Light Reading

Microsoft's Elop Denies He Was a Trojan Horse

Sarah Thomas
4/28/2014
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Microsoft's new Head of Devices Stephen Elop is a pilot, a world traveler, and a "cool" guy who enjoys prosciutto ham, mushrooms, green peppers, and tomatoes on his pizza, but he's no Trojan horse.

The Trojan horse bit is a charge the former CEO of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has had to defend since he left Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to take the reins at the handset maker, committed it to his former employer's operating system, and later facilitated the sale of Nokia back to the mothership. He was able to tie everything up quite nicely with a ribbon and $25 million paycheck, so the question about his equine reputation on today's Q&A live chat session with the Microsoft exec seems justified. (See Microsoft Officially Closes Nokia Buy, Will Elop Return Without the Crown?, The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory, and Nokia Adds Another Microsoft Vet.)

Commenter Vivi said (and you have to go with the flow on this one): "You have bashed very harshly with your efforts to take Nokia to Microsoft, have been awarded as Trojan in online discussions and comments. Do you take any effect of all this on your work/decision?"

Elop responded that what remains of Nokia has been transformed into a stronger company with Nokia Networks , HERE, and Advanced Technologies and that the device business has a new opportunity within a stronger Microsoft. (See Euronews: Suri Slated for Nokia Top Job.)

"As for the Trojan horse thing, I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia," he wrote. "Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member."

Trojan horse? Nay! It's all Greek to me, says Microsoft's Stephen Elop (inset). Sort of.
Trojan horse? Nay! It's all Greek to me, says Microsoft's Stephen Elop (inset). Sort of.

Elop didn't have to defend himself for much of the rest of the Q&A -- besides the one guy who told him "you're so cool" and reminded him how he "buried" Meego, Symbian, and Meltemi -- but he did field (and defer) questions on the future of the Nokia name. (See Nokia Unveils Major Revamp.)

The devices boss said:

    Now that we are One company, the marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a consistent brand. While we are not ready to share precise details, I can assure you that it will not be the "Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network" ... too many words! That somehow doesn't roll off the tongue...

Even so, Nokia's future under Microsoft is already starting to take shape. The company put out its first commercial post close, in which it borrows a theme from Samsung Corp. in calling out other smartphone users for being bland and unoriginal. Elop pointed to this spot when someone on the Q&A asked if the bright colors associated with Nokia would make its way into Microsoft's typically conservative design aesthetic. "I'm pretty sure you will see this 'colorful' personality transcend into MSFT," he said.

As for what else will live on from Nokia under Microsoft, that remains to be seen. A leaked letter suggested the name would be changed to "Microsoft Mobile," but Finnish Light Reading community member Susan Fourtané tells us that "Nokia employees I know, who work in Finland and The UK and have been transferred after the deal was closed, have said this week that the company's name is still Nokia, adding 'the same, but different.'"

"Same, but different" is a good way to describe it. The market dynamics are much different from when Nokia was the industry leader: competition is different; consumer demands are different. Elop is the same, of course, but he'll have to understand that things can't stay the same under Microsoft if it's to have a chance at competing again.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/12/2014 | 5:02:02 PM
Re: Real scandal
Valar cumulus.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/12/2014 | 4:55:42 PM
Re: Real scandal
Businesses are afraid of being burned by cloud providers who prove unreliable, leading to outages in core business systems. 

I'm coming up blank on DOWNTON ABBEY references. It's GAME OF THRONES/MAD MEN time here. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/11/2014 | 4:45:09 AM
Re: Real scandal
Of course, in this case, they're afraid of being burned from...what?  From asking the servants to make tea for them?  (I'm feeling very Downton Abbey-ish in my analogies right now.)
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/10/2014 | 3:32:14 PM
Re: Real scandal
Some lessons are only learned by businesses after they've been burned. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2014 | 4:47:19 PM
Re: Real scandal
You're absolutely right.  It still amazes me how un-savvy, tech-wise, companies' legal departments can be about the cloud.
Joe Stanganelli
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50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2014 | 4:46:03 PM
Re: Real scandal
*> Day-old sushi*

Well, you just said it, Mitch.  It's the timing!  Gotta get it while it's fresh!  ;)
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/8/2014 | 4:30:01 PM
Re: Real scandal
Joe Stanganelli - @Mitch: Regarding going "all-cloud" with dumb clients, this is an idea that's been floated since the '90s, with the argument that Network Computers [NCs] would soon fast replace PCs.

Of course, NCs flopped...but now we are seeing more and more cloud-reliant technology.

Absolutely. The Web browser is the NC. 

My dad has a saying: "There are no bad ideas -- just bad timing."


Oh, I don't know about that. Day-old sushi is always going to be a bad idea for a business. 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/8/2014 | 4:28:13 PM
Re: Real scandal
Joe Stanganelli - "the argument that is more successfully being made these days is that many cloud providers do security much better than their clients -- so why not outsource as a matter of security?"

And it's a valid argument. The key for business is to have service contracts in place that force the cloud provider to pay stiff penalties for breaches or for making data unavailable. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2014 | 8:32:27 AM
Re: Real scandal
@Mitch: Regarding going "all-cloud" with dumb clients, this is an idea that's been floated since the '90s, with the argument that Network Computers [NCs] would soon fast replace PCs.

Of course, NCs flopped...but now we are seeing more and more cloud-reliant technology.

My dad has a saying: "There are no bad ideas -- just bad timing."
Joe Stanganelli
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50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/8/2014 | 8:31:11 AM
Re: Real scandal
@Mitch: I very much agree with you, but the argument that is more successfully being made these days is that many cloud providers do security much better than their clients -- so why not outsource as a matter of security?

Another interesting notion that was floated at a conference I recently attended: If you trusts your data to one particular cloud provider, and there's a data leak, you know where it came from.
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