Where are they now? Stephen Elop on Nokia, disruption and Transformation

| December 27, 2016 | 21 Replies

I was reading one of the comments and led me to wonder, what was Stephen Elop, ex Nokia CEO doing now? I met him some years ago as Nokia community ambassador in Finland, Nokia House. It was still a hopeful time of what Nokia could do in the ever changing market.

Last I heard (as I stopped blogging for a while) he was at MS when Nokia devices and services was purchased. It turns out, he’s now at Telstra (we made a post recently about Teltra shutting down their 2G network, makes sense now eh haha, joke).  He’s been there for 9 months now.

Elop gives an interesting speech about disruption and transformation. It’s somewhat quite similar to what we’ve heard from the past, just tailored more towards the Telstra audience. He says either:

  1. you are the disrupting entity
  2. are agents of transformation or
  3. transformation is thrust upon you under difficult circumstances.

I agree that technology industries are constantly faced with such disruption and it is about how do they anticipate the change, how do they counter a change and if they’re lucky enough, how do they advance a change ahead of everyone else? How do we change the rules but make sure everyone still wants to play the same game? It’s a simple analogy yet is the strongest one that sticks in my mind. You may have others :).

Elop shares his background at Macromedia, Microsoft and the difficult period of Nokia. Of course, amongst Nokia fans, he is well known for his burning platform memo.


Feb 11 when Nokia made a spectacular turn around, against their own software and even against that of google, and went with funnily enough, an unproven mobile option, Windows. All the details are slightly hazy now. I remember some parts making sense and some parts being utterly “wtf is this, are they purposely imploding”. Even at the time things were highly subjective to interpretation. Either way…Let’s keep any comments polite please :).

He attributes the iPhone disruption not because of features but because of a profound new usability of touch interfaces. He describes Nokia as a company turned upside down but even with that, Elop proudly informs that ‘fast forward to today, Nokia is the largest market cap company in Finland, back to where it was 2 years before the iPhone showed up”. He aknowledges that is surprising news so reels off Nokia’s changes in the past from a paper mill company, to making rubber boots etc. He says Nokia was ‘really big on phones for a while”. I don’t know if he was joking, given that this was the biggest understatement to call the number 1 manufacturer of mobile phones and smartphones “being big on phones for a while” and now Nokia is about “network equipment”.

Some may question whether this was the original plan from the start. Knowing Elop’s backgrounds in ‘transformation’, did they know that the likely outcome would be an exit from the handset industry?

Elop says that truly great companies self assess and does what’s necessary to thrive and transform even better than what they were before.


Elop laughs about the above companies sharing the common fact that they’re now gone. Some collapsed becoming irrelevant, some acquired, faded away, others out in ‘flaming balls of corruption’. He notes 88% of companies in fortune 500 from 1955 are gone.

Nokia is doing well in the telecoms. They’re a bit lighter now that HERE is gone (oddly, one of the main reasons given at the time for choosing WP over Android :/) but as we know, there’s a revival of Nokia smartphones coming. They might not be exactly what we expect but it’s a direction that once looked completely out of the question.



Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • anwar k

    trojan horse!!

    • LoveNokia

      hahahhaa #True 😛

  • LoveNokia

    he really is a bad pilot lol 😛 he crashed so many companies…. 😛 just read the 1st para of his career on wikipedia 😛

  • EricLovesSymbian

    EricLovesSymbian says:

    This vile horrible devil man, royally f*cked Nokia, it’s fans, it’s work force, it’s stock value, it’s world wide image, it’s future outlook, and many more unforeseen things…

    And when Jay was getting his medical license, and stopped blogging for a while (please never stop again, please), this bastard piece of $π!# went back to Microsoft, got millions in severance pay, ruined Nokia, and now is brain washing a bunch of moronic people at this new place…

    Jay, and other readers, did y’all read the rush/panic that this company and AT&T have caused due to discontinuing 2G service to BMW and other car companies that rely on this for their SOS service?

    How about incredible battery life? My beloved 2012 Nokia 808 still can get about two to three days of battery life with it… (But on 3.5G it dies within a day)

    Elop is a horrible person. Rich pompous classless heartless and emotionless … Symbian was years ahead of his stupid Microsoft operating system!
    Symbian was and still is incredible but unfortunately times have changed and people want a bunch of waste of time apps, brain dead masses, etc.

  • EricLovesSymbian

    EricLovesSymbian says:

    Ahhh… The infamous burning platform memo…

    Interesting… How come his punk ass doesn’t say all the handicaps that Windows Mobile has? How come he doesn’t say that Windows Mobile operating system is a huge HUGE HUGE HUGE MASSIVE failure?
    He should! Symbian for far more advanced, far more mature, far more capable than this pile of utter garbage Windows crap!

    What is the global market share of Windows as of 12/26/2016? Last I checked, it was LESS THAN .3% globally!!! Wouldn’t this qualify as a true junk garbage OS, and this Windows OS is a true burning platform. Symbian was at over 5% I think when this pathetic pile of garbage two-faced sub human wrote that memo.

    Please, tell me, all those delusional windows Mobile users, you guys turned your backs on symbian and adopted garbage junk pathetic horrible Windows Mobile, instead of banding together and keeping symbian alive…

    Your blind allegiance killed off a part of our beloved Nokia. Through your inactions, this happened! People that made comments supporting stupid Windows were so mislead. Where are they now, over 95% (I think) have moved to Android, and so has Nokia!

    Windows was a mistake. And anyone who says anything in support of it is a being foolish and incredibly short sighted.

    Nokia should have kept symbian for their feature phones or low end, while Android or meego or whatever could have been their high end.

    Elop looks like when he was a kid, he was one of those kids that had diarrhea all the time.

  • Xavier Ramos Santoni

    Time prove me right, the answer was not Symbian or Windows. It was Android, just look what it did for Samsung. #FuckElop

  • Banderpop

    I never liked Elop ditching Symbian and Meego. I’m not anti-MS, my current phone is a Lumia 950. But there is so much I miss from Symbian Belle and my 808! I perhaps would still be using the 808 if the web browsing and email viewing experience wasn’t so bad.

    There’s no longer even any smoke rising from the burnt platform now though. We can see how far phones have come. In my view, this isn’t far at all. Innovation from all manufacturers has been weak in Nokia’s absence. So looking past what our ideas were of what could have been if Elop hadn’t embraced Windows Phone, I’m now more angry at what Nokia did to shoot themselves in the foot prior to Elop, that caused them to lose the value of their brand in the first place.

    Elop is right about the iPhone disruption being about the usability of touch interfaces. So why did Nokia decide to completely skip decent GPUs for the S60v5 phones, and thus make them sluggish to use for scrolling and zooming? N-Gage 2.0 had a *lot* of good features as an online store, but why did all the games have to be uglier than what we’d seen on some 2006/2007 N-Series phones? If Nokia had made the Symbian Omnia HD/i8910 instead of Samsung, who were unable to add Ovi Maps and the Ovi Store to it, they would have had a phone that put the iPhone 3GS (which came out slightly later) to shame. Instead Nokia’s Symbian flagship was the N97… Whoever decided the Symbian^3/Anna/Belle phones should use ARM11 instead of ARM Cortex-A8 (like the N900 and Omnia HD) or better should step in the firing line in front of Elop also!

  • rustyknight17

    ELS & LN , must agree! As I’ve said all along , MS saw an opportunity to acquire Nokia on the cheap and took it , sending Elop in as a Trojan horse and the then Chairman of the Nokia Board helping him (Wonder if the Chairman ever got that job MS promised him ?).I’m also convinced that the BP memo , was deliberate ; rumours of it destroyed Symbian and Meego. This was to destroy dangerous rivals. And so here we are at Nokia/HMD using Android. Must say that this far not impressed with their devices;and the N1 though not bad could have been considerably better! Here’s hoping they improve…..

  • Allen

    He is not dead yet?

  • LoveNokia

    I think HMD should start hiring Diehard Nokia Fans for Marketing Team and Design Team i am 100% sure that Nokia will be No.1 in few years 🙂 Everyone will work passionately for their beloved company NOKIA 🙂

    • EricLovesSymbian

      EricLovesSymbian says:

      I already tried.
      I even said I’d be willing to pay up to $10,000 to help bring symbian back, along with a go fund me page.
      I sent numerous emails since 2014, I designed phones with specs and dimensions, I turned in many new app ideas, I have saved all email correspondence and …

      I was respectfully denied in all fronts.
      I understand symbian being denied and me being sentimental, in denial, whatever, but all the pics I sent that resembled the ZTE axon 7 and Galaxy s7 edge (that I drew up and sent TWO years ago) were not even bothered to be addressed.

      I’m no engineer, or designer, but like Jay, I’m in the medical field.

      My emails were very well written and incredibly thorough.

      Unfortunately, Nokia didn’t give a $π!T to give my ideas any consideration.

      I said I’d work for free…
      They just didn’t care.

      As of now, 12/28/2016, I feel as though Nokia will come out with phone very similar to BLU phones (albeit, with better hardware and software and Nokia optimizations)…

      The N8 the 808, the N900, the X7, the N82 and N95 were awesome ballsy phones that they dared to make, and made well! They thought, then they built… Now, it’s all about nonsense ads generating revenue and profits on an operating system that feeds that masses via social media and mindless stupid games.

      Symbian was incredible and it’s truly such a shame stupid childhood diarrhea elop tanked it. He is just a horrible person!

      Nokia needs people to want to make Nokia great once again. They need people who care first, not people who need to make money, and then care about the company they work for…

      Jay, can you email janne and get him back on this forum? He is very knowledgeable on things Nokia related

      • manu

        Where you denied by HMD global or Nokia ?

        • LoveNokia


        • EricLovesSymbian

          EricLovesSymbian says:

          By Nokia.
          Some lady in New York, or Finland.
          This is before hmd was public knowledge

      • LoveNokia

        WOW i am speechless 🙂 You made designs for Nokia being in a medical field… contacted them, gave them suggestions.. you truly are the biggest Nokia Fan i have met 🙂 WOW you are Awesome. Hats off to you. 🙂 How about Jolla people joining hands with Nokia/HMD? afterall they were a part of Nokia too and they can MAKE NOKIA GREAT AGAIN???? 🙂

      • Mouad Abouabid

        Never stop believing

  • zlutor

    what was Telstra looking for when selected this genius? are they planning to dives some division or just loosing marketshare by mistakes?

    • Jay Montano

      This time next year, “Vodafone Acquires Telstra”


      • LoveNokia


      • zlutor

        or M$ goes into telco business… 😀

  • korichneveygigant

    Turned on my old N9 the other day to get photos off of it and started to play with it. Man the UI was/is so great.

    I’m using a nexus 5x right now and the nougat UI is ugly in design and clunky to use with the 3 buttons on bottom.

    I was still using my N9 up until early 2015 when pretty much everything stopped working because nobody was updating apps….

    Pretty sad. It’s funny because even when I was still using the N9 everybody would ask me, what phone is that, it’s so cool, the os looks sweet etc