* MeeGo chief Ari Jaaksi leaves Nokia
* First MeeGo phone due to be unveiled by year-end
* Jaaksi follows exit of smartphones chief Vanjoki
(Adds Nokia comment, background, shares; changes dateline from
HELSINKI/LONDON, Oct 5 Ari Jaaksi, the head of
Nokia's NOK1V.HE MeeGo software platform which it is betting
on to fight back against Apple Inc (AAPL.O), is leaving the
company ahead of the first MeeGo phone launch, Nokia said on
Under the new leadership of Stephen Elop, Nokia has promised
to unveil the first device using MeeGo by the end of the year.
Anssi Vanjoki, who ran Nokia's key smartphones and services
business, also resigned following Elop's appointment.
Asked about Jaaksi, a Nokia spokesman said: "He has decided
to leave Nokia and will pursue new opportunities elsewhere."
Nokia, once the envy of the industry for its global reach
and coveted phones, has fallen behind new market entrants Apple,
Google (GOOG.O) and others in the high end of the market.
It brought in outsider Elop, a Canadian with Silicon Valley
experience and the first non-Finn to run the company, in the
hope of injecting a fresh perspective.
"Nokia needs to step up on the MeeGo side. MeeGo has grown
up from Maemo and there is much more at stake now," said Gartner
analyst Carolina Milanesi. "They need someone who understands
mobile and PC, who might be closer to Intel (INTC.O) and a much
better public person."
MeeGo is a merger of Nokia's Maemo software, which Jaaksi
helped build up, and chipmaker Intel's Moblin.
Nokia shares rose 2 percent to 7.475 euros by 1415 GMT,
outperforming the European technology index .SX8P, which rose
Nokia controls 40 percent of the smartphone market with its
older Symbian software but has lost its leading position among
the most expensive models to its new rivals.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki and Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Will
Waterman and David Holmes)