The Decline and Fall of Nokia
|Author||David J. Cord|
|Cover artist||Anders Carpelan|
|Country||Finland, United States|
|Publisher||Schildts & Söderströms|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
The book covers the history of the company Nokia from 2006 to 2013, during the upheaval in the mobile device industry caused by newcomers Apple, Google and low-cost competitors. To a lesser extent it also covers Nokia Solutions and Networks, then a joint venture called Nokia Siemens Networks, during the same period.
The main focus of the book is Nokia's decline in the mobile device industry, which culminated in the sale of the handset division to Microsoft. According to the book major reasons for Nokia's decline include a pervasive bureaucracy leading to an inability to act, destructive internal competition and the failure to realize the importance of lifestyle products like the iPhone. Other factors include the company's weakness in North America and the botched attempt to move out of hardware into services with Ovi (Nokia). The book refutes the idea that Nokia was unable to innovate, saying that incompetent middle management hampered attempts to bring innovations to market.
Cord puts much of the blame of Nokia's fall onto former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, but says Kallasvuo was a victim of the company's faulty organisational structure as much as anyone else. The book calls the long-term exclusive deal to use the Microsoft Windows Phone operating and ecosystem a catastrophic mistake. According to the book, the reason Nokia declined to switch to Android was because Samsung was much stronger and executives were afraid to compete against them in that ecosystem.
The author firmly rebuts a conspiracy theory that former CEO Stephen Elop was a "Trojan Horse" who ruined Nokia purposefully so that his former employer Microsoft could purchase the company more cheaply. Cord admits that Elop’s actions appear suspicious, but that they were all logical at the time decisions were made. Additionally, he cites the testimony of other Nokia executives who helped make those decisions and who vehemently deny Elop was a "Trojan Horse."
After the completion of the author’s first book in 2012, Mohamed 2.0: Disruption Manifesto, his Finnish publisher asked him to write a book about Nokia. Cord initially declined, because he was working on a novel and thought the time wasn’t right to write about the company. When his novel was completed he began work on The Decline and Fall of Nokia.
The book generated considerable attention from the press as it claims Sun Microsystems' co-founder Scott McNealy had been offered the job of Nokia CEO in 2010 but declined. The board of directors next looked to promote long-time Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki, but were stymied by major American investors, including Morgan Stanley, who demanded an outsider be chosen. The board’s third choice, according to the book, was Stephen Elop of Microsoft. Scott McNealy issued a statement, doubting that he was the "dream candidate" to succeed Kallasvuo and that he was never offered the job.
The process of choosing the CEO in 2010 had previously been wrapped in secrecy, so there was much speculation about Cord’s sources of information. One publication wondered if long-time chairman of the board Jorma Ollila had been the leak.
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