For all the flack we give Nokia about being noncompetitive in the smartphone space, mainly for being late to the touch screen game and because they alienated so many people with the Nokia N97 back in 2009, the Finnish handset maker is surprisingly ahead of everyone else when it comes to near field communications (NFC) support. Practically every Symbian smartphone they’ve announced over the past few months has NFC built-in, from the ultra low end Nokia 603 to the bleeding edge Nokia N9. You’d think that Nokia’s lead in NFC would be something that their employees would be proud of, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. According to NFC World, three high level Nokia executives have either left or are in the process of leaving the company to move on to better things:
Damien Balsan, Nokia’s head of NFC business development for the Americas, has joined PayPal as director of ecosystem partnerships at the online payments giant’s newly formed point-of-sale unit.
Mark Selby (pictured above), Nokia’s UK-based VP of industry collaborations, will leave the company at the end of December for “a new adventure”.
Mikko Saarisalo, Nokia’s lead delegate to the NFC Forum and vice chairman of the trade association, has also left the handset manufacturer to join NFC trusted service manager C-Sam, a key supplier to the US Isis NFC joint venture.
It’s hard to speculate as to why these folks have decided to jump ship, but something tells us it’s because now that Microsoft is in charge they’re simply no longer needed. Microsoft already has an NFC guy in place for whenever Windows Phone gets NFC support, they also already have someone at the NFC Forum, and as for Selby … it shouldn’t be too hard to find an Englishman with a charismatic personality who can be one of the many faces of the company.