The last time Nokia traded above $39 a share, the original iPhone had just closed out its first six months on the market. Yet five years of battles between Apple and Google have left Nokia on the sidelines.
By the beginning of 2012, the company’s stock price sunk below $5. Forbes reported that Samsung, Apple, HTC and Research in Motion pushed Nokia into fifth place for smartphone market share. Under fire, Nokia stopped selling anything but Windows-based phones in the United States.
Nokia’s no slouch, despite what you hear from gadget bloggers.
Its mobile navigation division supplies map data to governments, businesses and other technology companies. Its infrastructure team builds towers that connect iPhones, Android handsets and Blackberry devices to carrier networks. Nokia’s cell phone division still commands a significant share of feature phone sales outside the United States.
Nokia’s leadership team wants to get Nokia’s mojo back so badly, they’re making five bold moves in 2012:
Analysts worry that Nokia’s embrace of the Windows Phone platform leaves it vulnerable to Microsoft’s whims and weaknesses. However, even the most ardent iPhone fans grudgingly acknowledged that WP7.5′s Metro interface offers a true alternative to the app-centric iOS and Android experiences.
Graduates of Microsoft software developer training courses can develop for WP7.5 as easily as they can for desktop Windows.
With former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop entering his third year as Nokia’s CEO, expect even more close collaboration between Espoo and Redmond.
While holiday shoppers endured long iPhone lines outside Apple Stores, Nokia’s engineering team was busy working with engineers from Carl Zeiss.
Together, they built an unprecedented 41 megapixel camera sensor for the Nokia 808 PureView smartphone. Though this model won’t go on sale in the United States, it portends a future where Nokia takes an even higher road than Apple, seeking customers who demand professional-quality images at consumer prices.
Nokia used this year’s Mobile World Congress as the launchpad for three new models in its Asha range of feature phones.
Further blurring the lines between smartphones and “candy bar” handsets, Asha offers built-in apps that include support for Exchange email, social networking and EA games. Nokia’s engineers hope their innovation can meet the needs of users who don’t want to make the jump into more expensive smartphones.
Leveraging decades of industrial experience, Nokia announced major overhauls of its factories in Hungary, Mexico and Finland.
Instead of building phones start-to-finish, workers will now focus on customizing products and packaging for end users in adjacent markets. Moving forward, Nokia will assemble most of its products in Asia, where it can benefit from cheaper labor and shipping costs.
Nokia product managers continue to delve deeper into African and Asian markets where SMS messages still trump always-on data networks.
At the same time, Nokia wants to explore new options in the urban areas it already serves. Many of the company’s most ambitious plans involve installing exclusive network access points in subway tunnels, office buildings and other locations cell towers can’t reach.
This isn’t the first time the company has reinvented itself after massive market changes. Nokia’s corporate history dates back to 1871.
Across two centuries, the company evolved from an industrial pulp supplier to a tire and shoe manufacturer, to the telecommunications giant we know today.
Nokia’s moves signal that it’s not willing to stay in fifth place for very long.