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Timeline: Nokia Before The Crash-landing

Madana Prathap June 15, 2012
Timeline: Nokia Before The Crash-landing
How about buying a Nokia? Yes, used to be the unanimous and safe answer. It is not quite as easy anymore. Whether you're thinking about buying a Nokia product or shares, you probably want to pause and consider your risk-taking ability now.

Nokia is now staring straight down the barrel of massive project cancellations, job losses and reduced in-house R&D. With as much loss of market-share, and burning through as much cash as it is now, speculations abound of this once-great company being bought out.

Hard to imagine now, but Nokia owned an overwhelming majority of market-share barely three years ago. Indian geeks surely remember all the happy times with their Symbian smartphone, with many who continue to use one even today.

The other mobile OSes on the market seem to have scared Nokia to death. And then having to decide on an OS platform for the future scared them to a second death! Look at the vacillation between the platforms chosen for Nokia devices in recent times:
- Symbian^3, Anna, Belle
- Maemo/MobLin, MeeGo/Tizen
- Windows Phone 7

The above are the platforms Nokia tried – in addition to the existing S60/S40/S30. They seemed to be coasting in auto-pilot mode, then were simply coasting with some losses... Until a new CEO came in and issued a (leaked) memo that promptly got the Nokia ship's engines sputtering and failing like never before.

Here's a quick timeline down the years, of Nokia from its beginnings to today's debacle:

Nokia Tyres1865 – Nokia Company starts in Finland, with a groundwood pulp mill making paper.

1922 – The company is jointly dealing in rubber products, telephone cables and paper. Nokia was previously acquired by a different owner, after going bankrupt.

1967 – The conglomerate Nokia Corporation is formed. Quoting Wikipedia, it was involved in many industries, producing at one time or another paper products, car and bicycle tires, footwear including rubber boots, communications cables, televisions and other consumer electronics, personal computers, electricity generation machinery, robotics, capacitors, military communications and equipment, plastics, aluminium and chemicals.

1984 – Nokia launches one of the first transportable phones, the Mobira Talkman weighing a little less than 5kg. Consumers rejoice (!!). By this time the company had already been in the electronics and radio business for two decades.

1988 – Footwear and tyres businesses spin out. Nokia is focused on the "fastest growing segments in telecom" and begins divesting itself from all else. The displays and TV business throws up huge losses, CEO Kari Kairamo commits suicide.