Expectations are great

what follows isn't always

The Leckey File

Your Money

April 25, 2004|By Andrew Leckey

If the tech business were a book, it would be Great Expectations.

Take cell phone-maker Nokia Corp. Several years ago, I met with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jorma Ollila in his office in Espoo, Finland.

"Earnings up 65 percent," he mused, shaking his head about the latest results. "Why not 25 percent or 30 percent? Now they'll expect 65 percent or better every time."

He was right. America didn't take quickly to many new Nokia phone features, and the economy faltered. The stock tanked, though it gradually improved.

Ollila recently announced that Nokia's first-quarter phone sales lagged behind the industry's gains and that its sales projections weren't met. The stock was hammered.

I'll bet Ollila would love to flip back the pages to the good old days when he and Nokia investors fretted about too much of a good thing.

Andrew Leckey is a Tribune Media Services columnist. E-mail him at yourmoney@ tribune.com.

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