Nokia’s shareholders and investors made their displeasure perfectly known to CEO Stephen Elop at the company’s AGM late last night, as the company continued to struggle in its attempts to recapture its lost smartphone market share. With Elop’s two-year transition from Symbian to the Windows Phone platform now over, investors are becoming increasingly impatient at the lack of progress in what is now an ever-competitive smartphone industry, lead by Apple and Samsung.
While the new Windows Phone 8 operating system continues to progress at its own pace, Microsoft’s mobile operating system is still slow in gaining traction among consumers, with the platform only earning 2% market share last year. In Q1 this year, Nokia sold 5.6 million Lumia smartphones running on Windows Phone 8 – which pales in contrast to the 70.7 million smartphones sold that same quarter by market leaders Samsung.
As a result, Elop was forced to face the wrath of investors with ever-thinning patience. “You’re a nice guy … and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it’s not enough… Please switch to another road,” a shareholder told Elop. The investors’ displeasure was further intensified when Elop reiterated his vision of a Windows Phone ecosystem led by Nokia, and flatly refused the option of a “Plan B” – the option of producing smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system together with the Lumia line.
Despite the Q1 numbers showing some growth for Nokia, it remains to be seen if the next quarter’s growth – expected to be spearheaded by two new flagship Lumia devices and a new Asha feature phone lineup – will be adequate for Nokia shareholders, who have seen the company’s share price plunge from a heady 65 Euros in 2000, to a miserly 2.72 Euros.