* Sees no strategic interest for Microsoft to buy Nokia
* Has no current plans to change Nokia management
By Georgina Prodhan
LONDON, March 18 Work has begun on the first
Nokia NOK1V.HE smartphones based on Microsoft (MSFT.O)
software following the partnership announced by the companies
last month, Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop told Reuters.
Elop was recruited last year to rescue Nokia from increasing
irrelevance at the high end of the market, and is under huge
pressure to produce results from the partnership.
Elop, who left a Microsoft executive post to join Nokia last
September, also said he could see no good reason for the
speculation that Microsoft might try to buy Nokia.
"I'm not aware of a strategic interest that Microsoft would
have in the rest of the business," Elop said.
"To the extent that a partnership has been formed around
what they're really interested in, then what would an
acquisition bring other than a good year of anti-trust
investigation, huge turmoil, delays?"
Almost half of Nokia's handset revenues come from more basic
mobile phones, which are popular in emerging markets. The
company has struggled to establish its brand in the United
States, especially since Apple (AAPL.O) launched its iPhone.
Nokia also considered partnering with Google (GOOG.O), but
decided it would be too difficult to differentiate its
smartphones from a multitude of other Android devices made by
the likes of Samsung (005930.KS) and HTC (2498.TW).
Nokia's chairman has said Windows-based Nokia phones will be
on sale from 2012, though Elop has said he aims to produce a
Windows phone by the end of this year.
"We're right now, today, having people work on the first
Windows Phone devices from Nokia. That work is already under
way. If this was an acquisition scenario, that wouldn't be
possible," Elop said.
The agreement between Nokia and Microsoft still has to be
finalised, something that Elop has said he expects to happen in
the next couple of months.
Elop said he had no current plans to change Nokia's top
management, after only one senior executive was dropped in his
new line-up announced last month. He dismissed as nonsense a
German magazine report that a wider cull was likely.
"Now what happens is accountability. If someone's not
succeeding, they need to be helped or they need to be moved
along. In my context, that will absolutely be the case," he
"So there's a team in place. It's now a new team of my new
leadership, newly minted in terms of their new roles. Now they
have to perform."
(Editing by Will Waterman)
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Keywords: NOKIA ELOP/
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