It always helps to have a backup plan.
According to Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) freshly appointed chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, that's exactly what the struggling Finnish smartphone giant has. Siilasmaa told Finnish newspaper Yle Uutiset that in case Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows Phone 8 doesn't "live up to expectations," the company has a "contingency plan."
As far as what that could be, the chairman declined to elaborate. My only guess is that all directors carry emergency keys on lanyards and that in the case of (another) catastrophic fiscal quarter, two or more directors must insert and turn their keys at the exact ("On my count: three ... two ... one!") same time, revealing a giant red emergency button.
Upon being pressed, the boardroom's roof would be blown off and figher-jet ejection seats would ignite, sending all directors and management skyward. They'd probably have golden parachutes in place to ensure a safe landing. We wouldn't want them to get hurt, after all.
Even though Nokia is aggressively moving all in on Windows Phone, it's hinting that it has a couple of chips left in its pocket if it gets drawn out on, which is somewhat likely considering the odds are stacked heavily against Windows Phone. Its overall market share has shrunk from 2.6% to 1.9% over the past year. After ditching Symbian, that operating system's market share "has come down close to zero," according to Siilasmaa.
With Symbian circling the drain, there aren't a whole lot of other promising alternatives with operating systems if Windows Phone doesn't work out. Of course, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android seems a clear possibility, and the search giant welcomes all with open arms. However, that would put Nokia directly against heavyweights like Samsung, which recently leveraged Android to overtake Nokia as the largest mobile-phone maker in the world.
Microsoft also just burned Nokia by saying current devices, including its popular Lumia 900, won't be getting any upgrade treatment and Windows Phone 8 won't include backwards compatibility. This came just mere months after the device's launch in April.
I think it's about time to insert those keys and let the countdown begin.
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