AH Tech Talk: Will the Dormant Nokia Board Finally Wake Up If Stephen Elop Quits to Become Microsoft's CEO?

I'll just come out and say it. Nokia has had one of the worst boards in the tech industry, over the past decade - possibly even worse than the HP one (the one that hired Leo Apotheker). Why is it so bad? Because they always seem to be sleeping and not doing their job - which is to keep an eye on the CEO, and on what he's doing with the company.

If the CEO is way off-track and taking the company on a very wrong path, then it's their job to swiftly eliminate and replace him or her. Otherwise they risk seeing the company die under their watch, or at the very least see the shareholders they're supposed to represent lose a lot of money, if they don't react quickly.

Nokia's board kept Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as CEO for 4 years after the iPhone came out, when his only strategy was to keep pushing Symbian. Four years! That's like an eternity in the smartphone industry. Companies have risen and fallen in that time. The board should've made sure the CEO is pushing for a modern OS as soon as Apple released the iPhone, and they should've accelerated that work after Android came out. But no, instead they left Olli do his things with Symbian until the end of 2011. Again, the board was sleeping on the job.

That alone almost ensured Nokia would never be a huge smartphone player again. But if there was any doubt about that, they put the last nail in the coffin when they hired Stephen Elop from Microsoft, and when they decided it's actually a good idea to limit themselves to Windows Phone only, and not use multiple operating systems like others, and see what sells best. That's what a more reasonable company would've done.

At the time many called Elop a trojan horse, or a mole for Microsoft, and that he's there to actually work for Microsoft and Microsoft's interests, and not Nokia's.  If this rumor that Elop is on a shortlist of candidates for the CEO position at Microsoft is true, and he actually takes the job if they offer it to him, then he will confirm every one of those assumptions - that he always cared about doing stuff for Microsoft, rather than Nokia, which implied always refusing to use Android, and always pushing for WP inside the company, no matter what, whether that was a good move for Nokia or not.

So my question is, if Elop goes to Microsoft, will the Nokia board finally do the right thing and adopt Android, too, and try to gain some real sales into the smartphone market? Or will it continue to be asleep, and let Elop run Nokia even when he's at Microsoft? If they let him do that, and Elop promoting Nokia's devices even more while at Microsoft, then I see zero reasons for every other manufacturer to continue supporting WP8.

Since Nokia has 80 percent of the 3.7 percent global market share of WP8, that means all the other manufacturers supporting WP8 have less than 1 percent of the smartphone market - combined. They'd probably be more successful at this point making their own OS, if they really want an alternative to Android. It's pretty obvious the WP market is closed to them, since both Microsoft and consumers seem to overwhelmingly prefer Nokia's WP phones over theirs. At this point they're just throwing money away when investing in WP8.

If they finally realize that, too (and I think they will soon), Nokia will remain alone in the WP market, which means it will be a lot harder to promote the "WP platform" on their own to other smartphone users who already have Android devices or iPhones. Maybe then Nokia's board and the new CEO will realize it would be a good move to support Android, too (and not just as an afterthought).

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