Nokia CEO admits failure to foresee fast-changing industry


07:47 PM June 28th, 2012

June 28th, 2012 07:47 PM

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop speaks during the company's press conference in Espoo, Finland, on June 14, 2012. Elop admitted on Thursday, June 28, 2012, that his company had failed to foresee rapid changes in the mobile phone industry and that this was partly behind the firm's problems. AP/LEHTIKUVA, KIMMO MANTYLA

HELSINKI—Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop admitted on Thursday that his company had failed to foresee rapid changes in the mobile phone industry and this was partly behind the firm’s problems.

“We had moments in the past year and a half when we could have done some things differently had we known that the industry was changing so rapidly,” Elop told Finnish national daily Aamulehti.

One example of Nokia’s misreading of the markets “was the steep price decrease of Android phones in China,” he said.

“It happened so fast that Nokia’s situation has now become difficult, but we keep honing our strategy.”

Nokia recently lost the world No. 1 ranking it had held for 14 years as it attempts to survive on the rapidly changing landscape, with stiff competition from RiM’s Blackberry, Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android platform.

The company has been undergoing a major restructuring in the past 18 months, phasing out its Symbian line of smartphones in favor of a partnership with Microsoft.

It recently announced that massive new spending cuts and 10,000 more layoffs would be needed, in addition to the some 12,000 layoffs already announced in the past year and a half.

Adding to Nokia’s problems was an announcement by Microsoft late last week that its Windows 8 upgrade would not work on Nokia’s new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 900 model, which it launched earlier this year.

That caused Nokia’s share price to shed 10 percent on Monday to 1.73 euros, its lowest point since August 1996 when it hit 1.71 euros, and down from 4 euros at the beginning of the year.

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