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Nokia gets a new CEO and new hopes, Microsoft gets a poorly performing smartphone business

Rajeev Suri Nokia CEO

Nokia has sent out a flurry of press releases this week, most notably one confirming the arrival of a new CEO, plus some troubling financial figures related to its smartphone business. You know, the one it no longer owns. The new man at the top is Rajeev Suri, a veteran of nearly 20 years, and he comers to the position after several years in control of Nokia Siemens Networks.

With Microsoft now the owner of Nokia’s Devices and Services division, Suri is in charge of Nokia’s three remaining core areas. The first is his old stomping ground, Nokia Siemens Networks, which is now known simply as Networks. The second is Here Maps, and finally, there is Technologies, which deals with Nokia’s patents, and research into future tech.

In an introductory video, presented to camera, Suri comments on his experience with the company, and says the opportunities in front of it are as great as he has ever seen. He goes on to talk about how “everything and everybody will be connected,” and says Nokia’s role in this will be to provide the connecting networks, maps, and location data.

Suri’s appointment isn’t the only management change at Nokia. Eight executives will leave the Nokia Leadership Team by the end of the month, five of them – including Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, and Chris Weber – will transfer to Microsoft, while the remaining three will leave the firm entirely. Risto Siilasmaa, who has been filling in as CEO, will return to being Chairman of Nokia’s Board.

It’s definitely the start of a new chapter at Nokia, but what about the Devices division it has sold to Microsoft? Well, another press release buries the bad news under the heading “Discontinued Operations Results Summary.” It neatly avoids providing any smartphone shipment data, but the financial results show a steep 30 percent decline in sales during the first three months of 2014, over 2013’s performance.

Nokia says this is primarily due to a decline in feature phone sales, but admits smartphone sales dropped too, citing “competitive industry dynamics,” and “intense competition” as the cause. The explanation concludes by adding the “strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms” also affected sales.

Through the gloom, there’s a distinct air of all this being someone else’s problem now, which of course, it is. If Microsoft had purchased a car from Nokia, it’d be looking like a bit of a lemon about now. It’s too late though, Nokia has already cashed the check.

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