Nokia to reorganize...again

In its latest move to stay competitive, Nokia creates one unit to focus on high-end mobile computer and smartphone products, and another to handle lower-cost mobile phones.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read
Nokia headquarters
The still waters at Nokia's headquarters in Espoo, Finland, belie the upheaval in the company's organizational structure and the waves of change in the mobile phone market. Nokia

Hit by a tough market and rough competition, Nokia is hoping that yet another reorganization will shake up the status quo.

The Finnish handset maker announced Tuesday that it will reorganize itself into what it calls a "simplified company structure." To better distinguish its various mobile phones and services, Nokia will revamp its business units into three separate entities--Mobile Solutions, Mobile Phones, and Markets.

The new Mobile Solutions unit will handle Nokia's high-end mobile computer and smartphone products, which run under the Symbian and new MeeGo operating systems. The revamped Mobile Phones unit will turn its attention to Nokia's more affordable mobile phones, concentrating on devices that run under the Series 40 OS.

The Services division, now part of the Mobile Solutions unit, will continue to focus on integrating the company's Ovi service into its smartphones and mobile PCs and creating new services to be offered with mobile phones. The Mobile Phones unit will also work with the Services division to add key services such as Ovi Life Tools, Ovi Mail, Ovi Store, and Nokia Money to lower-cost devices.

Both the Mobile Solutions and Mobile Phone units will have their own dedicated management and staff to map out new products and tackle research and development. The existing Markets unit will continue its current mission of handling sales and marketing and supply chain operations.

Nokia's latest organizational structure
Nokia's latest organizational structure Nokia

Along with the change in business units comes a management shakeup. The Mobile Solutions group will be led by Anssi Vanjoki, with its MeeGo Computers segment managed by Alberto Torres and the Symbian Smartphones segment by Jo Harlow. Mobile Phones will be headed by Mary McDowell, replacing Rick Simonson, who will retire from his full-time job at Nokia in June. Finally, the Markets unit will be led by Niklas Savander.

Nokia also has tapped Richard Green to serve as the company's new chief technology officer, responsible for the overall technology strategy. Formerly a vice president with Sun Microsystems and more recently with Nuance Communications, Green will report directly to Anssi Vanjoki.

Effective July 1, this latest reorganization is supposed to help Nokia more quickly launch new devices and software that better integrate with each other and can be targeted to its specific mobile PC, mobile phone, and smartphone product lines.

"Nokia's new organizational structure is designed to speed up execution and accelerate innovation, both short-term and longer-term," Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement. "We believe that this will allow us to build stronger mobile solutions--a portfolio of products and integrated services that connect people and enable new ways of communicating, sharing and experiencing mobility."

The urge to reorganize itself is certainly nothing new. Nokia has a track record of revamping itself every few years in response to difficult market conditions. In the spring of 2002, the company set up nine different business units for its mobile phones. In early 2004, Nokia trimmed those nine units into four and juggled key management positions. Then in early 2008, Nokia yet again reorganized its business segments and moved around VPs and unit managers.

In recent years, Nokia has been buffeted by a turbulent market, and the recession certainly hasn't helped. Facing lower sales and earnings, the company has been forced to lay off certain staff around the world. Though its latest financials have been a bit more promising and Nokia continues to enjoy a leading mobile market share, the company is still stuggling against tough competition.