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Nokia's New Boss Defends Turnaround Strategy

(c) Sky News 2012

Nokia (Stockholm: NOKI-SEK.ST - news) 's incoming chairman has defended its turnaround strategy ahead of a meeting with shareholders exasperated with the company's performance.

Sales of its Lumia smartphone range have disappointed, leaving the company trailing behind market leaders Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) and Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG - news) .

But its chairman-designate, entrepreneur Risto Siilasmaa, defended the company's attempts to catch up.

"I am confident that Nokia has the right team, right strategy and now increasingly also the right products on the market to get us through this transition period," he said.

April was a tough month for the company - it reported a larger-than-expected loss of 929m euros (£760m) for the first three months of the year and was overtaken as the world's largest maker of mobile phones by Samsung.

Executives got a grilling on these issues at the meeting by frustrated investors who have seen the value of their Nokia holding fall 90% in less than five years.

"The situation of Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks is close to catastrophic," shareholder Pekka Jaakkola said.

"Nokia is fighting against time."

The company's outgoing chairman, Jorma Ollila, promised it would launch a range of tablets and "hybrid" smart mobile devices that would "make a difference".

He admitted Nokia was too slow at the start of the smartphone revolution - an area he has been criticised for neglecting while at the helm.

"Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors (handset designs) in the future," he said in an interview with the Financial Times.

The company is expected to reveal its first tablet computer when Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT - news) 's Windows 8 launches later this year.

Mr Ollila, who is stepping down after 27 years with the company, admitted Nokia's "returns have not been where they should have been."

"The company saw it and it was broadly accepted but the software capability and particularly the platform software knowhow was not there," he said.

"The competitors were faster, and (were) bringing their solutions to the marketplace faster."

His comments come as Nokia filed lawsuits against mobile phone and electronics groups HTC (Other OTC: HTCXF.PK - news) , RIM and ViewSonic in the US and Germany for infringing patents.

Nokia said it had filed the litigation "to end the unauthorised use of our proprietary innovations and technologies".