This post focuses on the reasons why Nokia failed after enjoying unrivaled dominance in the mobile segment for several years. The ferocious and mighty telecom giant Nokia was well known for its products' hardware and battery life. For years, it was the talk of the town. User satisfaction with Nokia’s mobiles was globally recognized. The company launched the first internet-enabled phone in 1996 and by the start of the millennium, Nokia had launched a touch-screen mobile prototype as well.
This was the start of a revolution in the mobile phone industry. The Finnish giant was the largest cell phone maker in 1998. Nokia overtook Motorola, a move that was hard to predict. So what exactly happened if all was going well? It wasn’t a single factor but a myriad of reasons, most of which resulted from the resistance to change.
The Resistance To Smartphone Evolution
Nokia failed to take advantage of the Android bandwagon. When mobile phone manufacturers were busy improving and working on their smartphone segment, Nokia remained stubborn and Samsung soon launched its Android phone range that was cost-effective and user-friendly. The Nokia management was under the impression that people wouldn’t accept touch screen phones and would continue with the QWERTY keypad layout.
This misapprehension was the start of its downfall. Nokia never considered Android as an advancement and neither wanted to adopt the Android operating system. After realizing the market trends, Nokia introduced its Symbian Operating System. However, it was too late by then with Apple and Samsung having cemented their positions. It was difficult for the Symbian Operating System to make any inroads. This is the biggest reason behind Nokia's downfall.
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The Deal With Microsoft
Another reason for Nokia's failure was the ill-time deal with Microsoft. The company sold itself to Microsoft at a time when the Software behemoth was fraught with losses. Nokia's sale screamed the mobile phone maker's inability to survive on its own. Apple and Samsung were making significant strides in innovation and technical developments in parallel. It was too late for Nokia to adapt to the dynamic and rigorous changes in the market. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia is considered to be one of the biggest blunders, fruitful for neither side.
Nokia's Failed Marketing Strategies
Generally, a startup fails because of bad market strategy and the same happened with Nokia. The company followed an unsuccessful strategy of umbrella branding. Apple was the first company to apply the umbrella branding model with the iPhone at the top. It kept adding new models to this umbrella year after year. Samsung followed the same route by launching the Samsung Galaxy series but Nokia failed to take cues. The user trust Nokia built over the years was gradually waning. The company was inefficient in its selling and distribution. Seeing the mess, Nokia decided to come up with some fascinating hardware and software innovations. However, these were already released by rivals and had no uniqueness to them. Failure in Nokia’s marketing and distribution strategies led to its elimination of the company from the mobile industry.
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Moving Too Slow With The Industry
Nokia never kept pace with changing technology and trends. Nokia was always famous for its hardware and didn’t pay much heed to its software lineup. Initially, the company overlooked technical innovation at the cost of avoiding risks associated with bringing innovation in phones. The business needed diversion but it was too late by the time Nokia realized this. Instead of being amongst the early initiators, Nokia transitioned when almost every major brand had already started producing awesome phones.
Overestimation Of Strength
Nokia overestimated its brand value. The company believed that even after the late launch of its smartphones, people would still flock to stores and purchase Nokia phones. A misconception!People still make predictions of Nokia retaining market leadership if it adapts and accepts android or uses better software at its core. However, this is far from the truth as seen today. The company got stuck with its software system which is known to have several bugs and clunks. Nokia felt its previous glory would help alleviate any sort of trouble. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out that way.
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Lack Of Innovation In Products
The lack of innovation in their products only added to Nokia's woes. While brands like Samsung and Apple came up with advanced phones every year, Nokia simply launched the Windows phone with basic features. The Nokia Lumia series was a jump-start measure, but even that collapsed due to lack of innovation. The unattractive and dull features didn’t help. In the era of 4G, Nokia didn’t even have 3G enabled phones. Nokia also came up with the Asha series but by then, everything was over.
Wrong decisions and risk aversion brought the decline of the mobile giant. Nokia refrained from adopting the latest tech. Nokia's failure became a case study that made organizations realize the importance of continuous evolution and enhancements. The demise of what was once the world’s best mobile phone company to losing it all by 2013 is quite tragic. Nokia also strongly lacked leadership and guidance.
During this time, several other big tech brands ceased to exist. Unfortunately, Nokia didn’t learn any lessons from them. Nokia still has opportunities to re-enter the market as a strong contender since its erstwhile audience still holds optimism. All hope’s not lost if the company is ready to revitalize and come in with an exciting lineup of products.