Nokia held its annual general meeting (AGM) on May 3rd for shareholders (anyone with at least one company share can attend) in Helsinki.
From the MNB summary:
On the reseller boycott
Communities Dominate Brands has been arguing that there is a reseller boycott against Nokia/Lumia and that Stephen Elop confirmed as much at the AGM. I can not really agree with that assessment of Elop’s words. He did acknowledge, as the did in the earnings release, that Lumia’s sales were a mixed bag with the UK highlighted as an especially tough market. He said it was performing below expectations there. Finland, again a market where CDB has been saying there is a reseller boycott, was actually told to be doing excellent and Nokia was again number 1 on some metric (I forgot what) after loosing the spot for a while. And the USA was also exceeding expectations, according the Elop the Lumia 900 selling more than was expected from an AT&T hit device (other than iPhone) and thus they estimated the manufacturing capacity wrong. The fair way to put Elop’s words in my opinion would be that he acknowledges the importance of reseller input to customer purchases, in fact spent much time on this in many questions. He did this already in interviews last year, so it is not like this is news to him. I get the sense that he understands this, and the fact that it is hard to break in as a third player beside iPhone and Android, but I did not get the sense of acknowledgement of some overarching boycott. That would be stretching his words beyond recognition in my opinion. He acknowledged tougher markets, named UK and attributed this to older Nokia products hurting the brand (read: N97), but on the other hand the experiences he cited with AT&T, T-Mobile or Finland told a different story for those markets and indeed praised the support from operator partners there.
On Symbian and the Burning Platform memo. Asked about did he think it hurt Symbian, Elop said he believes it did hurt Symbian. He was being frank about it. He maintained that Symbian was undeniably on a downward trajectory and was being rejected by more and more markets in their assessment before February 11th. Indeed, again Nokia’s troubles in software development and keeping Symbian up to date was mentioned as the main theme in why Nokia needed to change strategy, by both chairman Jorma Ollila and Stephen Elop. Elop said Symbian products had been coming “later and later, with lower and lower quality”. Elop said that he believes Nokia would be worse off if it had not gone fully behind Windows Phone a year ago but only partially, because now they would be behind in the new strategy and out of time because Symbian would fail in any case. Believe it or not, of course, but that was his message. Jorma Ollila reiterated on exceptionally strong words that the change in strategy was mutual, decisions and reasons for it agreed and approved by the board and that Stephen Elop had his and their full trust. At least there was a very united front on the topic of Symbian.
On the 808 PureView
Overall it was an interesting, but exhausting meeting. I had the privilege of testing the new Nokia 808 PureView there, they had a demonstration area for it with a miniature city that could be photographed. I was impressed with the physical quality of the device, although the very heavy sensor made it feel a bit lopsided, but that just goes to the professional feeling of it all. The screen was surprisingly good for the low resolution, the RGB ClearBlack AMOLED with the curving Corning Gorilla Class looked spectacular. This is one of those phones that look better in real life. And of course the pictures were great, especially in the oversampling PureView mode...
Stephen Elop also praised the 808 PureView in his comments many times and had the device on the stage with him. He showed a picture on the projector that he had taken in China. It showed a panda in a zoo I guess, and then another picture of the panda’s face upclose. Then he went on to say how this was the same picture, just zoomed in. It did look impressive even on that large projected screen.
There's obviously some truth in allegations that sales channels are avoiding stocking or pushing Symbian or Nokia Lumia products - I've commented on this before from my own High Street trawls. Let's hope that both the 808 and the Lumia range can turn things round in terms of sales channel opinion.