RIP, Nokia (1865 – 2014)

Nokia is entering its death spiral. It’s running out of cash, it’s running out of time, and it’s running out of options. A year ago, incoming CEO Stephen Elop made a brave decision to break with the past. He ditched Nokia’s Symbian operating system and decided to focus all of the company’s high-end development on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. At the time, it looked like a risky but potentially high-yielding bet.

If Nokia had gone with Android, the best that it might have achieved was to become an also-ran—another in an endless stream of me-too commodity smartphone makers. Windows Phone, on the other hand, offered Nokia an outside shot at restoring its former glory. Here was a gorgeous OS in need of beautiful hardware. If Nokia could deliver wonderful devices for the platform, it might be able stand out in the marketplace as offering something unique: A coherent line-up of attractive, user-friendly phones at all price levels.

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