The Bizarro Steve Jobs

If we ever discover there really is a [Bizarro World](, perhaps the role of Apple CEO will be filled by Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Kallasvuo, the CEO of phone giant Nokia, visited Silicon Valley this week to headline an event titled, “From Cell Phones to Software & Services.”

The timing was great since it was the night before the launch of [Nokia’s touch screen mobile device ](/mobility/article.php/3775641/Nokia+Takes+On+Apple+With+Touch+and+Tunes.htm)designed to compete with Apple’s hot-selling iPhone. In the unlikely event Jobs ever spoke publicly at a non-Apple event, you know he’d be hyping the heck out of Apple’s products. But did Kallasvuo even hint at the launch during his onstage interview with Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard? Not a whiff.

Stories about Steve Jobs invariably tag him with words like mercurial, feisty, secretive and charismatic. Kallasvuo is none of those. Two words come to mind after hearing the head of the Finland-based phone giant — humble and soft-spoken. And as long as we’re contrasting him with Steve ‘NDA’ Jobs, it makes sense to add Kallasvuo’s guiding philosophy: openness.

He pulled the trigger on the deal to buy up all of Symbian and make the mobile operating system’s code open source so developers could tinker, customize and improve on it. Under Jobs, Apple controls the development, distribution and approval of applications for the iPhone.

Not that many are [complaining](/dev-news/article.php/3772001/Apple+Adds+an+Odd+Wrinkle+to+iPhone+Apps+Policy.htm); there’s been a virtual stampede of developers working on iPhone apps. Different people, different philosophies.

One similarity, the two are nearly as tenured at their respective companies. Apple has been around a bit more than 30 years. Kallasvuo has been at Nokia almost as long, 28 years. He says he’s nearly the longest tenured employee there. Apple was of course a start up when Jobs and high school friend Steve Wozniak formed it in 1976, though Jobs left the company for several years.

Conversely, Nokia was well established when Kallasvuo joined — I learned this week the company has actually been around since 1865 when it started as a paper mill, branching off later to tires, televisions and other electronics.

**A man of many titles**

And where Jobs has always been top dog, Kallasvuo joined Nokia as its general council. He was also its chief financial officer among other positions before being appointed CEO in 2006.

Nokia has the lion’s share of the mobile market by far with over a billion customers worldwide. Apple has a sexy high end niche. Jobs touts Apple’s uniqueness and technological prowess; Kallasvuo is banking on partnerships. Jobs is quick to point out why the iPhone is better than any other mobile device before it; [Kallasvuo thanked Apple ](/mobility/article.php/3775371/Apple+Gets+Kudos+for+the+iPhone+From+Nokias+CEO.htm)for setting the bar higher.

Different philosophies. Apple continues to pioneer and do things its own way, albeit with rapidly growing developer support; Kallasvuo sounds almost desperate to sign up partners to its cause.

“In a world that’s really a convergence world of many industries, it’s not any one company here that will be able to do this alone,” he said. “That’s why openness is needed. I think a lot of soul searching is going on in many companies of how to partner.”

What would Steve say to that? I’m guessing, “Think different!”

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