Nokia shareholders start rebellion and plan a company coup

In the wake of last week’s news that Nokia has entered a partnership with Microsoft, a group of nine Nokia Shareholders has published “Nokia Plan B”, a manifesto “to challenge the company’s strategy and partnership with Microsoft”.

On their website, the currently anonymous nine shareholders outline an agenda and a series of actions, which include ousting current CEO and President of Nokia Stephen Elop.

Since Nokia and Microsoft announced their partnership late last week, Nokia’s community of die-hard fans and developers have been lamenting over feeling “betrayed” by the Finnish phone giant. As part of the announcement, Nokia said they would continue their hardware innovation, while using Windows Phone 7 – Microsoft’s new mobile phone OS – as the primary software platform. Groups such as Intel, the Linux Foundation and more which had been supporting development of Nokia’s previous effort, MeeGo operating system which is based on Linux, have expressed their “disappointment” at the decision.

The Nokia Plan B team have raised some significant points in their post outlining how they wish to see the company managed. They want to return control of Nokia devices’ software to Nokia themselves; overhaul their recruitment strategy to bring in new young engineers to re-ignite their operating system efforts; and eliminate “outdated and bureaucratic” research and development management systems. Following Elop, the Microsoft partnership would be next for the chop, by being scaled back just to North American territories and based on sales performance of Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices; MeeGo would re-take its place as Nokia’s main mobile OS.

The post also says a lot about Nokia’s current research and development practices. Research and development outsourcing and geographical distribution has brought the Nokia engineers’ efforts to their knees; they say a shift to 90% research in two key locations, at least one in Finland, will help re-focus the engineering effort. They also cite multiple Nokia management levels above outsourced R&D efforts to be causing up to 90% management overhead in engineering projects.

Whether or not this small team will have any impact on the future of Nokia remains to be seen. For now, they represent the hopes of numerous individuals and organisations who had pinned their hopes on MeeGo and Nokia software and devices. The Plan B team already claim to have other Nokia shareholders interested in what they’re doing, but whether nine small shareholders can take over the entire Nokia board will be something else.