plan is to use Microsoft to get back in the saddle. To make Nokia strong, destroy Apple’s and Google’s plans, conquer America and then introduce MeeGo as the new super-duper OS for phones and tablets.
Which one do you believe more? If you have a better scenario please do share!
Update 13.2.2011: At MWC in Barcelona during a Q&A session voice from the audience asked Elop “are you a trojan horse?” Elop: “I’ll take that question. The obvious answer is no. We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night.”