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Nokia CEO tells it like it is: “we are years behind”

nokia 6300 sim free mobile phonethe hard truth

It seems someone at Nokia has finally told it like it is and described the ailing company’s situation with brutal honesty.

A leaked internal memo written by new Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop pulls no punches saying “we are years behind our competitors”. He likened the company’s fortunes to a “burning platform”.

Tech Guide’s poll showed Nokia was second to Apple as the most popular mobile brand among our readers.

Apple’s iPhone was used by 35 per cent of readers followed by Nokia at 31.7 per cent. Samsung came in third at 19 per cent with HTC at 8.2 per cent ahead of BlackBerry (8.2 per cent), LG (3.3 per cent), Sony Ericsson (2.7 per cent) and Motorola (1.6 per cent).

Elop’s frustration traces back to the fact that Nokia, still the world’s largest mobile manufacturer, hasn’t come up with a product to match Apple’s all conquering iPhone.

“The first iPhone shipped in 2007 and we still don’t have a product that is close,” he said in the memo.

New Nokia CEO Stephen ElopElop also noted how Google’s Android operating system has taken a lead in the smartphone market after just two short years.

It has been Nokia’s refusal to adopt the Android operating system – a move which boosted the popularity of rival company products – which has seen the company drop 10 per cent of market share in 2010 alone.

Nokia’s insistence to stick with the Symbian operating system, according to Elop, has been one of the main factors holding the Finnish company back.

“Symbian has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets and is proving to be increasingly difficult environment on which to develop. If we continue like before we will get further behind while our competitors get further and further ahead,” Elop’s memo said.

Elop says Nokia’s situation is comparable to standing on a “burning platform”.

He told a story of a man standing on an oil platform that was ablaze in the North Sea who faced the choice of plunging in to the icy waters or staying put and perishing.

“I have learned we are standing on a burning platform,” Elop says.

“The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step in to an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now we have a great opportunity to do the same.”

What that story will be is yet to be announced but it would appear the smart play would be to build a touchscreen handset running Android.

There was also talk of a partnership with Microsoft to offer the new Windows Phone 7 operating system on the Nokia hardware.