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 piñata to me.

10 Comments

  1. JP

    02/14/2011 at 7:42 pm

    Spot-on analysis. It’s very clear that although Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo developers see this as stab in the back, Nokia’s board was fairly transparent in the direction they desired to take the company when they hired Elop. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody. If I was a Symbian dev, I’d be polishing my resume and/or brushing up on Silverlight…

    Reply

  2. Joe Romeo

    02/14/2011 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you! It’s refreshing to get an objective look at this. Although you can’t really blame the people who are so invested in Symbian and MeeGo for getting overwhelmed emotionally, this is probably the single most significant smartphone announcement since the original iPhone.

    Reply

  3. Anonymous

    02/14/2011 at 10:17 pm

    • Anonymous

      02/15/2011 at 1:02 am

      Nokia surely knows Elop owns MS stock. They could have required him to divest his MS holdings. Only a fool would have deeply invested in Meego.

      Reply

  4. Dothaiba

    02/15/2011 at 5:19 pm

    Ugh, this has been bothering me since this was first posted yesterday, and I have no idea why no one has pointed this out.

    There were no Trojans in the Trojan horse. It was deployed in Troy. Greeks were inside. The headline should finish “if you can see the Greeks.”

    Please fact check your headlines at the very least.

    Reply

    • Sumocat

      02/15/2011 at 7:02 pm

      Was aiming for poetry not accuracy.

      Reply

  5. Anonymous

    02/16/2011 at 5:45 am

    Elop was hired with a specific purpose in mind, and clearly that purpose is to make the Microsoft partnership work. Although Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo developers see this as stab in the back, Nokia’s board know that their main task is to cooperate with Microsoft at present and Elop can help them in this part.

    Reply

  6. Thomas Mc

    02/16/2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah, right. And Bill Gates only ran Microsoft because of his love for the consumer, money had absolutely NOTHING to do with it!

    Reply

  7. Thomas Mc

    02/16/2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah, right. And Bill Gates only ran Microsoft because of his love for the consumer, money had absolutely NOTHING to do with it!

    Reply

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