Nokia Loses its MeeGo VP


Nokia’s Vice President of its MeeGo devices has confirmed that he resigned last week. Ari Jaaksi’s resignation is particularly unsettling considering that Nokia is expected to announce a new MeeGo smartphone in the the next couple of months. While Mr. Jaaksi claims his resignation had nothing to do with Nokia’s new CEO cleaning house, he has already been replaced by Peter Skillman, an ex-Palm VP to head the MeeGo project.

So why did Jaaksi resign? Hopefully it has nothing to do with MeeGo itself. Is the new OS ready for primetime? Let’s hope. Nokia packs some amazing hardware into its top of the line smartphones, but the operating system it uses—Symbian—just isn’t up to par with what Apple and Google have been making the past couple of years. MeeGo is supposed to be a new direction for the company, and Nokia is expected to eventually drop Symbian completely, but people who have used the coming N9 from Nokia love the phone but aren’t fans of the MeeGo OS yet.

Why is Nokia having such problems developing an operating system that people love? It probably has something to do with the corporate structure and culture that Nokia’s new CEO has been shaking up. According to the company, it scrapped plans for a new OS back in 2003 just because of the few dollars of extra cost it would have added to each phone it sold. The way Nokia has been hemorrhaging marketshare over the past few years, it probably wishes it could have taken that one back.

Nokia represents the old, the hardware focused and for parts of the world—the standard. The US is rather spoiled because it gets new smartphones and operating systems before the rest of the world gets a chance. Even RIM launched the Torch 9800 in the US months before the Canadian release date and RIM is based in Canada. We’ve been spoiled here by iOS, Android and the like, and Nokia is learning the hard way that we and the rest of the world didn’t know what we were missing.

This is the age of the smartphone operating system (and the tablet too now). Nokia needs to put on its game face. I’ve got some real hope for RIM now that they’re releasing the PlayBook tablet with a new OS. Hopefully when MeeGo launches, it can bring some life back into the largest smartphone company by marketshare in the world. Let’s hope MeeGo is what we want it to be—a solid competitor for iOS and Android with Nokia’s famous hardware.

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