Just days after announcing a turnover at the highest ranks, it appears that Nokia is also about to lose its vice president in charge of smartphones. The company has announced that Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki has just handed in his six-month notice of resignation, leaving the MeeGo, Symbian, and Ovi divisions open for new leadership when he departs in March. Although Vanjoki claims that he is leaving to “seek new opportunities,” since he will not even have held his position for a year by the time he cleans out his desk, it is difficult to dismiss as coincidental this departure and that of outgoing CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo — who is being replaced by a former Microsoft executive, Canadian Stephen Elop.
Another possible high-level departure, reports the New York Times, could be chairman of the board Jorma Ollila, who formerly held the position of CEO. Finnish media reportedly quoted Ollila as saying that he planned on remaining in his position until 2012, which Nokia itself confirmed as a signal that he was considering leaving the company. All of this shuffling comes at a time when Nokia has seen both its market share and share price decline in the last several years, with Apple and Google seen as responsible for capturing much of that lost revenue.
With a reported 10% share of the American market, it seems that Nokia needs to concentrate on other regions where it has historically had more success — clearly Americans are not interested in buying into the Espoo model of expensive unlocked handsets, with carriers rarely offering Nokia devices on subsidy. There appear to be strides being made with the attractive MeeGo platform, but to be truly competitive in the smartphone market these days, you’ve really got to offer consumers a stocked app store to complement your already-attractive hardware. Until Nokia can build up developer support for both MeeGo and the upcoming Symbian^4 operating systems, it risks losing even more ground in what is quickly becoming a mainstream market.