back to article Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop scores gig as chief innovator for Australia's top telco

Former Nokia boss and victim of Microsoft's acquisition of a business it didn't know how to run, Stephen Elop, is headed to the antipodes for a role with Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra. Elop ended up with Microsoft as part of Nokia's exit from the handset business – something he was intimately involved with, since it …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The fucking executive merry-go-round strikes again. I hope Elop achieves, for his new employer, exactly what he achieved for Nokia. They deserve this for their blinkered hiring practices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ROFL

      I hope Elop achieves, for his new employer, exactly what he achieved for Nokia.

      What, epic success?

      For Nokia Group, Elop delivered handsomely, securing a $7.2bn price for a business that had made itself totally unable to compete in its core market, and that the buyer then had to write down (plus another half a billion of costs) a year later.

      The state of Nokia Phones when Elop joined might have been salvable, but I doubt it. The business unit had its chance and blew it in the five year period 2005-2010, and Elop worked in the best interests of his paymasters, Nokia shareholders. Spending another five years trying to sort the business out, and claw market share in the largely profitless Android market would have been hugely risky (eg look at Blackberry bobbing about in the bowl, trying the resist the flush), but Elop instead found somebody willing to pay to take the wreckage away and then executed that strategy perfectly. And Nokia even got to retake the brand and control of most of the IP.

      Old school Nokia fans might be blinded by emotion, I'm, not. Elop demonstrated commercial genius, and I take my hat off to him.

      1. xbit

        Re: ROFL

        Do you really think that Nokia shareholders were happy with his performance? Nokia's share price collapsed by 80% under his tenure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ROFL

          Nokia's share price collapsed by 80% under his tenure.

          Don't take at face value the dross on Wikipedia. Whilst correct, it carefully avoids the fact that the decline started in 2008, with the price shedding €20 per share in the two years prior to his arrival.

          It is a fact that under Elop the share price fell by around €9 per share (ignoring the €3-4 dead cat bounce on sale of the phones business) but that reflects the damage done prior to his arrival, whilst Nokia management faffed and fought each other rather than bringing an iPhone competitor to market that people actually wanted to buy.

          Lots of people round here have said "I'd like to buy a Nokia with Android" and seem to think that (or Sailfish) were credible options. FIrefox, Tizen, Ubuntu show that "new" phone OSs aren't heavily in demand from the market. And the dismal profits for the majority of Android makers show there's no money for the hardware OEMs in that. The only other option would have been to revamp the existing and ancient Symbian - which is what they'd been trying for years with S1, 2, 3, Anna and Belle, and Maemo et al. That hadn't worked, and clearly wasn't going to work.

          Elop knew that when you're in a hole you stop digging, a concept alien to those who wish Nokia phones had stayed as a credible independent entity.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: ROFL

            Meego hadn't worked because it hadn't been given chance too, ithe N9 was not launched in any market that mattered.

            Symbian was updated until it was lumped together with the strangled-at-birth Meego and declared a failure.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        on the other hand

        You could argue the sale to MS was the long game all along and employing Elop was a good way to create the partnership to enable an easy sale.

        He came along, flailed around and put the division in a position to be sold at just the right time MS were looking to buy such an operation to expand their mobile business.

        The commercial genius wasn't Elop, it was the people who employed him to make a complete mess and then use his contact to sell off their troubled mobile Nokia division.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: ROFL

        Nokia were the number one in the market until they collapsed practically overnight with the Burning Platform memo in February 2011.

        The Communities Dominate blog maintains that Nokia X, negotiations with MS, and the sale were carried out by the Nokia Board, not Elop. At that point Elop wasn't even trusted with being in charge of the staff canteen.

        1. Terry Barnes

          Re: ROFL

          They were already in deep trouble by the time of that memo, hence that memo. Nokia was months from terminal failure, Elop did a great job with a business circling the plughole.

          1. DonL

            Re: ROFL

            @Terry: Not true, our company was buying Nokia phones exclusively and promptly stopped purchasing them completely after the memo. Also, it took them about one year or something before having an alternative (MS OS) phone ready. They were effectively a massive company without having any viable product to sell or transition path. That is was caused the colapse. Before the memo/Elop they were the market leader and the market share was only declining slowly in a growing market.

        2. toughluck

          Re: ROFL

          @Dan 55: The aptly-named Dominies Communicate blog has a point by point review of claims laid out by Tomi Ahonen. In a word: Don't trust that guy.

  2. toughluck

    Elop possesses two inimitable qualities

    1. Innate sense of customer expectations

    2. Propensity to ignore said sense when making decisions.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Elop possesses two inimitable qualities

      At first I was thinking wtf were they thinking, but you raise an excellent point. Those qualities are really a perfect cultural fit.

    2. admiraljkb

      Re: Elop possesses two inimitable qualities

      I agree, with a slight corrections:

      1. Innate sense of customer expectations

      2. Do the opposite of what those expectations are, because, well, customers heh?

      3 Be secretly still working for an old employer, making decisions to primarily benefit them

  3. Herby Silver badge

    Peter prniciple at work...

    Promote someone to their level of incompetence. Then they retire (and buy basketball teams).

    I could go on, but why.

    1. getHandle

      Re: Peter prniciple at work...

      Elop has a level of competence?

  4. Spaceman Spiff

    Well, we can say goodbye to Telstra - Elop is the kiss of death for any company that lets him take "control"...

  5. Mikel



  6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Why won't Elop take credit for his own achievements?

    In what way is Elop a victim?

    In short, Ex-Microsoftie Elop put a clause in his Nokia contract that got him a US$25million bonus if Microsoft bought Nokia. The problem was Nokia had twice the smart phone profits of Apple and Samsung combined. It took a combined Osborne and Ratner to trash Nokia to the point where Microsoft could afford it. The bonus was for a Microsoft buyout, not a sale to the highest bidder. Hence the switch to Windows Phone (Nokia factories could not manufacture the required hardware) and Elop's refusal to sell the award winning (iPhone beating!)N9 in large markets even though Nokia's idle factories could build it.

    Elop sent Nokia into the biggest death spiral in business history, but still will not take credit for his outstanding achievement.

  7. Sanctimonious Prick


    Going by his history, what is he likely to bring to this Australian Telco?

    I can think of a few possibilities...

    1/ Replace core networking infrastructure with FBOSS.

    1a/ Then spend millions developing an end user HW version, never to be rolled out as #1 fails to deliver.

    2/ Nothing.

    3/ A devon and tomato sauce sandwich (no butter).

    4/ Outsources everything to X (where X = country of your choice whose English is really, really bad). Which will lead to a lack of communication, then everything falls apart, and is bought by TPG.

    Actually, going by the first comment, he'll probably take more than he brings :/

  8. Lyle Dietz

    Good news!

    I hope he performs as well for Telstra as he did for Nokia.

  9. Mike Echo

    Just great

    Great. Just what we need down here.

  10. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    I didn't know Microsoft were branching out into being a MNO. Bye bye Telstra.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Don't. Even.

      Suggest. It.

  11. mistergrantham

    Telstra + Elop: let the good-times roll...

  12. oldcoder

    Next major Microsoft buyout...

    After all Microsoft has to do something to get a carrier to use/sell/foist off their phones.

  13. Alan Edwards


    The man that single-handedly killed Nokia, IMO.

    The world and their cat could see that Windows Mobile was going nowhere, and he stopped development on *everything else*.

    The N9 and N1 showed what they were capable of, but they weren't allowed to sell them, and the 2520 should have been Atom-based running full Windows.

  14. admiraljkb

    Elop - incompetent or criminal?

    How did Elop not end up in jail? Either he was truly incompetent of the highest levels (which would then be pitiable, but not jailable), or undertook criminal espionage and sabotage actions against a publicly traded company (more likely).

    Pretty obvious that Telstra is in real trouble now. They don't share any board members with Yahoo do they?

    1. Mikel

      Re: Elop - incompetent or criminal?

      He destroyed the economy of Finland.

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Telstra - Elop

    Made for each other.

    Not so good for the (soon to be) poor Australians.

  16. Paul 75

    Makes sense

    After all, it is where criminals and lunatics were traditionally sent in the past.

    1. gryff

      Re: Makes sense

      Indeed. I wasn't aware we still transported people to Australia, but am happy to see a one-off revival of the tradition.

  17. Nunyabiznes


    I swear that this isn't some long game payback for inflicting us with Steve Irwin. Really.

    *(I actually liked Steve's shows - over the top but the kids got interested in outdoors and critters in a way I couldn't get them to.)

  18. Old Handle

    Time to burn another platform

    Telstra employees might want to get a head start looking for a new job.

  19. rtb61

    So I gather the plan is to cripple Telstra, buy the NBN, cripple that and have M$ buy it all to keep Google out for ever by blocking it from the network. Only losephones(how can it be called a winphone) will work properly on the network, only Windows anal probe 10 will work properly on the network.

    Big bonuses going to various players corporate and political into offshore tax havens.

    Seriously why would anyone hire this poison pill after the Nokia escapades unless they were paid off to the tune of millions in offshore tax haven bank accounts. What a crock of shit.

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