Another senior executive at Nokia is leaving the company. Ari Jaaksi, the VP of Meego devices, is on his way. He is claiming the usual "personal reasons" and, of course, he wants to spend more time with his family. Martyn Warwick reports.
Things are not going well at the Finnish handset manufacturer. In recent weeks there has been a spate of resignations of senior staff that have shaken Nokia to its woody roots (the company began life back in 1865 as a "forest industry enterprise" in the village of Nokia, just outside the city of Tampere).
The departed chairman, CEO and president of the company's all-important smart-phone division have now been joined by Mr. Jaaksi (known irreverently throughout the English-speaking journalist community as "Up Your") who was VP of the Meego, the joint venture that links Maemo (Nokia's version of then Linux operating system) with Moblin, Intel's open source project.
November sees the first Meego Summit. It is to be held in Dublin and it was expected that the first jv devices would be announced at that meeting although, according to Intel, no Meego phones will be on the market until "sometime in 2011". That said, many analysts expect that demo devices at least will be on show at the GSMA's Mobile World conference and exhibition in Barcelona in February next year.
However, even though the Nokia denies the possibility that the Meego program could be blown off course, the reality is that the latest high-level resignation is another shock the company and investors could do without as Apple and Android phones continue to bite chunks out of Nokia's declining market share.
Even though Nokia's Symbian OS remains the world leader, a new survey from Neilsen Co. shows that 32 per cent of all new smart-phones bought in the US in the first half of 2010 run on Gogle's Android OS whilst 26 per cent of consumers picked BlackBerrys and 25 per cent chose the iPhone.
Nokia is under seige and Meego, whilst not exactly a last desperate throw of the dice for the company, is a highly-significant project. It is no exaggeration to say that Nokis is betting the barn, if not the farm, on the new jv software that will power its future generation of smartphones and tablet devices.
With this no doubt in mind, Nokia has moved as quickly as it could to minimise fallout from the latest precipitate resignation and Mr. Jaaksi has been replaced by Alberto Torres, a Nokia veteran widely regarded within the company and without as a safe pair of hands.
His remit is to get Meego devices on the market at all costs and he has been given carte blanche to cut a wide swathe through the "design by committee" and embedded bureaucracy that has acted as a dragging sea-anchor on Nokia in recent years and has put a such a brake on technological innovation.
And with the popular Symbian OS now relegated for future use only on Nokia's mid-range kit, an awful lot is riding on the success - and successful uptake - of the Meego products.
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