It was in November 2014 when the Nokia CEO officially announced that Nokia would not be making cellphones anymore. Though it didn’t happen globally and Microsoft bought Nokia, the brand could not be revived. Microsoft experimented with Nokia, first as Nokia, then as Lumia. It also tried a layered formula – Nokia for feature phones and Lumia for smartphones.
The catch was to develop a cellphone OS version of the world’s most successful computer OS, Microsoft’s Windows. Two years down the line, now there is a very real possibility that Microsoft would soon issue the official line that is shutting down its phone making operations.
Nokia was the global handset leader for 14 years till April 2014 when Samsung outdid it becoming the world’s largest handset maker. Since then it is all the Samsung and Apple. In fact, Apple’s entry in the smartphone market in 2007 was the beginning of the end for Nokia. Apple saw a meteoric rise. And so Samsung who rode the Android wave with Google, the most innovative of the tech giants, launching first Android OS (Android 1.0) in September 2008.
So, Apple had finesse and panache and Samsung had versatility of Android, but Nokia had none.
When the road ahead was clearly going to be smartphoned, Nokia was still banking on its feature phones. It didn’t develop fast and beautiful products like iPhone and iOS or versatile products like Samsung’s smartphone range or Google iOS.
By the time it realized its fault, the damage was already done and any chance to recovery was beyond any threshold of redemption. Android was free for everyone but Nokia failed to see the opportunity even if its Symbian OS with shabby and unacceptable apps looked archaic in front of iOS and Android – functionally as well as aesthetically.
Now, in 2016, Apple is the most profitable cellphone maker. Google’s Android is the most widely used OS. And Samsung is still the largest cellphone maker by volumes of sale and shipment.
While Nokia is still looking for some lease of life, this time trying to collaborate with a Finnish business outfit that will manufacture the Nokia brand cellphones and Nokia will get royalty.