Finland’s Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb, recently made front page news because he blamed Apple for Finland’s poor economy.
Nokia was founded in 1865 by Fredrick Idestam and Leo Mechelin, however, the first fully functioning Nokia phone was released much later, in the 1980s. Soon after launching, Nokia became a dominant player in the mobile phone market and had a majority of the market share in the 90s.
Nokia became the phone manufacturer of choice for most consumers and classic Nokia phones such as the Nokia 3310, can make many people now in their 20s and 30s rather nostalgic. Nokia’s market dominance made both Nokia and Finland rich, however, this changed as soon as consumer mobile phone demands shifted towards smartphones and Nokia could no longer lay claim to being the most innovative mobile phone manufacturer.
Nokia employs over 90,000 people and contributed significantly to the Finish economy; therefore, it is understandable when the country’s Prime Minister has a deep concern for Nokia’s revenue.
In 2007, Apple released a new phone concept to the world. It released a touch screen smart phone with an easy to use user interface and “apps” (applications). It changed the way people used their phones and Apple’s market share started to reflect what the consumers wanted.
The iPhone was released in 2007, however, Nokia held on to the majority of the smartphone market share for 4 years after the first iPhone was released. This did not stop Apple and they gained more fans annually after the yearly releases of new and improved iPhones. In 2011, for the first time in history, Apple took over Nokia’s top spot and has beaten Nokia for smartphone sales every year since.
One of the main issues Nokia faced was its reliance on the aging Symbian operating system that simply couldn’t keep up with Apple’s iOS and the Android operating system from Google and partners.
Is Apple Really to Blame?
Nokia lost touch with consumers and no longer released devices the mass market wanted. The company was investing in devices that were lacking appeal and it seemed innovation was Nokia’s weakness.
Some people blame Nokia’s senior management and R&D for the downfall, while others seem to think Nokia was too slow to release good devices as soon as they saw their market share slip.
Many businesses use financial consolidation software to keep track of finances in every department and Nokia could have used this information to redistribute investment. Perhaps investment in creative heads and R&D could have solved the problem before it got worse. Many news articles claim Nokia over paid under worked senior staff, wasting millions in the process.
Two main operating systems, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, dominate the smartphone software market now so it surprised many consumers when Nokia decided to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone software instead of Android.
Nokia was purchased by Microsoft in 2013 for over $5billion, signaling its future lied firmly with Windows.
Today, the smartphone market changes daily. New smartphones are released regularly and each new device wants to become the next best-selling handset.
Why Did Nokia Fail?
Apple might have contributed to Nokia’s downfall but Nokia’s lack of appealing devices and failure to keep up with shifting market trends were the main reasons the company saw such a rapid fall from grace.
Nokia’s Windows based handsets are slowly catching up and the company still make solid hardware but it might be too little too late and the once ubiquitous Nokia name could soon be consigned to history.