Nokia’s workers admit they are apprehensive and Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said the country’s people are sad and confused about Microsoft buying its phone business.
Nokia is deeply rooted in the Finnish psyche, a source of pride from how it boosted the economy.
Now Europe’s last big handset maker has been delivered into American ownership and Alexander Stubb, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, told euronews of the national mood.
Stubb said: “The personal reaction, probably of every Finn who has grown up with a Nokia in their pocket is a little bit emotional. I, of course, belong to that generation; I had the first huge mobile phones which were like bricks, so we have an emotional attachment, because it is also linked to the modern success story of Finland; we grew out of being a top 30 to a top three country with Nokia in the 1990s and 2000s.
“Having said that I always see the silver lining in every cloud and the positive side. Now we have two enormous IT giants in Finland, one being Microsoft and the other being Nokia, over half of its business is still left [in Finland].
“Our IT hub for Europe is going to be Finland, for now and for the forseeable future. It’s a marriage of two giants, and I think something good will come out of it.”
Nokia’s fate serves as a warning for other consumer electronics giants.
At its peak the symbol of Nordic entrepreneurial engineering prowess and design accounted for 40 percent of the world’s mobile phone sales, a fifth of Finland’s exports, and one-third of its home country’s research and development spending
But its abrupt fall symbolised the sector’s breakneck speed and unforgiving competition.
Nimble rivals can quickly upset established industry leaders and Nokia was not nimble enough, for example failing to bring to the market the touch-screen handsets it pioneered three years before the iPhone.
It was the same story with the tablet computer the company developed as early as 2005.