March 2, 2020 / 10:27 AM / a month ago

From paper mills to 5G: The many lives of Nokia

(Reuters) - Pekka Lundmark will take over as Nokia (NOKIA.HE) chief executive in September to lead the former handset giant in its battle for the fast-growing 5G networks business.

A man uses his mobile phone near a banner displaying a Nokia logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Files

Here are the highlights of the Finnish group’s business transformations:

1860s: Mining engineer Fredrik Idestam establishes a paper mill in Tampere, Finland, in 1865 and another one a few years later near the neighbouring town of Nokia, after which the growing enterprise is named.

1960s: Through a merger, Nokia becomes a conglomerate operating in a range of industrial sectors including communications cables, paper products, rubber boots, tyres, electronics and radio phones.

1982: Nokia’s first mobile phone, a car phone weighing over 10 kilos, is introduced.

1990s: After spin-offs of Nokian Tyres (TYRES.HE) and rubber boot manufacturer Nokian Footwear, Nokia shifts its primary focus to telecommunications, providing the equipment for the first ever GSM call in 1991.

1998: Rapid success in the mobile phone sector allows Nokia to become the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, a position it holds for over 10 years.

October 2008: Nokia unveils its first touch-screen smart phone, a year and half after Apple’s (AAPL.O) first iPhone was launched.

July 2010: Nokia buys Motorola’s telecom network equipment business for $1.2 billion in an effort to add new customers in markets such as Japan and North America.

September 2010: Nokia hires Stephen Elop, a Canadian Microsoft (MSFT.O) executive, to replace its embattled Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and renew its drive to compete with Apple.

2011: Google’s (GOOGL.O) Android surpasses Nokia’s Symbian as the most popular smartphone operating system in the world and goes on to claim more than half of the market share by end of the year.

February 2011: In a leaked internal memo, Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop likens the company’s predicament to standing on a “burning platform”, just before the company teams up with Microsoft to catch up with Android and Apple, announcing it will replace Symbian with Microsoft’s Windows Phone software in its future smartphones.

October 2011: Nokia unveils its first Windows phones under the name Lumia, but fails to catch up with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung (005930.KS) which goes on to surpass Nokia as world’s largest mobile phone vendor the following year with its Android-run devices.

April 2012: Nokia ditches its sales chief and promises to slash more costs after disappointing smartphone sales.

July 2013: Nokia agrees to buy out Siemens (SIEGn.DE) from joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks, laying the foundation for the company’s transformation into primarily a network hardware and software provider.

September 2013: Stephen Elop resigns as CEO, following an over 60% fall in the company’s shares during his tenure. Nokia agrees to sell its mobile and devices division to Microsoft in a 5.44 billion euro ($6 billion) deal.

April 2014: Nokia appoints Rajeev Suri, the CEO of its mobile networks division, as the group’s new chief executive following the completion of the Microsoft deal.

August 2015: Nokia sells its mapping and location service HERE to a consortium of German automakers.

April 2016: Nokia agrees to buy Franco-American rival Alcatel-Lucent - a deal intended to help it compete with Sweden’s Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and China’s Huawei [HWT.UL] in the networks market - and announces plans to cut thousands of jobs worldwide.

June 2017: Nokia launches the world’s fastest network chips, breaking into the Juniper (JNPR.N) and Cisco (CSCO.O) dominated core router market and giving a boost to its network business.

July 2018: Nokia and T-Mobile US (TMUS.O) agree on a $3.5 billion deal, world’s first big 5G award.

November 2018: Nokia replaces the head of its mobile networks unit as pressure mounts on it to be ready for the 5G telecoms era.

January 2020: Nokia lowers its cost savings target to spend more on its 5G development.

February 2020: By end of the month, Nokia had signed 68 commercial 5G contracts worldwide and was powering 19 live networks globally.

March 2, 2020: Nokia appoints Fortum (FORTUM.HE) CEO Pekka Lundmark to replace Suri from September.

Sources: Nokia, IDC Gartner, Reuters reports

Compiled by Milla Nissi and Joanna Wodzicka; editing by Anne Kauranen and Tomasz Janowski

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