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Bye, Nokia, nice knowing you

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | July 23, 2014
Nokia, once a great company and the pride of Finland, is shuffling to its grave under Microsoft's leadership.

That wasn't a one-day phenomenon. By the time of the sale to Microsoft, Nokia's stock price under Elop's "leadership" had dropped by almost a third. And before Microsoft got a chance to fire half of Nokia's remaining employees, Elop had already fired 20,000.

It's no wonder that some people say that Elop was a Trojan horse, sent to Nokia for the express purpose of wrecking the company to make it cheaper for Microsoft to pick up. The problem with that theory is that, as I noted earlier, it's hard to see how the acquisition has benefited Microsoft. Maybe Elop is just better at wrecking companies than anyone ever suspected.

If the acquisition benefited anyone, it was Elop. He was paid $25 million for his part in the deal. Nice work if you can get it. And he ended up back at Microsoft, where today he is executive vice president of the Devices Group.

Well, maybe Nokia would have gone down in flames anyway. It was already in trouble when it hired Elop. But certainly with Elop as its CEO and Microsoft as its ally, it didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.

So I'm afraid this is goodbye, Nokia. You may exist still as a brand name on smartphones manufactured in Vietnam, but the mobile phone company, and its expertise, is gone. There are other remnants, including Jolla (http://jolla.com/), the maker of Sailfish OS smartphones, and Nokia Advanced Technologies, which will manage Nokia's patents. But they are nothing compared to the mobile giant that was once the pride of Finland. Still, it's just possible that sisu -- the Finnish spirit of determination and bravery that has served Finland, its people and its companies well over the centuries -- will carry them through.

 

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