Nokia unveils smartphones to rival Apple

 
City A.M. Reporter
MOBILE phone maker Nokia yesterday unveiled the smartphones its new management team will be fighting with, as it tries to win back market share from Apple and Blackberry.

The world’s biggest phone maker, Nokia is engaged in a major management revamp, with the departures of its chief executive and chairman announced last week and its top internal candidate for the chief executive post resigning on Monday after an outsider was chosen for the job.

Nokia still controls around 40 per cent of the global smartphone market volume, but has lost out to Apple and Research in Motion’s Blackberry in the fatter-margin market for the most expensive cellphone models.

“Today our fightback to smartphone leadership shifts into high gear,” Niklas Savander, head of Nokia markets unit, said at the London launch.

The new models – E7, C7 and a new version of the C6 – all come with large touchscreens and use the latest Symbian software.

“The products are a clear improvement... but we know they are not where Nokia needs to be yet, and any other promise around ‘we are working on it’ would have not convinced anyone,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. “A new CEO and the old guard stepping down might give investors more confidence that things are really changing.”

The phones will go on sale before the end of the year at prices ranging from €260-495, excluding subsidies and taxes.


NOKIA CHAIRMAN
JORMA OLLILA

IT’S out with the old and in with the new at Nokia. At the same time as unveiling three new smartphones to join its flagship N8 model, the Finnish company revealed chairman Jorma Ollila, the man credited with making Nokia the world’s largest handset maker, will step down in 2012. Ollila's planned departure follows the exits in recent days of chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and Anssi Vanjoki, the head of Nokia's smartphone unit. Vanjoki, widely seen as heir apparent to the chief executive, quit following Nokia’s decision to appoint Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft’s business division, as its chief executive last Friday. Elop, who takes the reins on 21 September, will be the first non-Finn to lead the company, and it’s clear the company is seeking a new direction. As Nokia struggles to keep pace with its rivals, especially Apple, in the lucrative smartphone market, it would have been difficult for Elop to take the company in a new direction with Ollila still at the top. Ollila, 60 years old, served as Nokia’s chief executive for 14 years, stepping down in 2006.