Ari Partinen, an engineer at Nokia for the past seven years who achieved leadership of the Scandinavian electronics firm’s Lumia Photography division, announced today that he was leaving the company and starting a fresh career at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). One of the finest feathers in his cap during his years at Nokia was sharing in the invention of PureView, which uses massive oversampling to create a smaller image with outstanding clarity and vividness. This technology is extremely useful for smartphone cameras, such as that found in the iPhone.
Mr. Partinen states that his move to Cupertino will occur in June of this year. Whether the move is literal immigration to the United States of America, as seems likely, or a figurative move remains to be seen. The odds are in favor of a physical move, given the hands-on nature of technological hardware development (unlike software development, which is somewhat easier to coordinate remotely).
Fans of Apple (AAPL) will doubtless find significance in the fact that Mr. Partinen elected to switch over to the Cupertino company rather than to rival Microsoft in the wake of the latter’s acquisition of Nokia. Apparently, the Finnish designer sees a brighter future with iOS than with Android. For its part, Steve Jobs’ company is gaining the services of an individual who spearheaded development of such bleeding edge camera tech as oversampling, four axis optical stabilization, and lossless zoom, which place Nokia phone cameras a jump ahead of all others.
Nokia has shed camera related personnel before, including the previous imaging lead Damian Dinning. The Scandinavian firm, which was one of the groundbreaking leaders in introducing mobile communications decades ago – before Apple Inc. (AAPL) ever existed – has been faltering in recent years as younger, more aggressive firms have pushed smartphones to the fore. Though Nokia produced its own smartphone line and may continue to do so under Microsoft’s ownership, these phones were simply no competition to “sexy” competitors such as the iPhone and Galaxy, despite their superior camera technology.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) is clearly on a binge of hiring experts and acquiring companies during the first half of 2014. How soon these hires and purchases will translate into new products and services is unclear, of course, as is any indication of whether the changes they usher in will be subtle and gradual, or spectacular and transforming.