Just yesterday, Microsoft announced that it would buy Nokia’s smartphone division and the rights to its patents for $US7 billion.
But some people the Finnish tech industry seem to be less than pleased.
“As a Finnish person, I cannot like this deal.” Danske Capital Senior Portfolio Manager Juha Varis told Reuters. “On the other hand, it was maybe the last opportunity to sell it.”
Varis later said the deal was worth peanuts compared to Nokia’s history.
Here’s another reaction, via Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade’s Twitter account:
Though, others in Finland aren’t all that surprised.
“I am not surprised and to be honest, though Nokia has a major national pride momentum in Finland (we talk about the Nokia “miracle”), this move was totally inevitable, as the smartphone game was lost a long time ago, and Nokia has been struggling for a long time while Apple and Google/Android have been dominating the market,” Inka Mero, a board member who represents the startup sector at Finnish Industry Investment tells Business Insider via email.
Meanwhile, others see it as a major turning point for mobile.
“Today was a significant milestone for mobile industry,” Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimaki said in a statement to Business Insider. “Something new will also come from this, many of it good. Finnish mobile industry has huge amount of talent and know- how.”
Pienimaki joined Jolla, a Finnish smartphone company that spun out of Nokia, in May of this year.
“This know-how will inevitably transfer into new business in the mobile field,” Pienimaki said. “Jolla is one example of successful transformation. We are proud to continue the legendary mobile industry tradition Nokia once started in Finland.”
Nokia originated in Finland in 1865, originally as a set of paper, rubber and cable companies. It has long been one of the golden children of the tech industry in the Nordic country.
In the last few years, Microsoft’s involvement with Nokia has not always fared well for the Finnish company.
Since former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop left the company to run Nokia in 2010, both Nokia’s market share and share price collapsed.
In 2011, Elop decided to make a bet on Windows Phone software, and ditch Nokia’s own software. At the time, a lot of people were dumbfounded as to why Elop would choose Windows Phone over Nokia or Google’s Android software.
“Many think that Nokia could have a long time ago chosen a different platform strategy vs Windows, and grow a new, leading smartphone platform aside Symbian to compete in the smartphone and mobile service markets,” Mero said. “At the time there was a major criticism against Steven Elop’s famous ‘burning platform’ announcement.”
In light of the changes to Nokia, Mero sees them as an opporunity rather than a hindrance.
“Change is positive and inevitable – I feel there is a new era starting,” Mero says.
Today, Nokia holds about 15% of the handset market, and just 3% of the smartphone market.
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