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Reinventing the Corporation 

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Description:  In the late 1990s, Nokia was a dominant and highly profitable competitor in the rapidly growing mobile phone market. Nokia was widely admired for its capacity to innovate and evolve its business from a maker of wood and rubber products to the leader in mobile telephony. By 2013, Nokia’s fortunes had plummeted. Its market share had eroded sharply, it reported large financial losses, and it seemed to have no answer to the onslaught of competition from Apple and Samsung. In September 2013, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop sold the company to Microsoft. In our case discussion, we will try to understand the roots of Nokia’s success, and the extent to which they could have avoided the eclipse of a once-dominant position.

Please read The Rise and Fall of Nokia and consider the following assignment questions:

How did Nokia become such a successful player in the mobile phone business by the late 1990s? What strategic actions created enduring sources of competing advantage? What were Nokia’s strengths?

Why was Nokia unable to adapt to the smartphone era? What caused Nokia to lose its advantage?

Two significant events in the evolution of Nokia had to do with their dominance in emerging markets, and their reaction (or lack thereof) to the iPhone.  What’s your assessment of Nokia’s approach in each of these cases?

What lessons does the Nokia saga teach you about your own organization?