“There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.
As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform”, and he needed to make a choice.” – (allegedly) Stephen Elop, CEO Nokia.
When an internal memo from the new CEO of Nokia was leaked earlier this week it was clear that he was not a man happy to steer Nokia on a ‘steady as she goes’ course. Instead, he liken Nokia to a burning oil-rig with three major fires – Apple at the top-end, Android in the middle and low-cost OEMs at the bottom.
This morning’s announcement of Nokia’s switch to Windows Phone as its principle smartphone platform is a dramatic shift in strategy for Nokia as it abandons the Symbian platform. Nokia has also restructured and reorganised its management team.
For Microsoft, whose mobile platform has quietly been winning plaudits, but has struggled to get volume distribution, this seems like a great opportunity, whereas for Nokia this represents a leap off the burning platform into icy waters. It remains to be seen what Nokia looks like when it surfaces.