Future lies far from Finland

Steve Dinneen
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Nokia’s turnaround, says its chief executive Stephen Elop, is already underway: a sentiment given credence by its better than expected results last month, in which it avoided making an expected loss.

Elop has admitted the firm has an image problem and its new handsets go some way to addressing that. But short of a miracle Nokia will never be as big a player in Europe or the US as Google’s Android, nor release a handset as profitable as Apple’s iPhone.

However, this is not the market upon which Nokia will now focus its attentions. Yesterday’s keynote made it clear emerging markets are at the core of Nokia’s long-term plans. The “next billion” users will hail from China, India, Latin America, Indonesia and Africa, and Nokia is in a strong position win them over. At the end of last year, Nokia had an 86.8 per cent share of the global market for handsets retailing for less than $200. Its new Asha handsets upgrade its low-end offering, while the high-end Lumia makes it an aspirational brand.

If Nokia plays its cards right, in five years Europe could be a giant R&D department to its key global operations.

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