I attended the Churchill Club last night as Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the CEO of Nokia, was there to sit down with Rich Karlgaad, the publisher of Forbes for a chat (it was supposed to be with Walt Mossberg, but he bailed because of bronchitis). I got to sit up front at a reserved Nokia table (w00t). The picture above is of OPK (as he's called) on the left, and you'll notice a couple of E71s on the table in front of me jammed into the sugar packet holders videoing the whole thing. (That reminds me I need to get an 8 gigger microSDHC card for mine!)
Obviously I'm not going to review the talk with any sort of actual criticism, as I like the salary I'm currently earning as an employee of NOK, but I will say a few things I found interesting.
First is that like any good CEO, OPK was quite happy to talk around certain subjects and not dive in too deeply - but others he nailed head on. What I found he answered most directly is his thoughts about and respect for Nokia's newest competition. This is a good thing in my opinion. Just a few years ago, Nokia was mainly considered a competitor of other communications and mobile phone manufacturers, but now is directly in the path of major US technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. It's nice to know that the head of Nokia fully aware of this, and understands the challenges posed by these guys, and wants to compete head on.
The other thing of note to me was OPK's commitment to Symbian. He explained that he's the one that had to pull the trigger on a half-billion dollar purchase, and then turn around and tell the investors that he was then going to give it all away as Open Source, so I understand his continuing support of the platform. Me personally, however, I gave up on Symbian a few years ago, and am still not convinced that it's a viable platform for the future. That said, the CEO's commitment to making Symbian "bigger, bettter, stronger" (I think that was the quote) seems quite genuine, so I'm going to be a bit more open-minded about it. I'm not ready to drink the kool-aide just yet, but maybe Symbian might have a future after all.
The cheesecake desert rocked last night as well. I was ready to find a box and load up the extras to take home, but figured that'd look bad.