Nokia has filed its annual financial report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and while most of the paper is fairly dry, the first section is devoted to a litany of the things that keep Nokia executives up at night. Risk factors are a standard part of SEC briefings, since the Commission encourages "forward-looking statements" from public companies. Acknowledging its rough 2011, Nokia has also outlined what might go wrong in 2012.
With the company placing its hopes on the success of Windows Phone, it's not surprising that many of its worries relate to the operating system's shaky start. The "global ecosystems around the Apple and Android platforms," Nokia notes, "have increased the competitive barriers to additional entrants looking to build a competing global smartphone ecosystem, such as Nokia with the Windows Phone platform." Symbian's decline was also faster than expected. Although Nokia maintains that it will support Symbian through 2016, it will be concentrating new phone sales in markets with stronger demand and admits that "lower-priced smartphones with specifications that are different from Symbian’s traditional strengths" and other factors will likely cause the company to sell "fewer Symbian devices than previously anticipated."
Much of what Nokia says has been either confirmed or speculated on before. Even so, the first several pages are surprisingly engaging reading, in no small part because it's unusual to see companies express frank doubts about a project's success — especially when it's something like "consumers may be reluctant to provide personal data to us as a result of our partnership with Microsoft." If you're interested in the inner workings of Nokia, risks can be found on the pages marked 13 to 47 in this PDF. If you just want to see how much Nokia executives are making, turn to page 161.