Nokia. The brand name that was forged in Finland and outlived every other, so much so that it is now revered as a cultural phenomenon in the form of countless memes. The popularity is so widespread that even if you weren’t lucky enough to use its phones, you must be well acquainted with the classic ‘unbreakable’ Nokia phone. However, after an era of success, Nokia’s phones are not as popular as they used to be, anymore. In fact, suffice to say, the name virtually vanished about 2-3 years ago. The main reason: Nokia’s (mobile phones division’s) acquisition by Microsoft.
In 2014, Nokia’s mobile phones division was finally acquired by Microsoft (story for another time) at a valuation of $7 billion (classified as one of the worst deals ever made in Microsoft’s history), in hopes of using the brand name to market smartphones with Microsoft’s operating system, and make the most out of the rising smartphone tide. Long story short, it was a disaster which compelled Microsoft to kill the brand, for the best.
However, sometime after the brand was put to rest, a miracle came in the form of HMD Global, a Finnish company established by Nokia’s former employees, and Foxconn which offered to purchase the brand back and revive it by integrating its phones with the more popular Android OS, along with a load of new features. The deal was finalized in the year 2016 at a cost of approximately $350 million (Fun fact: Nokia was valued at $300 billion dollars, about 1,000 times more than the value of the deal, during its prime).
While the brand name is controlled by HMD Global, Foxconn is entitled to the manufacturing, distribution and sales arms of Nokia. Additionally, Nokia Technologies, a subsidiary of Nokia Corporation (Nokia is still functional as a separate organization and owns subsidiaries like Alcatel Mobile) is entitled to receive royalty from HMD corporation for branding and intellectual property rights.
Today, Nokia’s phones are barely anything more than nostalgia. The brand saw a decline of 39 per cent in terms of sales as compared to the industry’s 13 per cent decline, during the COVID-19 pandemic, which indicates that the pandemic is not the only reason behind it.
With the likes of Apple, Xiaomi, and Samsung capturing a huge portion of the smartphone market, it would take another miracle for Nokia to regain its glory in that segment. That being said, the brand itself is far from dead. It still commands a 13 per cent market share with the title of the 2nd biggest brand in the feature phone segment.
Hopefully, with the ongoing research and the technological advancements that Nokia is working on, we will eventually see our favorite brand rising to the top all over again and restore all the glory it once enjoyed.