The book “Operation Elop” has finally been translated to English!

Oh joy! The book “Operaatio Elop” has finally been translated to English!
And not only that, but it is free to read from the web, from the link below:

Operation Elop

Operation Elop

This is awesome, I can finally point directly to a text in the Web when I say Tomi Ahonen is clueless! Let’s try:


The book completely nullifies the theory that Elop intentionally destroyed Nokia to gain a bonus of $25 million. The book Chapter 24 talks all about it, here are some best picks:

Elop was not paid 24.2 million euros as additional severance pay as many commentators and politicians imagined. He received the money that Nokia had already reported as having paid him.
(ExNokian comment: You can read this from the full text but in brief the sum is including management short term cash incentives, equity awards and stock options, all promised beforehand and not related to sales in any other manner than the fact they were paid to Elop at that point because Elop was removed from CEO position due to company acquisition.)

Elop had no reason to deliberately damage Nokia. Not even with the change of control clause. He would have gained a lot more by achieving the set goals. Every rational being would have set out to reach for the rewards through Nokia’s success.

Elop chose Nokia although he stood to gain more had he stayed in the US. More than monetary benefits, he was driven by ambition.

(About the size of bonus):
Historical data shows that even this sum is small. The Finnish business magazine Tekniikka & Talous reviewed earlier cases. General Electric’s CEO Jack Welch is at the top. He collected a severance payment of 300 million euros ($417 million) when he was fired in 2001. Viacom’s CEO Tom Freston was sacked in 2006 after holding office only for 9 months receiving a severance package for nearly $100 million. Heinz’s William Johnson stands to gain over $200 million in the event of change of control.

Elop would have gained MORE by staying at Microsoft.
Elop would have gained MORE by just keeping Nokia profitable (the way Tomi Ahonen says Nokia already was supposed to be).
MORE on each way.
And even then the bonus is not extraordinally huge in scale of Wall Street.
Now compare this to:

Imagine 25 million dollars in bonus. That is not a normal Vice President bonus – Elop was a VP at Microsoft. Its a very good CEO bonus if happen to be in a lucky place at a lucky time. Elop could have taken the task of attempting to fix Nokia – lots of pain – or just wreck the handsets, knowing that no matter how much he ruins it, Microsoft will have no option but to buy it sooner or later. And when Microsoft buys Nokia’s handsets, Elop pockets his 25 million. Sweet.

—Tomi Ahonen, September 23, 2013 [1]

So we now know, that Elop was hired as CEO, he could have worked diligently for years, reforming Nokia to get it to grow and increase profits, and earn a ‘typical’ Fortune 500 sized bonus, a couple of million per year. Or he could destroy Nokia, sell the handset unit for a desperation-price to Microsoft, and if after that sale Nokia share price recovered somewhat to modest growth, then Elop was judged to have performed excellently as Nokia CEO, and this specific action would result in Elop getting a 10 times bigger bonus.

–Tomi Ahonen, September 26, 2013 [2]

I cannot underline this enough: 25 million dollars is NOT “ten times bigger bonus”. The book makes this clear and uses publicly available info for that. Please keep in mind what Tomi just said about the “typical a couple of million per year”:

The median compensation for CEOs of US publicly traded companies on Standard & Poor 500 index (S&P500) in 2012 was about $10 million per year. In 2012, Elop’s tech peers like Honeywell’s David Cote received $56 million, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacob $36 million and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson $26 million.

Adding the stock rewards and stock options, Elop received 6.7 million euros ($9.38) in total during his first year at Nokia.

Tomi implies Elop wanted to sit on Nokia CEO position for 3 years doing all kinds of ill actions so that he can pocket a 25 million dollar bonus at the end of it. However just the CEO deal he signed gave him two fifths of it for the first year alone! By the end of year 2012 (time when first Windows Phone 8 Lumias had been out for few months and way before the sale of Nokia D&S to Microsoft) Elop had already earned the $25 million as “business as usual” compensation!
“10 times bigger bonus” – *sigh*. Once again reading Tomi’s numbers first requires a move to Tomi Ahonen Universe where facts are ignored with a wide margin.


The text does indeed mention Skype. But only seven times. Once when talking about Nokia X series and last six occasions are all within this snippet (from Chapter 16):

On May 10, 2011, Nokia received a blow under the belt from its new partner. Microsoft announced the purchase of the internet phone company Skype for almost six billion euros ($8.5 billion).

The deal was poison to Nokia’s dreams about a network-provider-friendly ecosystem and showed where they stood with respect to their relationship with Microsoft. Nokia’s interests did not weigh when bigger wheels started to turn. Skype was a thorn in the flesh for network providers, because internet phone calls ate into their voice call revenue. Providers weren’t making a profit selling Windows Phones if it was too easy to make internet-based phone calls on them.

Network providers did understand that internet-based phone calls were the future. That is why they were developing their own services to compete with Skype. There was even a new kind of a phone call in the works, multimedia phone call (IMS) that differed from internet phone calls at least in one respect; the standard had a built-in possibility for billing calls.

Nokia had to hold back in dealing with network providers after the Skype deal. “We cannot tailor your call solutions as part of our operating system. This role is reserved for and only for Skype.” According to someone who had worked for the Markets unit, the world’s second largest network provider, Vodafone, in particular sent a clear message along the lines of “if our solution cannot be configured on equal terms with others, we will not sell these devices.”

Nokia was careful not to criticize its partner in public. Elop admitted the problem only a year later when he revealed that network providers shunned Lumias because of Skype.

For the last sentence I cannot figure out how it ever made it to the book but indeed it is there also in the Finnish version (I checked). It could refer to the AGM meeting but considering the loaded question and the lack of actual admit I’m not sure that would have made it to the book. Nevertheless we have one carrier that has made it clear they won’t sell Lumias unless their solution can be configured on equal terms with others and the already acknowledged fact that carriers are not in fond of Skype.

They interviewed over a hundred people – from top management to grass-root employees – specifically asking them to tell all the reasons behind the collapse of Nokia…
…and THIS is ALL they have to say about Skype.
That’s quite far from the alternative:

when Microsoft bought Skype, they were faced with an instant, global sales boycott of all Windows Mobile and Windows Phone smartphones

–Tomi Ahonen, May 10, 2012 [3]

Carriers hate Skype because it kills operator revenues … Skype not only kills voice call revenues but also videocall revenues and text messaging revenues. Skype is far more dangerous than any other ‘OTT provider’ like Whatsapp or iMessage or Facebook even, to the operators/carriers.

–Tomi Ahonen, June 08, 2012 [4]

Its a fact that after Microsoft bought Skype the total carrier commnuity put all Windows based smartphones into boycott.

–Tomi Ahonen, February 04, 2014 [5]

According to Ahonen Skype was a devastating, giant factor for Nokia collapse as it was driving force of a global sales boycott. But somehow the interviewees talked almost nothing about it. Odd, is it not? And even when Skype was brought up, why is the only example of a carrier giving a clear red light based on carrier VoIP service? Wasn’t the major issue supposed to be Skype eating the voice call, video call and SMS revenue?
(Not that the logic of Skype talk from Ahonen has held before either.)


This is the best part. I wrote before how none of the people interviewed gave even a reason to suspect that Elop was some kind of planted Microsoft mole. It is in Chapter 25 (emphasis added by me):

We are completely convinced after over hundred interviews: The talk about any conspiracy behind Elop is nonsense. Elop was not a Trojan horse. Microsoft did not smuggle him into Nokia with a plan to later buy Nokia’s phone business for a low price. Our interviews gave no indication — none, whatsoever — that would have hinted that this could have been even possible.

As a comparison:

Elop’s ‘Microsoft Mole’ mission was not obvious at the time but with hindsight now, its clear he had the ok for this before he was let go from Microsoft. Elop came into Nokia to sell it to Microsoft, not to turn Nokia around and bring it strong and competitive again. We see it now, the actions are loud and clear. Its been his mission from day 1. From all his early decisions such as the cancelling of the first MeeGo device launch, or the total termination of the first MeeGo smartphone weeks before it was to go on sale, etc. The very first steps by Elop, before his bombshell Microsoft partnership announcement 5 months later, the very first steps by Elop, can now be seen as steps to make Nokia ready for a sale to Microsoft. Any parts that Microsoft didn’t want or would be threats to Microsoft were being terminated, starting with the budgets cut and early products cancelled for the biggest threat to Microsoft inside Nokia – MeeGo.

–Tomi Ahonen, August 26, 2013 [6] (Use of bolded font is from original text.)

The book really pwns Tomi Ahonen “over a hundred” to 1.