I used to be in the wireless industry back in the day. Back when Motorola was king, then an upstart named Nokia came along with sweet software for its handsets that knocked Motorola back on its heels in a way it's never really recovered from. Nokia used to be king.
Last week, I riffed a post entitled "Great Moments in CEO Communiation: Nokia's CEO Tells the Troops "We Suck", which featured the CEO of Nokia (Stephen Elop) sending a memo to all employees talking about the wireless device provider having its lunch eaten by Apple on the high end and by Droid on the low end.
It was good stuff. But once you say you suck, you've kind of raised the bar for what comes next cuturally in your company. You see, Elop pointed his troops as follows:
"We are working on a path forward -- a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.
If you haven't read the memo referenced in the link at the start of this post, I'd encourage you to do that. It's a scathing rebuke of a culture grown soft and non-innovative. So much so, when you finally get to the line I shared above, you're thinking, "this guy is really going to blow it all up. He's going to roll the dice in a way that can get Nokia back in the game. All or nothing, he's going to take a huge swing on 2/11/11.
So what was Elop's big strategy move? A partnership with Microsoft to provide the operating system for all Nokia smartphones moving forward. Wow. That's some sizzle. (PS, Elop came from Microsoft...)
The market responded - Nokia's stock plumetted double digits.
The lesson? When you call your company a burning platform, when you say the Chinese can develop and deliver a handset in the time it takes us to review a powerpoint presentation, when you call out your employees and the culture you live in....
...you better bring more than annoucing that you're loading Windows on every smartphone you produce.
I like the new Windows mobile software. So much so that when I was in an AT&T store, I asked a rep about it. I said it was smooth and then asked the key question - "are you selling any of these?"
AT&T Rep - "I like it too, but I haven't sold a single handset with the new Windows OS - and we've had it for 3 months"....
Somewhere, Apple and Google execs have crossed off Nokia as a threat to their wireless platform business... My take is we'll see another letter from another Nokia CEO 2 years from now...