Time may be linear, but when one recalls the sale of Nokia’s Devices and Services in 2013, the linearity blurs. This pivotal move, which saw Nokia’s core division transferred to Microsoft for €5.44 billion, changed the history of the technology industry. Despite the 10.7 billion euros in revenue the division generated, its financial decline prompted the sale. The move, which threw 42,000 employees into turmoil, had a dramatic impact on the Finnish technology landscape.
After the sale, Nokia focused on networks and licencing, while Microsoft’s smartphone efforts faltered. Nokia’s resurgence began with HMD Global’s 2016 licencing deal that revived the iconic brand in mobile technology. Microsoft’s sale of Nokia’s featurephone division to a start-up for €350 million marked the rebirth of the Nokia phone brand.
The rise and fall of Nokia is an exciting chapter in business history. “Operation Elop” and the Nokia chairman’s “Paranoid Optimist” offer deeper insights. Numerous articles, blogs and websites deal with this story. Read Nokia’s and Microsoft’s press releases from that crucial day, revealing their intentions and predictions – some of which were remarkably off the mark.
Many die-hard Nokia fans will still say that it was the worst thing that could have happened to the phone industry. Can you imagine where PureView and Fabula Design would be now if development did not stop from 2013 to 2023. If only the world was not ruled by the constant need for money.
Some will think, and I am one of them, that Nokia shot itself in the foot. What should and could have been done was a smooth transition from Symbian with parallel development of Meego (at least one device a year) and an Android-based portfolio.
But hey, we have sung this song so many times before. Getting into bed with Microsoft was not a smart move. At least it was kind of fun to watch it all go down. From this we can learn how to be resilient.