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Derailed by a bump in the road

Nokia was once the leading mobile phone company. It was a company which innovated and turned the mobile phone from something which made and received calls and texts into the smartphone with which we are familiar today.

Yet Nokia encountered a very large bump in the road a couple of years ago when Apple launched the iPhone. Then Android appeared; all of a sudden, a Nokia phone was based on yesterday's technology and the company has, so far, failed to recover.
Since then, the standard 'fixes' have been applied: many jobs have been shed, executives replaced and so on – even disposing of its division producing diamond encrusted phones. Its latest chief exec admitted in a leaked internal memo that Nokia 'fell behind, missed big trends and lost time'. Although it's still selling a lot of handsets, Nokia is running out of time and – importantly – cash; projections suggest that it may not have enough in the bank to last out the year.
Last year, in an attempt to reverse its fortunes, it signed a deal with Microsoft to base its future phones on the Windows Phone platform, but Nokia remains in a bad place. Even if it can turns things round without outside help, there's little time and that is turning the company into a takeover target – Microsoft and Samsung have been rumoured to be interested and both could buy Nokia out of petty cash.
Microsoft is believed to be thinking about using Nokia as a way of reentering the mobile phone market again after its abortive attempt of a few years back. The attraction to Samsung – successful enough as a handset manufacturer – is less obvious and the company has strenuously denied any interest.
Could it be that, whatever happens, the damage to the brand means it's the end of the Nokia name?

Graham Pitcher

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