Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri opened the door on diversifying into new areas and moving “beyond operators” following its Alcatel-Lucent acquisition, while describing the joint company “as the western alternative to Huawei” in an interview with the Economic Times (ET).
Suri spoke to ET in one of his first media interviews since announcing the organisation structure for the joint Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent entity, which will see Nokia executives dominate the leadership of the new Networks business.
While talking up the company’s ambitions in India, where it will open a 5G IoT lab in December, Suri also addressed a number of issues facing the joint entity, with the merger still on course to complete in the first half of 2016.
Suri said “selectively” the company would be willing to trade margin for business, which could see diversification into new areas, including public safety and enterprise, and a move beyond the operator community.
“We want to target cloud players like Google, Facebook and so on,” he added.
On competition, Suri likened Nokia’s portfolio to Huawei over Ericsson, describing it as “more end-to-end”.
“(Nokia and Huawei) have IP, fixed, transport, mobile and the applications and analytic business on top,” he said. “If you think about Ericsson, it lacks some of this. It doesn’t have IP, doesn’t have fixed and doesn’t have that credibility in transport. So we are the western alternative to Huawei.”
Suri’s comments bear resemblance to the thoughts of former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, who took aim last year at the likes of Cisco and Ericsson when comparing the company’s product portfolio to its rivals. On Huawei, Combes also said the Chinese vendor had a portfolio that was “closest in terms of skills and capabilities.”
Addressing the merger as a whole, Suri said it “will succeed without a doubt”, with 10 out of 13 members in the planned group leadership team coming from Nokia.
“We were very clear that merger of equals don’t succeed. We wanted clear governance. The chairman and CEO are from Nokia and the team has been selected on merit. So no politics, no nonsense.”