A group of shareholders who pledged to stand for election to the company's board of directors in an attempt to reverse the phone maker's recent shift in strategy have admitted defeat after failing to attract enough institutional support.

The shareholders, who all claimed to be individuals who had in the past worked in various positions at or with Nokia, posted an open letter yesterday calling for support in their bid. According to the letter, they fear that orientating the company's offerings around partnership with Microsoft and the Windows Phone 7 platform is a mistake that will destroy Nokia's reputation for innovation and technical superiority.

If elected, the signatories would have called for several changes to company policy, including a re-invigorated commitment to the open source MeeGo operating system, bringing all research activities back in-house and discharging the senior management team, along with current President and CEO Stephen Elop.

However, 36 hours later, the team have called it quits on their plans. According to their website, while hundreds of individual shareholders were keen to support their bid, institutional investors were unwilling to consider the idea. The shareholders also claimed that by the time their plan went into effect, significant damage would already have been done, with most software engineering talent abandoning the firm.

Nokia's plans have stirred controversy in other quarters, with Finnish trade unions claiming damages for employees due to be made redundant under the scheme. Stock markets have also reacted badly to the news, with Nokia's share price dropping by almost 25% since the announcement.