The end of an era

That was it: Microsoft buys Nokia!

It was clear already one year ago when Elop invited all the Nokia employees involved in the M. project to announce the death of it. In that crowded room, surrounded by sad faces and wet eyes, everyone was asking to each other: "What's the reason?". That was clearly the wrong strategy, the final trigger pulled to kill the most succesful story in the mobile industry.

We have to wait one year and a couple of months more to know which was the strategy that took Stephen to Nokia not too long ago, in 2010. It's a well known strategy in the economy of big companies: send someone to be the CEO of a target company, exchange an asymmentric flow of internal informations, destroy the company to drop the share prices and sell the company for cheap. It sounds reducing? You don't beleive me? Look for MBO, Management Buyout , it's almost an illegal technique.

To really understand what happened we need to refresh our memories and look back to when this story started. Since the CEO swap, Nokia announced to discontinue Symbian right after releasing Symbian Belle. It was the biggest source of money for the Finnish company. The 41mpixel camera was acclaimed laudly buy Nokia's devoted, but snobbed by the marketing.

It follows the kill of Meego, the most promising platform and with it more than 10 years of R&D, giving free way to Android for its raise up to the top. With Meego/Harmattan Nokia also lost a huge number of experienced and talented engineers, giving them for free to the competitors.

One year the board of directors had also the great intuition that also S40 was reaching the end of its life, so that it was time to look for new alternatives. Fortunately, behind the curtains, Nokia was developing a wide range of alternatives and at the end they decided to invest all the effort for the M. project, that, due to confidentiality, I'm not allowed to mention. I'm talking about an incredibly huge investment. They moved the whole S40 business in China with something left in Finland and they drastically reduced the production, relying on the upcoming alternative.

At the end, the last move, was to kill M., burn all what has been invested and laying off other 10 thousand employees. As such, deboned of all the intellectual property that over the years wrote important pages of Nokia's success, Elop enforced the companionship with Microsoft. Who knows how many champagne bottles Samsung has uncorked in their manager canteens.

That's the funny part of the story, give away all what is succesful to tie up with a declining company which has lots of big flops in his history. I dare you to not call this Management Buyout.

Moreover this belongs to Elops's curriculum, he has always been a Microsoft guy and in his biography there are other cases of companies acquisition, for now he is an expert of acquisition strategy execution.

What I don't understand is why Microsoft wants to buy Nokia. All the great talent is gone, mainly spread all over Samsung, Huawei, Intel and Texas Instrument. As a company Nokia was already the puppet mastered by Microsoft and Qualcomm, even the brand that could have kept some old advocates is gone. Or maybe this story will just end up like Google-Motorola where the last almost completely disappeared from the market from being one of the biggest player in the mobile industry... after Nokia.

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Andi Shyti
email: andi (at) smida (dot) it
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