Is Stephen Elop the best CEO in smartphone industry?
I know this is an Android forum, but since we have so many debates about whether Nokia should have gone with Android and captured the market with its awesome hardware, I really doubt whether that's the case. Standing where it is at the moment, I think Nokia's decision to go with WP8 as a platform was a tough bet which has many perks:
1) Microsoft funding: the monetary support from MS is something that people would have trashed Nokia for, if they would have denied and gone ahead with Android and failed. I know that is pessimistic, but Nokia had almost the same risk in going ahead with WP8.
2) WP8 is a great differentiator: even though Android fans may not agree, WP8 is a wonderful mobile platform. I am quite new to smartphones (I just got an HTC One 2 months ago and had only used an iPad (iOS) before that which I clearly despise for its restrictions), but whenever I have had a chance to play with Nokia Lumia devices, I have been impressed. Even the Lumia 520 was such a delight to handle. At this point of time, Nokia is the synonym for WP8 with HTC and Samsung almost absent from the scene. This leaves Nokia as the champion in WP world and customers who would like to try WP8 are almost certainly going to buy Nokia.
3) Android world is a pool of sharks: The competition in Android world is far more throat-slitting than any other. There is a plethora of device manufacturers who are all trying get a piece of the cake and with huge players like Samsung with so much money with them, even seasoned players like HTC is having a rough time in the market. If you consider this, WP8 seems to be a safe bet. This does not mean that Nokia is afraid of competing with them, because they are competing with them anyway. But competing on the same platform would have been a different thing altogether and they could have not afforded the risks involved.
Back to Stephen Elop, I find him the most matter-of-fact CEO with a clear vision of where he wants Nokia to be. If you follow his Verge interviews over the last 2 years, he has a very clear idea of how to develop the portfolio. The decision to take the side with Microsoft was a very difficult one and he dared to make that decision. I doubt whether WP8 would have got the same level of traction if Nokia was not there providing this level of innovation. Elop is the best spokesperson for Nokia. He know what his engineers are doing, he know what his devices are capable of and clearly knows that even though WP8 is the software platform that supports and in a way restricts them, he must build Nokia as a hardware authority/smartphone brand rather than just being called a WP8 device maker. And I can see him succeeding at that, one step at a time.