Beleaguered wireless giant Nokia announced Friday that it had hired Stephen Elop as its next president and CEO. Elop was previously president of the Business Division at Microsoft, where he was responsible for the software giant's blockbuster Office product line.
"I am extremely excited to become part of a team dedicated to strengthening Nokia's position as the undisputed leader of the mobile communications industry," Elop said. "Nokia has a unique global position as well as a great brand upon which we can build. The company has deeply talented and dedicated people, and I am confident that together we can continue to deliver innovative products that meet the needs of consumers."
While Nokia is an also-ran in the United States, it is still the dominant smartphone player in Europe and other international markets, with 41 percent worldwide market share. That said, Nokia has shed market share at an alarming rate in recent years, most notably to Google's Android platform. Nokia's problems are many, not the least of which is its reliance on the aging and unsophisticated Symbian platform. Nokia's executives have been slow to react to market changes brought about first by Apple's iPhone platform, as well.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered a gracious goodbye to Elop, who most recently oversaw the delivery of Office 2010. "Stephen leaves in place a strong business and technical leadership team, including Chris Capossela, Kurt DelBene, Amy Hood, and Kirill Tatarinov, all of whom will report to me for the interim," he wrote in a message to Microsoft employees. "I appreciate the way that Stephen has been a good steward of the brand and business in his time here, and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role at Nokia."