Things are really starting to pick up regarding rumors of Nokia’s future. It all started with Huawei making what at the time seemed like an absurd offer-of-interest to buy Nokia, followed by a Wall Street Journal article detailing a failed Microsoft purchase and peaked with one of Finland’s largest papers detailing how the company could be broken up.
Now, Finnish national broadcaster, YLE, is reporting that Nokia’s Board of Directors have been summoned to Finland for a meeting on Wednesday and some were even on standby for a carryover meeting on Thursday. YLE notes that they were “…preparing key decisions on the future of the company”, which are expected to be finalized by the July 18th interim report from the company.
From the tone of the article, this does not sound like a normally-scheduled meeting, but rather impromptu, signaling something perhaps more dramatic ocurring behind the scenes.
We should also note that Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management at Microsoft, is “on vacation” in Finland right now, visiting Nokia right at the same time. In a not-so-secret disclosure, Belfiore said the following on Twitter:
“I'm actually on vacation... that's why so quiet lately... but stopping in to visit Nokia this week…I won't be at build next week... am "stuck" in Europe.”
Just this morning, Belfiore posted a photo of Kevin Shields, SVP of program and product management for Nokia smart devices, in Epoo, Finland.
Nokia SVP Kevin Shields, in Finland, taken by Joe Belfiore
Now normally, we wouldn’t make too much about Belfiore being in Finland, after all, we imagine it is part of his job to work with Microsoft’s largest partner on Windows Phone and that includes trips to Nokia on occasion. Plus, it’s not like he would be there to negotiate or sign a deal on behalf of Microsoft—that’s just not his role.
But Belfiore could be serving as some kind of guidance to the Board if they are discussing options for the company going forward. If there is anyone who does speak for Microsoft about Windows Phone and its future, it’s Belfiore.
Much ado about nothing?
Putting all of these stories together, we can’t help but use the old adage “Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire”. Nokia could be discussing everything from selling to another OEM or breaking off the Siemens joint-venture, something that has also made the news this week. Indeed, we would not be surprised if it is the Siemens sale that is taking priority as opposed to say, Huawei buying out Nokia altogether, which we think is unlikely.
It seems clear to us now that something is happening at Nokia for all of these rumors and stories to be coming forward at the same time. What is far from obvious though, is what it all means. For now, we’ll lean on best-case scenario that the Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) venture will simply take a new twist, later in July, rather than something more dramatic like the company changing hands or Nokia CEO Stephen Elop being replaced.