Nokia’s failure in the smartphone business is a complex and multifaceted story. Here are some of the main reasons are:
- Nokia resisted the smartphone evolution and underestimated the importance of software, apps, and user experience. It relied too much on its hardware expertise and its dominant position in the feature phone market.
- Nokia missed some key opportunities to adopt new technologies and platforms, such as touch-screen, Android, and Windows Phone. It stuck with its own operating system, Symbian, which was outdated, slow, and difficult to develop for.
- Nokia failed to innovate and market its products effectively. It was unable to create a distinctive brand identity and appeal to different segments of customers. It also faced fierce competition from Apple, Samsung, and other rivals who offered more attractive and diverse options.
- Nokia made some strategic blunders that worsened its situation, such as the deal with Microsoft in 2011 that tied it to an unpopular platform and alienated many of its loyal customers and developers. It also lost some of its top talent and leadership due to internal conflicts and restructuring.
These factors combined to erode Nokia’s market share, profitability, and reputation in the smartphone industry. By 2013, it had to sell its handset business to Microsoft for a fraction of its former value.
Did Nokia Have Any Success In Smartphone Business At All?
Nokia did make some successful smartphones, especially in the early days of the smartphone market. Some of the most popular Nokia smartphones were:
- Nokia 6620: Released in 2004, this was one of the first smartphones to run on Symbian OS and support 3G networks. It had a 2.1-inch color screen, a VGA camera, and a memory card slot.
- Nokia N95: Released in 2007, this was a flagship smartphone that featured a dual-slider design, a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, GPS, Wi-Fi, and a 2.6-inch screen. It was praised for its multimedia capabilities and sold over 7 million units.
- Nokia E71: Released in 2008, this was a business-oriented smartphone that had a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.4-inch screen, a 3.2MP camera, and a sleek metal body. It was one of the best-selling Nokia smartphones of all time, with over 10 million units sold.
- Nokia 5310 XpressMusic: Released in 2007, this was a music-focused smartphone that had dedicated music keys, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an FM radio, and a microSD card slot. It was very thin and light, and sold over 50 million units.
However, Nokia’s smartphone success declined after the launch of the iPhone and Android devices, which offered more advanced features, better user interfaces, and larger app ecosystems. Nokia’s later smartphones, such as the Lumia series that ran on Windows Phone OS, failed to gain much traction in the market and were eventually discontinued after Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset business in 2014.