"This really is a bit of chauvinistic nonsense, which seeks to transfer blame away from years of complacency and mismanagement at Nokia"
Nope, year long complacency was not the culture at the time. I was there. Mismanagement? Nope. The major issue was software engineering. Getting the stuff out the door fast enough in a good enough shape. For example, The N97 omnishambles was Nokia's software engineering at its *worst*.
"What Elop’s critics forget is that he had an impossible choice in front of him when he arrived in late 2010."
No. he didn't. He could have fixed the organisational issues and software engineering and snoozed on for another five years. Instead he decided it was product range and cost. After his MS alliance media event, Symbian volumes dropped off a cliff. The closures in 2012 took the guts out of the mid range €50-€125 business where the volumes and profit still were after the destruction of the smartphone business in 2011. Little known fact, the N9 outsold the windows phones.
Seriously, read the quarterly reports about volumes and profits from 2007 to 2013. It's all there. Volumes were rising until Stephen started speaking. The more he spoke, the worse things got, in my opinion.
"Elop’s choice was really to go with Android or risk going with the brand new Windows Phone platform. ... The Android option would also have been too much of a culture shock for Nokia"
No. We were gagging for it. Android was seen as a way to jump forward. "You have the software, Google, but we have the brand." was one line of thought. The Nokia X series with Android was done later and regrettably strangled at birth, several projects were cancelled close to ramp-up as Nokia sold the business to MS.
"by choosing to retain more independence than he would have under Android, Elop ran into two problems, as David Wood’s epic insider account of the smartphone wars reminds us, and armchair pundits forget"
I'm not an armchair pundit. I worked in and with all parts of Nokia except Venture Fund and Research Centre for well over a decade.
"Talking to dozens of former Nokians, I'm struck by how well-respected Elop was amongst his colleagues."
This is a joke, right? Ten of thousands of former Nokia employees think differently. I guess we skipped the Kool-Aid.
"Elop chose the right technologies to promote"
No. He picked one camera project.
He ignored the UI design skills that produced S40 refresh, two Symbian UI refreshs (Anna and Belle), Meego, Meltemi to name but 4 that happened in the first two years of his tenure. (I've tried Android, iOS, BB10, WinPho... too often they represent a step backwards from what Nokia learnt and implemented with respect to UI design) He trod an already trodden path in audio. He didn't focus on materials technology or mechanical design....for example. He didn't understand the Qt path - which would have enabled Nokia to bin all the discussions about which OS to take with, "Who cares? The UI and apps are on Qt, use whatever works best underneath."
He dumped Meego because "LTE wouldn't be there quick enough for the North American market." Nokia was always best when it was second to market: Watch everyone else, do it as well or better. His push into North America reduced Nokia's already miniscule volumes there and destroyed the rest of the business too.
"Elop was actually a pretty good CEO"
No. He. Was. Not.
He focused on the North America market and getting LTE smartphones to the US. His assumption that this route was the future, laid waste to everything else.
He didn't fix NSN - that was largely some smart and ruthless finance guys in Munich and Finland. He didn't fix Smartphones. He didn't need to fix Mobile Phones, but decided to. In his "farewell" speech at a Nokia launch event, he seemed to say he'd fixed HERE and the patents business, forgetting that (a) FRAND and other patent licensing had been occuring for years, (b) HERE was a re-branding, the business numbers went from very poor to poor.