Nokiaâ€™s â€˜Supermanâ€™, Anssi Vanjoki, is flying high no more. You may remember only two months back that Mr Vanjoki took over the ailing Mobile Solutions business with much fanfare and blogging. At the time he made the bold statement, â€œI am committed, perhaps even obsessed, with getting Nokia back to being number one in high-end devices. Achieving this will require performance and efforts over and above the norm. This is a role Iâ€™ve personally been preparing for over the last 20 years.â€
It now appears that his preparation and conviction were not enough to change Nokiaâ€™s direction. Maybe he was hoping for the coveted CEO role that was handed unceremoniously to Microsoft, and ex Juniper Networks boffin, Stephen Elop. One can understand the frustration he may have felt, after all, Microsoft has hardly been setting the mobile device world alight either. Stranger still is that his resignation came at the same time Nokia launched the much-anticipated N8 smartphone and updated Symbian 3 operating system, things he was committed to seeing succeed.
His departure, after twenty years service, was announced via a rather scant press release from Nokia with not even a â€˜well doneâ€™ or â€˜thank youâ€™. Industry observers were surprised at the news because it seemed a little too early for any major disagreements to have occurred with his new boss, Elop. Vanjoki, himself, gave no specific reason for his resignation, but said in a brief statement that he felt the time had come to seek new opportunities in his life and that he remained one hundred percent committed to doing his best for Nokia until his very last working day. That will, supposedly, be in six months time but like his other recent commitments, will be unlikely to happen.
Whatever the reason, the matter highlights the transient and fragile nature of the mobile device sector since the arrival of the iPhone. Nokia still dominates the low-end portion but with price erosion from competition and diminishing demands it needs to stake its claim in the high-end smartphone segment to keep pace. With Microsoft about to launch Windows Mobile 7 supported by slick manufacturers such as HTC, plus the ever increasing popularity of Android driven handsets, the task will be a mighty one. Maybe this was the reality that hit Anjoki after he took over the ropes that short time ago?
We may have to wait for the memoirs or autobiography in years to come to find out, but its is highly unlikely that such a competent blogger and self-publicist as Anjoki will be inactive, or quiet, for long.