Nokia to move to Windows Phone, restructures company

11 Feb 2011

Nokia outlined its new strategic direction, including taking on Windows Phone as its primary OS, a major organisational restructure and a focus on getting developing growth markets connected to the internet.

The plan was outlined ahead of its Strategy and Finance Briefing in London, ending speculation as to which direction Nokia will go next after a leaked memo detailed the company’s current struggles in the mobile market.

Mobile operating systems

As previously rumoured, Nokia will form a strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a “global mobile ecosystem.”

Nokia will take on Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform and will leverage this with its hardware optimisation, software customisation, scale and language support.

Nokia and Microsoft will also combine services. Nokia Maps will be “at the heart” of Microsoft products, such as Bing and AdCenter.

Nokia’s application and content store will be integrated into the Microsoft Marketplace. Microsoft will provide developer tools to attract application developers to Nokia devices.

Symbian will now be sidelined as “a franchise platform,” though Nokia expects to sell 150m Symbian devices in the coming years.

MeeGo will become an open-source mobile OS project, though Nokia will still ship a MeeGo product later this year.

Nokia will also have a renewed strategy for feature phones to connect “the next billion people” to their first internet and application experience in growth markets.

Operational structure

Nokia will also restructure its organisation, including changing up its group executive board. Its executive vice-president and former MeeGo head Alberto Torres has stepped down from his role.

The company hopes the new board will “expedite decision-making and improve time-to-market of products and innovations, placing a heavy focus on results, speed and accountability.”

From 1 April, the company will have two distinct business units – Smart Devices and Mobile Phones, focusing on developing high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones.

The Smart Devices unit will help Nokia regain relevance in the smartphone industry, to be led by Jo Harlow, who was Nokia’s senior vice-president in marketing. Devices with a focus on Windows Phone, Symbian, MeeGo and strategic business operations will fall under this section.

The Mobile Devices unit will focus on its drive to get a new audience of 1bn in growing areas online. This will be lead by Mary McDowell, who was Nokia’s executive vice-president of Nokia’s Mobile Phones unit.

Many other areas of the company have been restructured, including its location and advertising business, its services and developer experience area and its CTO office.