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Nokia MeeGo Chief Gone

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) next-generation device developer Ari Jaaksi is out.

Not only is Jaaksi the most recent executive to hit the door in the past month -- CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was replaced last month by Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) business software head Steve Elop -- but the move signals an ongoing shakeup of Nokia's troubled smartphone effort.

Jaaksi was in charge of Nokia's MeeGo devices, a joint software development with Intel (INTC) that was created to power a new line of Nokia superphones. The MeeGo devices were expected to succeed Nokia's Symbian 3 operating system and finally deliver a touch-screen controlled, Web-friendly, app-rich device to match or exceed Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone and the growing roster of Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android phones.

And while the move would seem to put Nokia in the market for another operating system, say the upcoming Microsoft Windows 7 system, some observers say MeeGo is still the choice.

Last month, Nokia hired Peter Skillman, the lead developer behind the Palm Pre. Skillman was brought in to work with MeeGo, which is a Linux-based computer operating system.

Jaaksi might be out, but MeeGo isn't, said MKM Partners' analyst Tero Kuittinen. "MeeGo is arguably superior to Android when it comes to raw number crunching in demanding 3D graphics work," he said. "I think the MeeGo commitment is too big to be reversed at this point."

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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