Nokia's CEO describes the company as "standing on a burning platform" and has warned employees that it has to change the way it works in order to survive in the future. Analysts predict this move will probably see the company abandon its Symbian operating system and move to either Windows 7 or Android. An announcement is expected tomorrow (11 February).
Once the clear-cut market leader in the cell phone space, Nokia has seemingly lost out as customer switch wholesale to smart phones – and not to Nokia's offerings.
In a memo to staff – leaked to technology blog Engadget – CEO Stephen Elop points out that Apple and Google have are eroding Nokia's market share at the high-end, with cheaper Asian imports taking over its emerging market business.
In the memo, Elop likens Nokia to a man standing on a burning platform, unsure of which way to jump.
"I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform," he writes. "And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us."
Elop tells employees that the competition hasn't taken over simply by bringing new devices to market, but by offering entire eco-systems and, although Nokia has developed some innovative technology it has failed to take off.
"The truly perplexing aspect is that we're not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis. The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem."
He also puts forward an argument against Symbian, which analysts have taken to mean Nokia will switch its operating system to one of the more popular platforms like Windows 7 or Android.