Excerpt from a BusinessWeek cover story Nokia profile
Windows-based smartphones are the first stage of Elop's three-part comeback plan. One huge incentive for dumping Symbian was to cut the company's bloated costs. With an estimated $1.4 billion annual savings from discontinuing Symbian, he says he will invest more to protect and build Nokia's massive low-end phone business in emerging and yet-to-emerge nations in Asia and Africa, which brought in 33 percent of Nokia's sales in 2010. Reinvesting in emerging markets is Part Two. "If you live in the U.S., you can't really understand their power," says Paul Jacobs, CEO of chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM), whose technology is used in all Windows Phones. "They're going to be a great partner."
Elop's third priority has been dubbed New Disruptions. It's a fully sanctioned skunkworks, with teams in Helsinki and Silicon Valley, staffed by top technical talent from the discontinued Symbian and MeeGo efforts, especially MeeGo. That initiative began when Nokia hired a crew of inventive open source evangelists in 2009 with orders to dream up entirely new devices. A few months later they were reassigned to develop a replacement for Symbian. The goal, as Elop told a group of engineers in Berlin on Feb. 29, is once again to "find that next big thing that blows away Apple, Android, and everything we're doing with Microsoft right now and makes it irrelevant—all of it. So go for it, without having to worry about saving Nokia's rear end in the next 12 months. I've taken off the handcuffs."