It’s not a Trojan Horse if you can see the Trojans

Over the weekend at 2011 Mobile World Congress, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was asked straight out if he was a “Trojan Horse”, i.e., if he joined Nokia with the intent of subverting it with the partnership to his old company, Microsoft. “The obvious answer,” he said, “is no.” But that’s not the whole answer.

Here’s the rest of Elop’s answer to that question (via Engadget):

“We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night.”

I agree it’s no coincidence that Nokia is engaged in a major partnership with Microsoft less than six months after they hired a Microsoft exec as their CEO. But the key point here is that Nokia knowingly hired a Microsoft exec as their CEO. It’s not like he was retired from Microsoft then joined Nokia. He was hired away from Microsoft directly.

Thus, the “Elop as Trojan Horse” conspiracy theory falls apart because Nokia knew he was a Microsoft guy and brought him in anyway. Furthermore, Elop was hired from outside the company, outside the industry, and outside the country. It is almost certain that Elop was hired with a specific purpose in mind, and clearly that purpose is to make the Microsoft partnership work.

Also making the partnership work is an investment of billions of dollars moving from Microsoft to Nokia. A Trojan horse carrying billions of dollars? Sounds more like a piƱata to me.