Nokia names Microsoft's Chris Weber as president

Microsoft's influence on Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia continues to grow with the news that 16-year Microsoft veteran Chris Weber has been appointed president of Nokia USA.

The move comes shortly after Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop, himself formerly of Microsoft, told his staff in an internal memo - quickly leaked - that Nokia was 'standing on a burning platform' and needed to make major changes.

The changes Elop had in mind, it turns out, mostly centered around a landmark partnership with his former employer that saw Nokia all but ditching its home-grown Symbian and MeeGo platforms in favour of the Windows Phone series from Microsoft.

While that push towards his former employer has been met with scorn from Nokia shareholders, this latest news is likely to really put the cat among the pigeons - putting, as it does, a second loyal Microsoftie in a major position of power

"I am very excited to be part of the Nokia team at this time of change and incredible opportunity," Weber claimed in a prepared statement. "Nokia's new strategy will open up new possibilities, and we look forward to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations in this market. We will work relentlessly on winning the trust of our customers and the hearts of consumers."

While it's heart-warming to see Weber worrying about the customers, his first job should perhaps be looking somewhat closer to home. Since Elop's memo was circulated and the news of a partnership with Microsoft announced, staff have been panicking and revolting, walking out in protest over the company's new direction.

As more news comes out of Nokia's headquarters, Microsoft's interest in the company is beginning to look more and more like a stealth takeover. We already know that the company is investing vast quantities of money into Nokia, and now appears to be replacing staff in key positions with Microsoft-friendly veterans.

It's not enough to prompt an investigation by the Monopolies Commission just yet, but it's something shareholders should be keeping a close eye on.