Remember when Nokia was cool? I’m sure you or someone you knew owned one of their handsome little brick phones back when bricks were king. Being a contrarian myself, I went for the clam-shell flip phones, but I remember gazing longingly at the Finnish simplicity of the 3310. The ruled the roost in the late 90’s, but like Motorola they squandered their lead and of late have become just another also-ran in the smart phone race.
TechCrunch recently wrote up a very detailed piece on Nokia’s current woes, and it is well worth the read. In the article, reporter Natasha Lomas explains that while the Finnish phone-maker came out with one of the first smart phones and recognized apps as a game changer, the company was unable to roll those innovations out successfully. In other words, they didn’t execute on their innovation.
Here is where I disagree with Natasha’s main assertion: that Nokia needs to innovate or die. In fact, I think that Nokia is a perfect example of “innovate AND die.” Nokia innovated, and they innovated well. What they lacked was a way to cash-cow their current business and incubate the new business of software ecosystem to supersede their hardware focus. Had they created a way to capitalize on all their numerous innovations this would be a very different tale – one in which Nokia would occupy Samsung’s current leadership spot.
While her conclusions don’t quite add up, Natasha has done a great job of aggregating the pertinent facts, first-hand accounts, and expert analysis that enable you to make your own judgements on what brought the once-great company low. Head on over to TechCrunch and read the full piece here. Despite this dismissive piece breaking over the New Year’s weekend, Nokia’s stock price soared up 5.6% today ahead of the International CES show next week. 5.6% rise or not, don’t expect to catch yourself staring at a beautiful Finnish handset anytime soon.