Few people outside of Finland realize that Nokia is nearly 150 years old, and in its past the company has produced such diverse offerings as rifles, umbrellas, rubber boots, raincoats, tires, paper, and consumer electronics.
In 1991, its mobile phone unit was a small, peripheral division, yet the company recognized its potential as the driver of future growth. By 1994 Nokia sold off its industrial divisions and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange as the world’s premier supplier of mobile phones, creating and driving a new market that it dominated to such an extent that at its peak Nokia’s share of the global cellphone market was greater than the combined market share of its top three competitors.
But over the past several years there have been increasingly vocal doubts about Nokia’s ability to retain its market position, or even its overall viability. The company never established a strong foothold in the U.S. market and has not been a leading player in the smartphone arena, the telecom industry’s fastest growing segment. It seems Nokia’s reign is about to end, as the company faces the rapid convergence of both content and platform providers from diverse market segments in a race to become the most indispensable source of mobile experiences of the future for consumers. In fact, one analyst recently speculated that Nokia’s “core business is worth nothing at all.” And so it seems the company risks being left behind in a sea of obsolescence, unless it can once again redefine its business to remain relevant to consumers.
[Image via doeswhat.]