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Nokia CEO points to iPhone, Android as sparks in company's 'burning platform'

According to our friends over at Engadget, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop sent a memo to his employees which is a pretty interesting read. He not only acknowledges there are other companies making mobile phones, but that said phones are leaving Finland's biggest export in the dust.

Elop spends a bit of time talking about the burning platform story and goes on to say a few things I found startling coming from a CEO. Can you imagine Steve Ballmer ever saying, "There is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected"? That's the least direct thing in the memo. Elop goes on to say that Apple is creaming Nokia in the high end market, Android has some real innovation happening and is starting to firmly establish themselves in the midrange, and on the low end, China is cranking out phones faster than Nokia can decide on a color for a new model.

Where is he going with this? Two places. First, Elop says, "Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem."

Then, he says Nokia is going to share its new strategy on February 11. Remember, Stephen Elop did time at Microsoft before he went to Nokia. Also keep in mind that I run a House of Crackpot Theories. Sounds to me like he's on the verge of trying to sell Nokia on making mobiles with Windows Phone 7 as an OS. Will this lead to true innovation from a (formerly) huge force in the mobile market? Will Nokia use its history as a hardware powerhouse to finally keep the carriers from crippling customizing Android devices? Will Nokia reveal it's purchased some other company with great mobile development chops to build great software for its handsets?

It looks like we don't have much longer to wait to find out what this new strategy is going to be, but until then, feel free to speculate. My House is open to all crackpot theories!

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