Nokia boss on a "burning platform"

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Nokia boss on a "burning platform"

Time for transformation.

Nokia boss Stephen Elop has told staff in a leaked memo that Nokia is a “burning platform”, days before a highly anticipated strategy update on Friday.

“I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform. And, we have more than one explosion - we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us,” wrote Elop in a widely-published memo to staff.

His comments came as speculation mounts over whether the former mobile kingpin will pair up with Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 system. Android dethroned Nokia's Symbian-based phones late last year as the world's most popular smartphone operating system. 

Elop conceded Symbian was not meeting consumer requirements, stifling product development and prevented it from taking advantage of new hardware platforms.

He painted a grim and revealing picture of Nokia’s own failing, blaming its sliding position on a lack of accountability and failure to innovate fast enough.  

“We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time,” he said.

Specifically, the company missed the huge shift towards “ecosystems” -- of developers, applications and ad networks -- rather than devices. Apple's iPhone changed the market in 2007 and now “owns the high-end range”, he said.  

“The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems,” wrote Elop.

“Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem.”

The new style of warfare accelerated once Google launched Android, with Elop noting that within two years Google hit both the high- and low-end of the mobile price spectrum.   

“Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core,” said Elop.

The third major assault Nokia faced came from from the lightning speed productivity of Chinese OEMs, which are quickly taking share from emerging markets.

“They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us,” he said.

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