Nokia: Terrible Bets Come Back To Haunt Them

| About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)

Ouch! Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is lowering its outlook and firings 10,000 to save its sorry self. That's what comes from a slew of miserable errors. I've been bearish on this stock and still am. Look at the hole Nokia has dug itself - negative operating margins, negative ROE, falling market share.

Just too many mistakes. To name a few:

1. Staying with the Symbian platform far too long.

2. Missing out on the app wave.

3. Using its money to repurchase 7 billion Euros worth of stock in 2007 and 2008 when Nokia was trading in the 30s, a loss of close to 6 billion in Euros.

4. Rolling out a competitive smartphone too late.

CEO Stephen Elop correctly realized Nokia's precarious position in early 2011, electing to dump the Symbian platform. Unfortunately, Nokia's new line of phones running on Windows comes too late to save the Finnish telephone company.

In the famous "Burning Platform" February 2011 memo, Elop outlined Nokia's failure. The text should be required reading for all Nokia investors. Sadly, his criticisms are as true today as they were back then.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind...We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally.

Unfortunately for Nokia, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has only become more disruptive. Elop's words (below) are prophetic.

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

Elop equated Nokia's predicament to a man standing on a burning oil platform deciding to jump into the frigid waters of the North Sea. The chances of Nokia surviving the plunge seemed a long shot to this writer then. They still do.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL.

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Tagged: , Communication Equipment, Finland
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