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Marry Microsoft, analyst tells Nokia

Adopt brace position, we reckon ...

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In what looks suspiciously like part of a carefully-planned PR campaign, an investment analyst who follows Nokia has written to Microsoft and Nokia urging them to form a partnership.

The memo, from Berenberg Bank's Adnaan Ahmad, recommends Nokia sign an exclusive partnership with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7, and was obtained by the FT.

Nokia boss Stephen Elop devoted much of last week's earning call on the merits of joining an "ecosystem".

"In addition to great device experiences, we must build, capitalize and/or join a competitive ecosystem," said Elop, with the word "join" causing alarm within Nokia but delight on the markets.

Ahmad echoes the musings – calling for Nokia to drop Meego and become Microsoft's exclusive WP7 hardware partner. The Berenberg analyst calls an Android "a no-go for now" because of Samsung's scale, reach, and supply side advantages – and wants head count reduced by "7 or 8 per cent".

(We called Ahmad for comment; for some reason, he hasn't returned our call. Maybe he's out shopping).

Microsoft was Elop's previous employer, of course. Leaving aside the exclusive Microsoft partnership, which has its merits but risks looking like a "Coalition of the Losers", the rest of it isn't bad advice.

We have some more however – and this advice is much simpler to follow, and less painful than embracing an external platform supplier or large scale redundancies.

The first is to avoid biological metaphors: "digital nervous system", "ecosystem" – and stick to ones people can understand – such as markets and alliances.

And the second is even easier. Parse these 15 fragments from Elop's call and see if you can makes sense of them.

"Elop should be told in no uncertain terms to NEVER talk to the press or the public. He cannot make a simple declarative statement," one disappointed commenter noted last week. "Could you even imagine Steve Jobs engaging in this kind of jibberish?" pondered another.

So speak Plain English. At a vast bureaucratic organisation like Nokia, clarity of purpose must really start at the top. ®

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