The success of the upcoming Lumia 920 (and, to a lesser extent, the 820) doesn’t just mean a lot to Microsoft and its mobile platform, but to Nokia as well. The once great Finnish company has floundered recently, and its partnership with Microsoft has yet to show a healthy return. So when Nokia launches its flagship devices this November, it’ll be CEO Stephen Elop feeling the most pressure.
According to Reuters, despite selling millions of phones each day, industry watchers are pessimistic about the company’s chances to compete in the long run. That means Elop will be on the chopping block; his job depends on whether or not Nokia’s new phones are successful. Right now, analysts predict the Lumia 920 will fall behind devices such as the iPhone 5 this holiday season.
“Elop has not been able to attract customers and that is what counts,” Greenwich Consulting senior partner Magnus Rehle said. “You can say that he has not had enough time, but he has been there for two years. Time is up.”
Danke Invest Finnish Equity Fund’s Juha Varis put it blunty, “This Christmas season is a lost cause [for Nokia].”
The Lumia 920 has all the right boxes checked off, but some in the industry saw it as merely a small upgrade to the 900. To get an idea of the response, at least among investors and analysts, Nokia shares took a dive following its Sept. 5 announcement, Reuters said.
Others are more willing to jump to Elop’s defense. Nokia wasn’t exactly in the greatest situation when Elop first took the reigns, and he has been praised for taking a brave approach to the market — Elop started off his tenure by dropping Symbian, instead opting for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.
But the bold strategy must return results. If Nokia’s performance stagnates, or gets worse, during the busy holiday season, we probably won’t see Elop around for much longer.
“It will certainly be an iPhone Christmas,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said.
If that’s the case, Elop may as well start packing up his bags now. The iPhone 5 isn’t the only big dog in town. HTC has Windows Phone 8 devices of its own on the way, not to mention devices coming from Samsung. But in this market, nobody ever said it’d be easy.