Nokia Nine lead shareholder revolt against Elop

Nokia is facing a rebellion from shareholders angered by the Finnish mobile giant's partnership with Microsoft to develop Windows Phone handsets - and bent on toppling the company's CEO, Stephen Elop.

A group of nine young shareholders calling themselves 'Nokia Plan B' have created a website setting out a manifesto 'to challenge the company's strategy and partnership with Microsoft'.

The nine - all former Nokia employees who as yet remain anonymous - want to address the sense of betrayal felt by Nokia's developers and fans, and have made ousting current CEO and President Stephen Elop a central plank of their strategy.

Elop, a former president of Microsoft's business division, arrived at Nokia last September after the company's board ousted previous CEO, Olli-Pekka Lallasvuo.

Today another former Microsoftie, Chris Weber, has been appointed president of the Finnish company's US division - lending weight to speculation that the deal to develop Windows Phone devices amounts to a takeover in all but name.

The partnership is a significant one Nokia, which has never previously developed hardware for a third-party operating system.

The Microsoft deal looks likely to seal the fate of Nokia's last attempt at cracking the smartphone market, its MeeGo operating system. Intel, the Linux Foundation and Novell, with whom Nokia had been collaborating on MeeGo, have all expressed their disappointment at the company's decision.

Uncertainty also surrounds the future of Nokia's lower-end mobile OS, Symbian - leading to a rumoured mass walk-out last week by staff at two of the company's sites where large number of workers were engaged in Symbian development.

Plan B is asking for the support of fellow shareholders to elect them to a majority on Nokia's board, and promise a radical policy rethink that will take the company back to its roots.

Central to the group's manifesto are pledges to "maintain ownership and control of the software layer of the Nokia products", recruit top young talent to fuel innovation, and overhaul Nokia's "outdated and bureaucratic" R&D practices.

The group plans to limit the future scope of Nokia's partnership with Microsoft to a geographically limited arrangement in the North American market.