Rolls of toilet paper produced by Nokia in the 1960s, Museum Centre Vapriikki, Tampere
Nokia's history dates back to 1865, when Finnish-Swede mining engineer Fredrik Idestam established a pulp mill near the town of Tampere, Finland (then in the Russian Empire). A second pulp mill was opened in 1868 near the neighboring town of Nokia, offering better hydropower resources. In 1871, Idestam, together with friend Leo Mechelin, formed a shared company from it and called it Nokia Ab (in Swedish, Nokia Company being the English equivalent), after the site of the second pulp mill.
Idestam retired in 1896, making Mechelin the company's chairman. Mechelin expanded into electricity generation by 1902 which Idestam had opposed. In 1904 Suomen Gummitehdas (Finnish Rubber Works), a rubber business founded by Eduard Polón, established a factory near the town of Nokia and used its name.
In 1922, Nokia Ab entered into a partnership with Finnish Rubber Works and Kaapelitehdas (the Cable Factory), all now jointly under the leadership of Polón. Finnish Rubber Works company grew rapidly when it moved to the Nokia region in the 1930s to take advantage of the electrical power supply, and the cable company soon did too.
Nokia at the time also made respirators for both civilian and military use, from the 1930s well into the early 1990s.
LV 317M military radio in Hämeenlinna artillery museum. Nokia license built PRC-77 (-1177?) with signal amplifier.
In 1967, the three companies - Nokia, Kaapelitehdas and Finnish Rubber Works - merged and created a new Nokia Corporation, a new restructured form divided into four major businesses: forestry, cable, rubber and electronics. In the early 1970s, it entered the networking and radio industry. Nokia also started making military equipment for Finland's defence forces (Puolustusvoimat), such as the Sanomalaite M/90 communicator in 1983, and the M61 gas mask first developed in the 1960s. Nokia was now also making professional mobile radios, telephone switches, capacitors and chemicals.
After Finland's trade agreement with the Soviet Union in the 1960s, Nokia expanded into the Soviet market. It soon widened trade, ranging from automatic telephone exchanges to robotics among others; by the late 1970s the Soviet Union became a major market for Nokia, helping to yield high profits. Nokia also co-operated on scientific technology with the Soviet Union. The U.S. government became increasingly suspicious of that technologic co-operation after the end of the Cold War détente in the early 1980s. Nokia imported many US-made components and used them for the Soviets, and according to U.S. Deputy Minister of Defence, Richard Perle, Nokia had a secret co-operation with The Pentagon that allowed the U.S. to keep track in technologic developments in the Soviet Union through trading with Nokia. However this was a demonstration of Finland trading with both sides, as it was neutral during the Cold War.
In 1977, Kari Kairamo became CEO and he transformed the company's businesses. By this time Finland were becoming what has been called "Nordic Japan". Under his leadership Nokia acquired many companies. In 1984, Nokia acquired television maker Salora, followed by Swedish electronics and computer maker Luxor AB in 1985, and French television maker Oceanic in 1987. This made Nokia the third-largest television manufacturer of Europe (behind Philips and Thomson). The existing brands continued to be used until the end of the television business in 1996.
Nokia Mikko 3 minicomputer, 1978
Mobira Cityman 450, 1985
In 1987, Nokia acquired Schaub-Lorenz, the consumer operations of Germany's Standard Elektrik Lorenz (SEL), which included its "Schaub-Lorenz" and "Graetz" brands. It was originally part of American conglomerate International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) and after the acquisition products were sold under the "ITT Nokia" brand, despite SEL's sale to Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE), the predecessor of Alcatel, in 1986.
On 1 April 1988 Nokia bought the computer division of Ericsson's Information Systems, which originated as a computer division of Swedish aircraft and car manufacturer Saab called Datasaab. Ericsson Information Systems made Alfaskop terminals, typewriters, minicomputers and Ericsson IBM compatible PCs. The merge with Nokia's existing Information Systems division—which already had a line of personal computers called MikroMikko since 1981—resulted in the name Nokia Data.
Nokia also acquired Mobira, a mobile telephony company, which was the foundation of its future mobile phones business. In 1981, Mobira launched the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) service, the world's first international cellular network and the first to allow international roaming. In 1982, Mobira launched the Mobira Senator car phone, Nokia's first mobile phone. At that time, the company had no interest in producing mobile phones, which the executive board regarded as akin to James Bond's gadgets - improbably futuristic and niche devices. After all these acquisitions Nokia's revenue base became US$2.7 billion. Tragically CEO Kairamo committed suicide on 11 December 1988.
In 1987, Kaapelitehdas discontinued production of cables at its Helsinki factory after 44 years, effectively shutting down the sub-company.
Jorma Ollila, who oversaw the rise of Nokia in the mobile phone market as CEO from 1992 to 2006
Following Simo Vuorilehto's appointment as CEO, a major restructuring was planned. With 11 groups within the company, Vuorilehto divested industrial units he deemed as un-strategic. Nokian Tyres (Nokian Renkaat), a tyre producer originally formed as a division of Finnish Rubber Works in 1932, split away from Nokia Corporation in 1988. Two years later, in 1990, Finnish Rubber Works followed suit. In 1991 Nokia sold its computer division, Nokia Data, to UK-based International Computers Limited (ICL), the precursor of Fujitsu Siemens. Investors thought of this as financial trouble and Nokia's stock price sank as a result. Finland was now also experiencing its worst recession in living memory, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, a major customer, made matters worse.
Vuorilehto quit in January 1992 and was replaced by Jorma Ollila, who had been the head of the mobile phone business from 1990 and advised against selling that division. Ollila decided to turn Nokia into a 'telecom-oriented' company, and he eventually got rid of divisions like the power business. This strategy proved to be very successful and the company grew rapidly in the following years. Nokia's operating profit went from negative in 1991 to $1 billion in 1995 and almost $4 billion by 1999.
Nokia's first fully portable mobile phone after the Mobira Senator was the Mobira Cityman 900 in 1987. Nokia assisted in the development of the GSM mobile standard in the 1980s, and developed the first GSM network with Siemens, the predecessor to Nokia Siemens Network. The world's first GSM call was made by Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri on 1 July 1991, using Nokia equipment on the 900 MHz band network built by Nokia and operated by Radiolinja. In November 1992, the Nokia 1011 launched, making it the first commercially available GSM mobile phone.
Salora Oy as a Nokia subsidiary ended in 1989 when the division was merged into Nokia-Mobira Oy. The brand continued to be used for televisions until 1995.
On 12 June 1996, Nokia announced the sale of its television business to Canada/Hong Kong-based Semi-Tech Corporation. The television manufacturing plant in Germany closed down in September 1996. The sale included a factory in Turku, and the rights to use the Nokia, Finlux, Luxor, Salora, Schaub-Lorenz and Oceanic brands until the end of 1999. Some of these brands were later sold to other companies.
Nokia was the first to launch digital satellite receivers in the UK, announced in March 1997. In August 1997 Nokia introduced the first digital satellite receiver with Common Interface (CI) support. In 1998 Nokia became the chosen supplier to produce the world's first digital terrestrial television set-top boxes by British Digital Broadcasting (BDB), which was eventually launched as ONdigital.
A Nokia Mediamaster set-top box
In October 1998, Nokia overtook Motorola to become the best-selling mobile phone brand, and in December manufactured its 100 millionth mobile phone.Nokia's mobile phones became highly successful in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. They were also one of the pioneers of mobile gaming due to the popularity of Snake, which came pre-loaded on many products. The 3310 is one of the company's most well-known products. Nokia also created the best-selling mobile phone of all time, the Nokia 1100, in 2003.
Nokia claimed in April 1996 its 447Xav and 447K monitors to be the first with stereo speakers and a sub-woofer. In May 1999 Nokia introduced their first wireless LAN products. In January 2000 ViewSonic acquired Nokia Display Products, the division making displays for personal computers.On 26 April 2001 Nokia partnered with Telefonica to supply DSL modems and routers in Spain.
In 1998, Nokia co-founded Symbian Ltd. led by Psion to create a new operating system for PDAs and smart mobile phones as a successor of EPOC32. They released the Nokia 9210 Communicator running Symbian OS in 2001 and later that year created the Symbian Series 60 platform, later introducing it with their first camera phone, the Nokia 7650. Both Nokia and Symbian eventually became the largest smartphone hardware and software maker respectively, and in February 2004 Nokia became the largest shareholder of Symbian Ltd.Nokia acquired the entire company in June 2008 and then formed the Symbian Foundation as its successor.
In 1998 alone, the company had sales revenue of $20 billion making $2.6 billion profit. By 2000 Nokia employed over 55,000 people, and had a market share of 30% in the mobile phone market, almost twice as large as its nearest competitor, Motorola.
A collection of Nokia mobile phones from the 2000s
The company would then be known as a successful and innovative maker of camera phones. The Nokia 3600/3650 was the first camera phone on sale in North America in 2003. In April 2005 Nokia partnered with German camera optics maker Carl Zeiss AG. That same month Nokia introduced the Nseries, which would become its flagship line of smart phones for the next six years. The Nokia N95 introduced in September 2006 became highly successful and was also awarded as "best mobile imaging device" in Europe i 2007. Its successor the N82 featured a xenon flash,which helped it win the award of "best mobile imaging" device in Europe in 2008. The N93 in 2006 was known for its specialized camcorder and the twistable design that switches between clamshell and a camcorder-like position.They were also well known for the N8 with a high resolution 12-megapixel sensor in 2010; the 808 PureView in 2012 with a 41-megapixel sensor; and the Lumia 920 flagship in 2012 which implemented advanced PureView technologies.
In 2002, Nokia attempted to break into the handheld gaming market with the N-Gage.Nokia's head of entertainment and media, Ilkka Raiskinen, once quoted "Game Boy is for 10-year-olds",stating that N-Gage is more suited to a mature audience. However, the device was a failure, unable to challenge the dominant market leader Nintendo. Nokia attempted to revive N-Gage as a platform for their S60 smartphones, which eventually launched in 2008.
Nokia launched mobile TV trials in 2005 in Finland with content provided by public broadcaster Yle. The services are based on the DVB-H standard. It could be viewed with the widescreen Nokia 7710 smartphone with a special accessory enabling it to receive DVB-H signals.Nokia partnered with Arqiva and O2 to launch trials in the UK in September 2005.
In 2005 Nokia developed a Linux-based operating system called Maemo, which shipped that year on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet.
On 1 June 2006, Jorma Ollila became the company's chairman and retired as CEO, replaced by Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
A flagship Nokia store in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2009
In August 2007, Nokia introduced Ovi, an umbrella name for the company's new Internet services which included the N-Gage platform and the Nokia Music Store. The Ovi Store faced stiff competition against Apple's App Store when it was introduced in 2008.
In October 2008 Nokia announced the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, the first device to ship with the new touch-centric S60 5th Edition, also known as Symbian^1, the first iteration of the platform since the creation of the Symbian Foundation. In November 2008 Nokia announced it would end mobile phone sales in Japan because of low market share.Nokia's global mobile phone market share peaked in 2008 at 38.6 percent.
Nokia briefly returned to the computer market with the Booklet 3G netbook in August 2009.
A Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996) next to a Nokia E7 Communicator (2011)
In April 2010 Nokia introduced its next flagship mobile device, the Nokia N8, which would be the first to run on Symbian^3. However it was delayed for many months which tarnished the company's image, especially after the failure of its previous flagship N97 and tougher competition from Apple and the rising Google. On 10 September 2010, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was fired as CEO and it was announced that Stephen Elop from Microsoft would take Nokia's CEO position, becoming the first non-Finnish director in Nokia's history.
Nokia and Microsoft Lumia devices.
The old Symbian OS became completely open source in February 2010. However, in November 2010 it was announced that the Symbian Foundation was closing and that Nokia would take back control of the Symbian operating system under closed licensing. By now Nokia was the only remaining company using the platform, along with carrier NTT DoCoMo in Japan, after both Samsung and Sony Ericsson moved to Android. Meanwhile, in 2010 for Nokia's Linux ambitions, Nokia collaborated with Intel to form the MeeGo project, after the merger of Nokia's own Maemo and Intel's Moblin.
Nokia's Symbian platform that had been the leading smartphone platform in Europe and Asia for many years was quickly becoming outdated and difficult for developers after the advent of iOS and Android. To counter this, Nokia planned to make their MeeGo Linux operating system the company's flagship on smartphones. However, in February 2011, they scrapped MeeGo and announce a partnership with Microsoft to use Windows Phone as Nokia's primary operating system, relegating Symbian to a lower priority. Although the MeeGo-based N9 was met with a highly positive reception in 2011, Nokia - apparently pressured by Microsoft—had already decided to end development on MeeGo and solely focus on its Microsoft partnership. After the announcement of the Microsoft deal, Nokia's market share deteriorated; this was due to demand for Symbian dropping when consumers realized Nokia's focus and attention would be elsewhere. Nokia's first Windows Phone flagship was the Lumia 800, which arrived in November 2011. Falling sales in 2011, which were not being improved significantly with the Lumia line in 2012, led to consecutive quarters of huge losses. By mid-2012 the company's stock price fell below $2. CEO Elop announced cost-cutting measures in June by shedding 10,000 employees by the end of the year and the closure of the Salo manufacturing plant. The Finnish prime minister also announced that the government won't save the company from an emergency state fund.
On 11 March 2011 Nokia announced that it had paid Elop a $6 million signing bonus as "compensation for lost income from his prior employer", on top of his $1.4 million annual salary. This was a turning point, since Elop has previously been a Microsoft employee in its Business Division. It later became clear that Microsoft was influential within Nokia, pushing forward its Windows Phone offering.
When the Lumia 920 was announced in September 2012, it was seen by the press as the first high-end Windows Phone that could challenge rivals due to its advanced feature set. The company was also making gains in developing countries with its Asha series, which were selling strongly. Although Nokia's smartphone market share recovered in 2013, it was still not enough to improve the dire financial situation: the company had had huge losses for two years, and in September 2013 announced the sale of its mobile and devices division to Microsoft. The sale was positive for Nokia to stop further disastrous financial figures, as well as for Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer, who wanted Microsoft to produce more hardware and turn it into a devices and services company.The sale was completed in April 2014, with Microsoft Mobile becoming the successor to Nokia's mobile devices division.
By 2014, Nokia's global brand value according to Interbrand fell to 98th place, a sharp slide from the 5th place it was in 2009.
Former Nokia plant in Bochum, Germany
A Nokia advertising sign in Dublin, Ireland
In July 2013, Nokia bought Siemens' stake in the Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture for $2.2 billion, turning it into a wholly owned subsidiary called Nokia Solutions and Networks, until being rebranded as Nokia Networks soon after. During Nokia's financial struggles, its profitable networking division with Siemens provided much of its income; thus, the purchase proved to be positive, particularly after the sale of its mobile devices unit.
After the sale of its mobile devices division, Nokia focused on network equipment through Nokia Networks.
In October 2014, Nokia and China Mobile signed a US$970 million framework deal for delivery between 2014 and 2015.
On 17 November 2014, Nokia Technologies head Ramzi Haidamus disclosed that the company planned to re-enter the consumer electronics business as an original design manufacturer, licensing in-house hardware designs and technologies to third-party manufacturers. Haidamus stated that the Nokia brand was "valuable" but "is diminishing in value, and that's why it is important that we reverse that trend very quickly, imminently."The next day, Nokia unveiled the N1, an Android tablet manufactured by Foxconn, as its first product following the Microsoft sale.Haidamus emphasized that devices released under these licensing agreements would be held to high standards in production quality, and would "look and feel just like Nokia built it." Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri stated that the company planned to re-enter the mobile phone business in this manner in 2016, following the expiration of its non-compete clause with Microsoft.
According to Robert Morlino, the spokesman of Nokia Technologies, Nokia planned follow the brand-licensing model rather than direct marketing of mobile devices due to the sale of its mobile devices division to Microsoft.The company took aggressive steps to revitalize itself, evident through its hiring of software experts, testing of new products and seeking of sales partners. On 14 July 2015, CEO Rajeev Suri confirmed that the company would make a return to the mobile phones market in 2016.
On 28 July 2015, Nokia announced OZO, a 360-degrees virtual reality camera, with eight 2K optical image sensors. The division behind the product, Nokia Technologies, claimed that OZO would be the most advanced VR film-making platform.Nokia's press release stated that OZO would be "the first in a planned portfolio of digital media solutions," with more technologic products expected in the future. OZO was fully unveiled on 30 November in Los Angeles. The OZO, designed for professional use, was intended for retail for US$60,000; however, its price was decreased by $15,000 prior to release, and is listed on its official website as $40,000.
Nokia office building in Markham, Ontario, Canada in 2016 - originally Alcatel-Lucent's office
A Nokia Flexi Zone base transceiver station (2015)
On 14 April 2015, Nokia confirmed that it was in talks with the French telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent regarding a potential merger.The next day, Nokia officially announced that it had agreed to purchase Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6 billion in an all-stock deal. CEO Rajeev Suri felt that the purchase would give Nokia a strategic advantage in the development of 5G wireless technologies. The acquisition created a stronger competitor to the rival firms Ericsson and Huawei, whom Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent had surpassed in terms of total combined revenue in 2014. Nokia shareholders hold 66.5% of the new combined company, while Alcatel-Lucent shareholders hold 33.5%. The Bell Labs division was to be maintained, but the Alcatel-Lucent brand would be replaced by Nokia. In October 2015, following approval of the deal by China's Ministry of Commerce, the merger awaited approval by French regulators. Despite the initial intent of selling the submarine cable division separately, Alcatel-Lucent later declared that it would not. The merger closed on 14 January 2016, but was not complete until 3 November 2016. From the acquisition Nokia is now also the owner of the Alcatel mobile phone brand, which continues to be licensed to TCL Corporation.
On 3 August 2015, Nokia announced that it had reached a deal to sell its Here digital maps division to a consortium of BMW, Daimler AG and Volkswagen Group for €2.8 billion. The deal closed on 3 December 2015.
On 26 April 2016, Nokia announced its intent to acquire connected health device maker Withings for US$191 million. The company was integrated into a new Digital Health unit of Nokia Technologies.
On 18 May 2016, Microsoft Mobile sold its Nokia-branded feature phone business to HMD Global, a new company founded by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril, and an associated factory in Vietnam to Foxconn's FIH Mobile subsidiary. Nokia subsequently entered into a long-term licensing deal to make HMD the exclusive manufacturer of Nokia-branded phones and tablets outside Japan, operating in conjunction with Foxconn. The deal also granted HMD the right to essential patents and feature phone software. HMD subsequently announced the Android-based Nokia 6 smartphone in January 2017. At Mobile World Congress, HMD additionally unveiled the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 smartphones, as well as a re-imagining of Nokia's classic 3310 feature phone.While Nokia has no investment in the company they do have some input in the new devices.
On 28 June 2016 Nokia demonstrated for the first time ever a 5G-ready network. In February 2017 Nokia carried out a 5G connection in Oulu, Finland using the 5GTF standard, backed by Verizon, on Intel architecture-based equipment.
On 5 July 2017, Nokia and Xiaomi announced that they have signed a business collaboration agreement and a multi-year patent agreement, including a cross license to each company's cellular standard essential patents.
In 2017, Nokia's brand value jumped 147 places to 188th place compared to 2016 in the Brand Finance ranking. Its rise has been attributed to its health portfolio and new mobile phones developed by HMD Global.
On 19 January 2018, Nokia signed a deal with NTT Docomo, Japan's largest mobile operator, to provide 5G wireless radio base stations in the country by 2020.
On 29 January 2018, Nokia introduced the ReefShark line of 5G chipsets, claiming that it triples bandwidth to 84 Gbit/s. It will be released by Q3 2018. It also incorporates artificial intelligence technologies from Bell Labs.
On 13 March 2018, Solidium, the investment arm of the Finnish government, purchased a 3.3% stake in Nokia valued at €844 million.
On 7 May 2018, Nokia announced that it has acquired a California based IoT startup, SpaceTime Insight.
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