Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nokia CEO to Face Frustrated Shareholders

Nokia's Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is reported to be coming under pressure to turn around the firm's fortunes in the face of growing competition in the smartphone market. The Reuters news agency reported that Kallasvuo could give his last speech to shareholders later this week if Nokia cannot roll out a serious challenger to Apple's iPhone for the key holiday-sales season at end of the year.

Analysts told Reuters that Nokia could in the near future replace Kallasvuo - who himself has done a reasonable job - to soothe investors.

Analysts at Jefferies cut Nokia's rating to "underperform" last week after the earnings report, saying: "Much appears amiss still with Nokia -- pressure on management may yet precipitate changes, a potential crumb of relief amidst the gathering gloom."

The company has also seen its market share slip to just 7 percent in the critical US market, where touchscreen handsets have soared in popularity since the Apple iPhone was launched.

The company has recently redoubled its focus on mobile services with its Ovi store and offering free navigation and music download services to new customers. The move is thought by some though to have distracted the company from its core competency of designing mobile phones.

However, despite the complaints about the lack of smartphone focus, the bulk of the handset market is still in the basic models, especially in developing markets, although these offer much tighter margins than smartphones with their associated content downloads can deliver.

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