The Rise and Fall of Nokia: What We Can Learn From It

Last week we shared the success story of Instagram. However, is the IT startup and world filled with stories of triumph and pageantry only?

Never! The continuous advancement in information, communication and technology has left behind a burial ground of failing and failed companies whose final burial rites are performed via acquisitions, management buy-outs and bankruptcies.

The most painful case study is the rise and death of Nokia. In the early part of 2000, Nokia was the golden child of mobile technology and innovation. The company grew so fast across the six continents of the world by controlling over 60% global market share across basic, feature and smart phone categories.

But unfortunately, Nokia did not see the handwriting on the wall. The wind of change had entered the mobile technology space. The knowledge gap between big corporations like Nokia and young tech startups was closed up. Newer but better and open source operating systems such as Android was developed. The iPhone also had a grand slam home run with record sales in better devices with a faster, sleeker and simple iOS. As opposed to an haphazard Symbian OS from Nokia, Android was like an empty room that the tenant is spoilt with a choice to decide what he wants to put in. These made Android and iOS darlings of a teeming population of mobile app developers. Less than three years, Android and iOS transformed into two moving trains that any OEM that did not hop into was to be crushed. Nokia’s problems was also compounded by its stiffness not to move away from keypad-based phones to sleeker and touch screen smart phones.

The arrogance of Nokia not to move on to Android, its adamant decision to stick to anachronistic designs and a culture of not listening to the customer; killed the company.

Ziyad Jabara, wrote a trending article that depicted the grief and regret of Nokia’s management.

‘During the press conference to announce Nokia being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia CEO ended his speech saying this “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. Upon saying that, all his management team, himself included, teared sadly’.

He concluded by saying:

‘The advantage you have yesterday, will be replaced by the trends of tomorrow. You don’t have to do anything wrong, as long as your competitors catch the wave and do it RIGHT, you can lose out and fail.’

‘To change and improve yourself is giving yourself a second chance. To be forced by others to change, is like being discarded.’

‘Those who refuse to learn & improve, will definitely one day become redundant & not relevant to the industry. They will learn the lesson in a hard & expensive way.’

Originally published in NextGen, a newsletter of SBI Media

Image Credit: wasteurtime