The origin of ARM’s success in mobile phone space is largely traced to Symbian’s decision to exclusively support the ARM Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This in turn was the consequence of a mid-1990s decision by Texas Instruments to use ARM in its mobile phone ASICs for Nokia, the driving force behind the inception of the Symbian smartphone project.
When the GSM cellular standard was about to enter the commercial arena, TI’s Gilles Delfassy sat in a sauna with executives of Nokia, then a troubled conglomerate, and agreed on a DSP-centric approach to build the upcoming digital cell phones. Digital signal processors or DSPs, which later became the foundation of TI growth, were developed unnoticed at its European division until this meeting took place in Helsinki in 1992. By sealing a business pact to supply specialized chips for Nokia’s cellular products, Delfassy placed TI’s DSP technology squarely in the middle of the emerging GSM products.
What happened next at TI was reminiscent to Nokia’s own blossoming into a telecommunications specialty from being a messy electronics giant. TI had just about sewn up the mobile handset silicon market by devoting vast engineering resources to Nokia for development of platforms based on its chipsets. On the other hand, the transformation of Nokia from a Victorian-era industrial conglomerate to a wireless powerhouse was a Finnish fable in its own right.
Fast forward to 2010 and the Nokia fairy tale had come down to earth. What happened to one of the most celebrated corporate champions from tiny Finland? According to Henry Blodget, former research analyst and founder of news blog Business Insider, the iPhone happened.
How did the Finnish mobile phone giant reach this crossroads? Is Nokia the next Kodak? A new book chronicles Nokia’s lost decade in which the venerable handset champion found itself in the clutches of a vicious cycle. “Nokia’s Smartphone Problem: The End of an Icon?” delves into one strategic blunder after another to provide a vivid account of this tale of management indecision. It provides a riveting look at how this comedy of errors took one of the world’s most global companies to a near-death experience.
“Nokia’s Smartphone Problem” is written to educate and inform managers in the IT, wireless, semiconductor, and consumer electronic industries. It’s a groundbreaking book that exposes the past, present, and future of Nokia and smartphone businesses at large to find all the pertinent answers regarding smartphone product development cycles. That translates into a detailed treatment of the smartphone industry’s business models and basic building blocks like hardware, operating systems, apps, and ecosystems. And that makes the book a must-read for managers tasked with formulating a mobile strategy for their businesses.
The Nokia story is engulfed in a plethora of misconceptions. A lot of information about the mobile phone pioneer is cluttered, and a number of facts are not in place. “Nokia’s Smartphone Problem” aspires to clear the air, develop a comprehensible picture, and thus set the record straight. Nokia is no more the master of the mobile game, but it is still an important company. The book digs deep into Nokia’s heritage, strategy blunders, major stumbling blocks, and bailout efforts. That way, it attempts to recollect notes from this epic moment in Nokia’s life and create an authentic document that not only recounts Nokia’s breathtaking transformation, but also provides a discourse on the Finnish company’s turnaround plan.
The book was first published in May 2013 at the height of Nokia’s chaotic relationship with Microsoft. The second edition of Nokia’s Smartphone Problem, published in October 2014, covers Nokia’s formal exit from the smartphone business while Microsoft takes over its mobile phone unit to carry on with its unfinished business of reinvigorating the Windows-based smartphones.
The book takes a microscopic look at Nokia’s turbulent relationship with Microsoft and provides an insider look into Nokia’s multi-layer tie-up with the Redmond, Washington based software giant. It further reconstructs how Nokia is aiming to reinvent itself in the mobile infrastructure business.
The book also argues that chipmakers, a crucial part of the smartphone value chain, wouldn’t want the market to go polarized between Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Android handsets. Semiconductor firms are an important source of smartphone innovation and they have a crucial stake in the mobile game.
Nokia’s Smartphone Problemfeatures 20 images to highlight defining moments in the company’s smartphone and post smartphone era. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noblein both paperback and e-book formats.