Microsoft purchased Nokia's mobile phone business for 5.5 billion euros (US $7.2 billion), ending a chapter of uncertainty and expectation in Nokia's 148 years of uninterrupted trajectory of innovation, reinvention, and change.
Strong supply chain history
A quick look through Nokia's history since 1865 shows 148 years of innovation and change. As the company closes old doors and opens new ones, its supply chain is forced to change with it. With such history, we can tell that no matter what direction Nokia takes its supply chain will continue to serve the organization as it evolves.
Nokia has always demanded high standards in its supply chain. This has earned it its place as one of companies with the best supply chains in the world. Some see Nokia's sale to Microsoft as the possibility of a new beginning for a company that once led the world in mobile phone innovation, high-quality hardware, and green initiatives.
Consolidation may be the key
The sale of Nokia is expected to trigger a device/supply chain consolidation, as well as a hardware and software consolidation. This could instantly mean a new battle for Apple having a competitor in equal conditions of hardware and software under the same umbrella.
Samsung, Google, BlackBerry, and others may want to start paying more attention. Nokia Solutions and Networks will remain in Finland, as well as R&D, with better focus, and possibilities of growth.
Of course, the question of jobs is one that worries everyone. Steve Ballman, CEO of Microsoft, was in Espoo, Finland yesterday to reassure the industry that the 32,000 Nokia workers would be transferred to Microsoft. The company plans to open a datacenter in Oulu, in Northern Finland.
The project will bring some employment opportunities. However, we also know that some of those transfers will choose to just leave Nokia to join the startup world. Past experience indicates that the availability of talent may bring new technology companies to the scene.
Nokia changes again
Those of you who have followed my thoughts about Nokia, its ups and downs, and the partnership with Microsoft since 2011 know on some occasions that I, too, have become a little emotional (admittedly not a good practice in business).
Today, Aki Antman, CEO at Sulava, told me something that made me stop in the middle of writing this piece to think and reflect some more. “Here in Finland too many people think Nokia is a national treasure, or a state-owned company, to which market rules don't apply,” he said.
I see his point. At the same time, I cannot be completely at ease as I consider the company's history and Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO. Officially, Elop has been named executive vice president of devices and services at Nokia, but many believe that he is the heir apparent as CEO of Microsoft upon Ballmer's departure.
In my opinion, Elop has failed in leadership to Nokia. During his reign, for example, Nokia saw steep decline related to the company's choice to use Windows as the primary platform for its phones. I am not alone in that some have taken to calling him “Stephen Eflop.”
This makes me wonder whether the outcome of this story would have been different with other leadership. For now, let's be positive, and wait and see what the future will bring to this new chapter in the mobile devices world.