Nokia and the Global Mobile Phone Industry

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR167 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Innovation | Market Adaptation
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1999-05
Organization : Nokia
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Global
Industry : Consumer Electronics


In the late 1990s, Nokia overtook then leader Motorola to emerge as a behemoth in the global mobile phone industry. Nokia's dominance continued into the first few years of the 2000s, but it suddenly came under threat in 2003-2004, when smaller Asian vendors started making their presence felt with better products at lower prices.

The company's problems also had internal causes and analysts said one of the reasons could be that it had become too complacent with its success and lost its agility in reading and responding to market signals.

This case study discusses the various problems Nokia faced in 2003-2004, including the company's tardiness in introducing the clamshell phones that had become very popular and its resistance to manufacturing operator specific handsets. It also discusses the efforts Nokia made to recover its market once it realized that its performance was slipping. The case concludes with an analysis of the challenges the company faced in the future and the various options ahead of it.


To understand the difficulties faced by an erstwhile giant in the global mobile phone industry in 2003-2004.

To appreciate the importance of innovation in a dynamic and volatile industry.

To analyze the effect of changing market conditions on companies.

To appreciate the importance of keeping abreast with changing market conditions and adapting to them speedily.

To examine future challenges that the company faced and the various options available to it.


  Page No.
Positive Signs 1
Background Note 2
The Rise to the Top 3
Designed for Innovation 4
The Decline 5
Efforts at Recovery 8
A Challenging Future 9
Exhibits 12


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