Do you know about this loopy Nokia/Microsoft conspiracy idea?


The Nokia logo on an event banner.

Right this moment marks the anniversary of Microsoft shopping for Nokia’s cellphone unit in 2013, in a deal valued at €5.four billion (over $7 billion) on the time. It was a serious second in cellular historical past, as Nokia was a pioneer within the trade and the acquisition gave Microsoft entry to a ton of associated patents and experience.

Sadly, historical past reveals us that the 2 firms did not make a dent in Android and iOS over the long term. Microsoft would pull out of the smartphone house in 2017, solely coming again in 2020 with the Android-powered Surface Duo.

Nonetheless, the Microsoft/Nokia partnership and eventual deal resulted in a single reasonably whacky conspiracy idea rising.

A Microsoft mole at Nokia?

Microsoft Surface Duo standing straight up on counter

David Imel / Android Authority

Sure, one loopy conspiracy idea is that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who took over the reins as CEO in 2010, was a mole for Microsoft. This conspiracy idea really emerged properly earlier than Microsoft purchased Nokia.

An attendee at Microsoft and Nokia’s MWC 2011 occasion (the place the 2 introduced their preliminary partnership) asked Elop himself whether or not he was a malicious program. The Nokia CEO denied that this was the case and mentioned that your entire management crew was a part of the choice to go together with Microsoft.

Positive, one outsider asking this query won’t warrant consideration, however the conspiracy idea gained legs when the subject was mooted by a number of Nokia workers in 2011.

Ex-Microsoft worker Stephen Elop was CEO of Nokia main as much as the €5.four billion deal.

The Global Post first reported on these claims again in October 2011 (over eight months after Nokia and Microsoft teamed up for Home windows Telephone) in a chunk titled “Nokia employees ask, is chief government a Microsoft mole?”

“I believe Microsoft will look forward to Nokia’s share value to fall a bit extra, after which it’s going to purchase them out,” one Nokia worker was quoted as saying on the time. After all, this finally occurred in 2013.

Extra Microsoft protection: These are the best Surface laptops and tablets

“It’s very suspicious to me,” one other Nokia worker informed the outlet. “If he desires good for the corporate, why is he making an attempt to destroy it, and make the share value go down? There are a variety of conspiracy theories right here.”

“Typically it’s arduous to know the place his loyalties lie,” a former worker was quoted as saying on the time.

These feedback got here months after Elop issued an infamous internal memo saying that Nokia was standing on “a burning platform.” It didn’t assist issues that Elop had joined Nokia instantly from Microsoft, the place he was head of the enterprise division that included Microsoft Workplace.

To be truthful, Nokia was at a crossroads throughout this time. Its Symbian cellular working system was a fractured, growing old mess that wasn’t designed with contact in thoughts from the get-go. The corporate was additionally arduous at work on its formidable, in-house MeeGo platform, however this had been delayed a number of instances earlier than the primary MeeGo cellphone finally launched in late 2011.

Elop ‘was not a malicious program’

Nokia Lumia 1020 Pureview Windows button

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Is there any fact to this conspiracy idea although? Effectively, except for Elop’s aforementioned reply, probably the very best reply to this query may be discovered by way of a e-book written by two Finnish journalists in 2014. Operation Elop by Pekka Nykänen and Merina Salminen noticed loads of interviews carried out with individuals who had “first-hand data” of Nokia’s happenings.

“After over 100 interviews, we’re fully satisfied about one factor: The discuss any conspiracy behind Elop is with none foundation,” the authors wrote. They continued:

Elop was not a Computer virus. Microsoft didn’t smuggle him into Nokia with a plan to later purchase Nokia’s cellphone enterprise for a low value. Our interviews gave no indication—none, in any way—that may have hinted that this might have been even doable.

The journalists additionally famous that the conspiracy idea was “absurd” as a result of Elop was chosen by the Nokia board. Moreover, a number of main figures inside Microsoft, similar to Invoice Gates and future CEO Satya Nadella reportedly expressed their strong opposition to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wanting to purchase Nokia within the first place.

Nonetheless, the e-book does recommend that Elop “in lots of respects, is without doubt one of the worst CEOs on the earth, if not the worst.” The authors be aware that Nokia was valued at €29.5 billion the day earlier than Elop began, and €11.1 billion when Microsoft’s acquisition was introduced. Additionally they criticized Elop’s single-minded strategy as a substitute of providing a multi-pronged strategy to smartphones as we noticed with Samsung (providing Android, Home windows Telephone, and Bada gadgets).

A e-book charting Nokia below Stephen Elop asserts that he was a nasty CEO reasonably than a mole for Microsoft.

Even so, some simply received’t let the conspiracy lie. After Microsoft bought off the Nokia branding rights to HMD World, HMD ended up working with Elop after the Canadian joined Australian service Telstra in 2016. Whereas working for one more publication again in 2017, I caught up with then-HMD CEO Arto Nummela and asked for his thoughts on the conspiracy idea. “I can not remark. You’ll should ask Stephen Elop,” Nummela grinned.


That is the nineteenth put up in our “Do you know” collection, during which we dive into the historical past books of Android and shopper know-how to uncover necessary and attention-grabbing details or occasions which were forgotten over time. What do you wish to see us cowl subsequent? Tell us within the feedback.



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