It is the Office software, which belonged to the Business Division. Windows brought in 27 percent of the sales, the Business Division 31 percent. It was estimated that there were half a billion users at the time. However, Microsoft faced a challenge with the Office suite of software that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a few other programs. Google had started to offer the same services over the internet for free. So users could make texts, spreadsheets, and slide presentations without paying for software.
The documents were also saved there. Elop started to work on a solution for this problem. He had a move to Redmond ahead of him, this time a real move. The Silicon Valley Elop had commuted from Hamilton by plane. The family had grown to 7 over the years. Having children was an adventure, and required a lot of persistence. The Elops pushed, persuaded, and negotiated. They did some hard work, until eight months later, the heavens opened up.
The papers were in their hands and the Elops had gotten what they wanted: An adopted daughter. The wish came true a few weeks later, when the Chinese officials let them and their nine-month old bundle out of the country. The difficulties continued, however: The child needed a citizenship.
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Canada had a policy of not giving citizenship if the child lived outside the country. The combination was too much for the bureaucrats. Finally, the Canadian prime minister decided otherwise. The issue was put to rest during his visit in San Francisco with the Canadian Governor General — in other words an official representative of Queen Elizabeth ceremoniously granted citizenship to Courtney Elop. Courtney, who at the time of writing this in was 18, and her big brother, 22, got triplet sisters for company, who are now Each of the triplets got to have her own birthday party.
Once they had a birthday party on the morning of the closest Saturday, another in the evening, and the third was on Sunday morning.
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Everyone invited their own friends, even if all the friends were the same. Despite all the commuting, Elop had bought a fabulous house in Silicon Valley. Its subsequent sale became a scandal when he started at Microsoft. Elop received help with moving expenses, travels, shipping his belongings, in getting a temporary apartment, and in what he had to pay himself. House prices in California had plummeted, but Elop was allowed to recover his losses.
Microsoft shareholders were furious, and the company finally had to change its policies in supporting its leaders. The house had, among other things, a tennis court and a wine cellar.
During that period, Nokia built its first touchscreen phone aimed at the mass market, the Nokia Xpress Music, which went into sales at the end of Google Docs. The challenge was formidable. It was believed that Microsoft was doomed. How could a dinosaur from the past compete with an agile player in internet technologies? Only a few years passed by, and the arrangement had been turned on its head. Elop had built up free versions of Office, which were funded by advertisements. They had more limited functionality and could be used over the internet, but together with the commercial version, the experience was better than with Google Docs.
This direct response to Google had demanded massive changes in Microsoft. He overtook Google without dropping the commercial version, and as a result made Microsoft a leader in cloud services. What kind of man did Nokia choose then? Everyone knew that a huge visionary like Steve Jobs would not come.
Elop was a doer and change manager. The office guy, pencil pusher, representer of his product. A general, and even his hair was short. A guy, who among nerds, starched his shirts. And loud. He definitely says what he needs to say. Elop described himself during those times as passionate, vigorous, rational, decisive, and detail oriented. He recounts that technology is a part of himself, and he admitted that he feels at home in rooms full of engineers talking about programming strategies.
At the same time, he was saying how he has passionately given himself to conversations about the feelings of consumers. What about charisma? Did he have it? One of the authors of this book met Elop for the first time one month before his appointment at Nokia. Microsoft had invited journalists to Amsterdam to show off their ways of working in their Holland office. The event was centered around a small seminar, where the main speaker had to be replaced at the last moment with a person from the US.
Before it began, the speakers congregated in the front of the auditorium. He was the Microsoft Holland director, Theo Rinsema. Elop was next to Rinsema. When Elop got on stage, he spoke in a technical manner about cloud services. He spoke fluently, but not in a way that would blow your mind.
It was, of course, partially due to the fact that the purpose of the seminar was to get familiar with the office solutions, and Elop had come to the program by surprise. The main reason, though, was that his speech gave very little that could be used as material for a press article. Fortunately, a picture was taken.
For a hobby, Elop had mentioned flying. In the online publication of the Wharton School in Pennsylvania, it was noted that there were two types of pilots: One type wanted experience gliding in the air, the feeling of freedom when flying through clouds.
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For the other, the attraction was in the technology. They loved navigation, meters, and the software behind them. Elop said that he was in the latter group. The question was unavoidable: Would Elop be, after all, the correct choice for Nokia, troubled by its engineering-centric culture?
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The virtual world is a long way away from leading people and managing the media game. The considerations were unnecessary. It was time for him to get to work. Its intended successor, MeeGo was being delayed and delayed. What was the hold-up with MeeGo? The answers lie partly in technology — this chapter takes a brief look into that. First, the basics.
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A smartphone is a small computer. In order for it to work, it needs a piece of software called the operating system, just like a computer does.