Let’s start with the breaking news: the Russian army started an offensive in Ukrainian territory, therefore not only in the disputed territories of Donbass and Crimea.
Within days the offensive from Belarus reached Kiev, putting the Ukrainian capital under siege.
After a first surprise, it comes a condemnation from NATO and the EU, responses that remained — cautiously — at the level of economic sanctions and blocks on Russian exports.
Regardless of the risk of possible subsequent escalations, these measures and the undermining of the credibility of the Putin regime suddenly impact the situation of Sailfish OS and Jolla Ltd.
In 2016, Jolla oy, despite the support of the Finnish state fund TEKES, was forced to look for investors and came under the control of a group of Russian shareholders. In the same year, work begins on a localised version of the operating system, called Sailfish OS Mobile OS RUS.
According to the latest data found, since 2016, simplifying, Rostelecom — through intermediary company — would own 61.46% of Jolla Oy.
Unless there have been recently changes, the situation should have remained the above.
After the first week of conflict, and the entry into force of the first 3 packages of sanctions — gradually more stringent — doubts and questions from the Community linked to Sailfish OS / Nokia have arisen.
One of the biggest doubts concerned a possible way out and survival without the partners and therefore the Russian capital.
After a series of questions, the answer:
“Sailfish OS is not used in Russia but Aurora OS instead. Further, as we stated we no longer have any active business or exports to Russia which means we don’t have active project with Aurora OS anymore.”
A concise reply via tweet, which however was not articulated, and here 24 hours later finally comes a long post from the Chairman of the board of directors of Jolla Ltd, Samuli Simojoki
Jollan hallituksen puheenjohtaja avaa Jollan tämänhetkistä tilannetta LinkedInissä: https://t.co/i3fqBrBtR0
— Jolla (@JollaHQ) February 28, 2022
The post is in Finnish, here is an English translation:
Putin’s attack on Ukraine is forcing each of us to evaluate our own actions against Russia. One place of reflection for myself is Jolla Oy, where I serve as an independent member and chairman of the board. For Jolla, a situation has developed over the years in which the company’s largest owner, but not the majority owner, is indirectly Rostelecom. Rostelecom, on the other hand, is a Russian listed company in which the Russian state owns about 45%. It would be easy to say that one does not want to operate in a company with such significant indirect ownership by the Russian state.
Who has been looking for an ownership arrangement for a long time, in which the company would have a balanced ownership structure and Russian ownership would be significantly reduced. The International Investment Bank has been involved in promoting the arrangement. Now, in the new situation, it is clear that the company has no future without completely exiting Russian ownership. The company is working to find an ownership arrangement that will make this possible.
Jolla Oy has been actively driving down its Russian business already during 2021 and will not generate any turnover from Russia. The only connection, then, is ownership. The company has some really interesting business openings in both the Automotive and Operating Systems sectors. It has long been indicated that several European countries would cooperate as soon as the ownership structure is adjusted. The company has a continuous and positive dialogue with representatives of the Finnish state on these themes. One of Jolla Oy’s important partners is Daimler, and a representative of Daimler is also on Jolla’s Board of Directors. We have had an ongoing dialogue with Daimler on the situation in recent days, and Daimler’s representation on the board remains.
The aim is therefore to save the company through the ownership arrangement described above. Jolla Oy is a great Finnish company that, for its part, maintains Finnish know-how in the field of operating systems and could have a great future ahead of it. As a member of the Board of Jolla Oy, I represent the interests of Jolla and not the interests of Jolla’s owners. That’s why I’m going to continue on the company’s board for the time being and try to help save the company from an awkward situation. I see that as a responsible way to act.
Jolla is trying to find a new form of ownership and become independent from Russia; currently the point of contact is ownership by Votron / Rostelecom.
Jolla had already turned towards the automotive sector in 2021 and it seems that there are synergies with Daimler.
The situation is very serious on the field, and it’s there where the efforts of all will have to go, but the impact of wars often falls on businesses and companies, and in these times… also on technology.
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