Nokia ex-chair Ollila: mistakes were made

Jorma Ollila, the former chairman of once-leading mobile phone maker Nokia, admits that mistakes were made, but says it's still not the end of the line for the company.

Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Jorma Ollila, former longtime leader of Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia, says if the company had taken action ten years ago, it would be in a better position now.

Ollila, who recently stepped down as chairman of the ailing phone company, told Yle that his biggest mistake was in not being courageous enough with regard to the company's mobile phone software platform.

Speaking on Yle’s Ykkösaamu interview programme Saturday, Ollila admitted that ten years ago the company had identified the need to beef up its capacity to develop mobile phone software, but had not done enough in this regard.

“Yes, it mostly began with the weakness of our software platform capabilities and the fact that it was not a European strength. We identified this ten years ago, towards the end of the 90s, at the beginning of 2000, that this should become Nokia’s strength, but we were not able to build it,” Ollila said.

The former Nokia chairman said that the company needed to find completely new ways to increase its software technology capabilities.

“Something that would have exploded the normal, safe way of thinking, a kind of violent shake-up, that would have woken up the entire organization ten years ago,” he explained.

In spite of the company’s current difficulties, Ollila said that Nokia would triumph because the company is still staffed by talented people.

“However this is a long process, almost a marathon,” he added.

In recent weeks, analysts have speculated that Nokia will not regain its former status in the mobile phone market.

Ollila sees the situation from another perspective: Nokia has managed to maintain its top standing in a highly competitive market for an incredibly long period: 14 years.