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Nokia Shareholders Slam Windows Phone 7 Plan

Dissident group wants the company to reject Microsoft alliance and instead focus on in-house research and innovation.
A group of Nokia shareholders have established a Web site to rail against the company's decision to use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system as the default OS on its smartphones.

The dissidents describe themselves as "a group of nine young Nokia shareholders." In an online protest through a site called nokiaplanb.com, they are calling on Nokia to reject the alliance with Microsoft and instead focus on in-house research and innovation.

The group said Nokia executives should, "Return the company to a strategy that seeks high growth and high profit margins through innovation and overwhelmingly superior products and unrivaled user experience." It also wants Nokia to "maintain ownership and control of the software layer of the Nokia products. Software is where the innovation, differentiation and shareholder value can most easily be created."

In addition, the so-called Plan B advocates want the company to focus on recruiting top talent, reduce internal bureaucracy, and "avoid at all cost becoming a poorly differentiated OEM with only low margin, commodity products that is unable to attract top software talent and cannot create shareholder value through innovation."

Though the group is small, it would appear that many investors share their concerns about the Microsoft deal. Nokia's stock has lost more than 20% of its value since the agreement was announced Friday.

Under the partnership, Nokia will adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system as the primary OS for its smartphone lineup—effectively ditching, at least for the higher-end of its roster, the open source Symbian that for years provided the backbone of its offerings. Nokia will also delay its next-generation MeeGo phone.

At the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona Sunday, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop defended the deal and said his company would receive billions of dollars in incentives from Microsoft in exchange for carrying Windows Phone 7 on its mobile devices.

The companies cautioned that they have yet to hammer out a definitive agreement.