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Nokia Bears, Distilled

|Includes: AAPL, BB, Nokia Corporation (NOK)

I've been reading a lot of articles and blog posts during the last few months about Nokia. Overall, I'm bullish, with a long position (disclosure).

There seem to be two points that drive bearish articles. 1. Windows, and 2. Elop. The central bear desire appears to me to center on, at the very least, adding Android and giving Elop a little slapping-around.

The Android Factor:

Android has a giant app ecosystem, but most of them just aren't that great. I've tried to like Android, but I just don't. The main reason I have it, is because the phones are cheap. Android reminds me of early Windows 3.1 through the upgrade to 95 (meaning implicitly couched as cheaper than Apple). IMHO, if Nokia picks up Android, it's because Nokia is going to scrape the bottom of the barrel for a volume-driven piece the lowest-margin end of the US market, and that smacks pretty desperate. Seemed to me that was Motorola's strategy.

Don't get me wrong: I'm no Windows evangelist. There are some irritating characteristics of the last few so-called upgrades to windows phone. If W8 for phones doesn't upgrade to 9 or 12 or whatever is next in line, I wouldn't be surprised. Overall, though, the Windows 8 apps I've used on an upgraded HP TM2T are integrated uniformly, and mostly work. Some of them I actually like. The Windows 8 environment reminds me of early Palm apps with ease of use, common appearance, familiar functionality and intuitive navigation. I'm not completely sold, but I'm more sold than not. My next phone could be Windows 8 or up, but I wouldn't switch cell carriers for it.

The Elop Factor:

As for dumping if Elop goes, I'm on the fence. He was a pretty senior guy at MS, and probably took a considerable amount of knowledge out the door. Choosing W8 was probably a pretty smart idea, because he was inside baseball. But, as the CEO of Nokia, he probably has more concerns than whether or not the Lumia gets a bunch of likes on FaceBook, or whether or not the ASHA has a sexier user experience than the latest iPad. I would bet his to-do list doesn't include much goofy stuff, and is more focused on the things that have kept me long NOK:

1. Stop burning cash.

2. Monetize flat units.

3. Sell useless stuff.

4. Sell useful stuff.

5. Leverage strengths in delivery of hardware.

NOK isn't just a phone company, from what I see, similar to Samsung, Apple, Dell, or any other peer.

I guess my bottom line is if Elop steers NOK toward successful sales growth, but hasn't fixed supply chain/logistics problems to support The Grand Plan, then, yes, board action is reasonable (and hope you have your stop-loss up to date). Short of that, equity might be riding a nice turnaround for the next few quarters while the options run to crush the next wounded ex-king.

Disclosure: I am long NOK.

Additional disclosure: I'm not an investment adviser. Do what I do, and you'll end up learning the same lessons, so caveat emptor.