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Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?
Jan. 11, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.98% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide.

If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture......“Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea.....Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler.

With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Can Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness?.....Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it....The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. ....Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company.
Apple  change  CPG  decline  Ford  iPhone  Microsoft  Nokia  reinvention  Tim_Cook  inventions  rapid_change  next_play  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
january 2019 by jerryking
Nokia a lesson for backers of Canada’s nanny state - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 17 2014 | The Globe and Mail | BRIAN LEE CROWLEY.

How did it all go so wrong? And what might Canada learn from Finland’s downfall?

One obvious conclusion is not to put all your eggs in one basket, but it goes well beyond that. There was a time when economic change worked slowly enough that you could get a generation or two’s employment out of an industry before it was overtaken by innovation. Detroit dominated automobile manufacturing for many decades before its own complacency and the innovativeness of European and Asian producers came into play. In a similar vein, Nokia allowed itself to believe in its own infallibility, and Finland meekly followed suit. But the forces of change are now so powerful and lightning fast that sometimes a single product release from a competitor can signal the death knell of a previously healthy company or industry....Canada is rife with industries with their heads stuck in the sand, almost invariably because they believe they can shelter behind a friendly bureaucrat with a rulebook.

Examples abound in fields as diverse as telecoms, dairy, airlines, broadcasting, taxis and transport. Could there have been a bigger farce than the CRTC’s attempt to manhandle online content provider Netflix?...The real lesson of Nokia’s demise was that there is no substitute for being driven by what customers want, which is quality products and service at the lowest possible price...Every deviation from this relentless focus on what customers actually want makes your market a tasty morsel for the disrupters.
concentration_risk  Nokia  Finland  mobile_phones  disruption  Netflix  Uber  CRTC  complacency  accelerated_lifecycles  protectionism  nanny_state  customer_focus  change_agents  Finnish  demand-driven  lessons_learned  automotive_industry  downfall  change  warning_signs  signals  customer-driven  infallibility  overconfidence  hubris  staying_hungry 
october 2014 by jerryking
Finns Pitch Frightful Weather as a Competitive Advantage - NYTimes.com
November 15, 2013, 9:02 am 8 Comments
Finns Pitch Frightful Weather as a Competitive Advantage
By MARK SCOTT

In Europe’s crowded technology scene, cities are eager to differentiate themselves from local rivals.

London has its connections with global finance. Berlin has a thriving local arts and music community. And Helsinki has its wintry weather....“Weather is a competitive advantage for us,” said Christian Lindholm, a local entrepreneur, who – like many in Finland’s tech community – spent several years working at Nokia. “Too much good weather would be bad for us.”

The Finnish tech industry is going through a reboot as focus shifts from struggling Nokia, which is selling its cellphone division to Microsoft for $7.2 billion, to some of the country’s smaller companies.

The most recent success is Supercell, the local online gaming company...tech firms are also benefiting from the investment flowing into companies based in and around Helsinki. With a lack of Finnish early-stage investors to back start-ups, much of the funding still comes through government support, including from Tekes, the country’s technology and innovation agency, and other state-backed venture funds.

The government money varies from one-off grants for research and development at universities to six-figure investments aimed at boosting start-ups efforts to market their products in international markets.
cities  competitive_advantage  differentiation  Europe  EU  Finland  Finnish  games  healthcare  Helsinki  mobile_applications  Nokia  start_ups  state-as-facilitator  weather  winter 
november 2013 by jerryking
Review & Outlook: Microsoft and Nokia Were Giants Once - WSJ.com
September 4, 2013 | WSJ | Op-ed

Nokia itself has been the veritable avatar of corporate reinvention, starting out in wood pulp in the 19th century. As recently as the early 1990s, the company was an unwieldy Finnish industrial conglomerate, trying to make its pivot into mobile telephony. Few then predicted its meteoric rise, or its equally meteoric fall. In shedding its handset business, Nokia will become essentially a maker of network equipment for cellphone operators.

The larger point here is that corporate giants come and go in a competitive economy. No monopoly is permanent, unless it is enforced by government, which as everyone knows almost never changes. It thinks and usually behaves the same even as the rest of the world evolves or leaps ahead.
op-ed  Microsoft  Nokia  19th_century  boom-to-bust  Finland  Finnish  impermanence  monopolies  reinvention 
september 2013 by jerryking
Shuttered: Digital cameras killed Kodak, but smartphones will kill digital cameras | Features | FP Tech Desk | Financial Post
Jan 19, 2012 – Jan 20, 2012 2:25 PM ET

Eastman Kodak, which invented the hand-held camera and helped bring the world the first pictures from the moon, has filed for bankruptcy protection, capping a prolonged plunge for one of the United States' best-known companies.

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creative_destruction  Apple  iPhone  Blockbuster  cameras  Canon  Kodak  HTC  Netflix  Nikon  Nokia  photography  smartphones  digital_cameras 
january 2012 by jerryking
Interview: The cellphone anthropologist
11 June 2008 | New Scientist | by Jason Palmer.

How do phones fit in?
The common denominator between cultures, regardless of age, gender or context is: keys, money and,
if you own one, a mobile phone. Why those three objects? Without wanting to sound hyperbolic,
essentially it boils down to survival. Keys provide access to warmth and shelter, money is a very
versatile tool that can buy food, transport and so on. A mobile phone, people soon realise, is a great
tool for recovering from emergency situations, especially if the first two fail.

What uses surprised you?
In a country like Uganda, most mobile phones are prepay. What we saw was that people are using their
phones as a kind of money transfer system. They would buy prepaid credit in the city, ring up a phone
kiosk operator in a village, read out the number associated with that credit so that the kiosk operator
could top up their own phone, then ask that the credit be passed on to someone in the village - say,
their sister - in cash....

With this level of informal innovation going on, can you bring anything extra to the table?
I'm not going to give you the bland corporate answer - "we do this research and then six months later a
product drops off the factory line that perfectly reflects our vision" - because the world is much messier
and more interesting than that. But, for instance, we did a study on phone sharing in Uganda and
Indonesia, and within a year - which is really quick when you're talking about hardware changes - we
had two products out which support multiple address books,
Nokia  interviews  anthropology  mobile_phones  UX  prepaid  emerging_markets  Uganda  credit  Jan_Chipcase  ethnography  Indonesia  anthropologists  insights  new_products 
october 2011 by jerryking
How Apple outsmarted RIM and Nokia
Oct. 08, 2011| Globe and Mail| ERIC REGULY.

On Tuesday at a tech fair in Finland, Nokia boss Stephen Elop said “the iPhone did something disruptive. It introduced a new level of experience … that all of a sudden everything else was measured against.”

...Apple’s genius was to make it a platform that could feed off a vast ecosystem that included iTunes and a stunning array of apps, from the Angry Birds game to carbon footprint calculators (the list has reached 500,000, should you have some free browsing time this weekend). The ecosystem is like a perpetual motion machine. Its sheer size attracts more and more app developers, who in turn make the ecosystem deeper and richer and ever more attractive to customers....

It was a great compliment to Steve Jobs and Apple. Mr. Jobs died the next day, but left Apple in great shape. It appears that Nokia, RIM and Apple’s other diminished rivals will measure their products against the iPhone for some time. The lesson: Build ecosystems, not just phones.
Eric_Reguly  Apple  RIM  Nokia  ecosystems  lessons_learned  competitive_strategy  platforms  network_effects  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
october 2011 by jerryking
DIGITAL AFRICA | More Intelligent Life
Spring 2011 | From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, | J.M. Ledgard is The Economist's Nairobi correspondent and author of "Giraffe".
Africa  Google  facebook  Nokia 
july 2011 by jerryking
Mobile telecoms in Africa: Digital revolution | The Economist
Apr 7th 2011 | DAR ES SALAAM

Whether on mobile phones or tablets, being online is rapidly becoming
the norm in Africa. That will boost the continent’s information and
entertainment business and allow African media houses such as the Nation
Media Group (in the east) and Media24 (in the south) to expand their
businesses around digital content tailored to local languages and
markets. Western content-makers will no doubt worry about the increased
risk of piracy, but if they get their offerings right Africa will be a
huge new market for their wares too.
mobile_phones  smartphones  tablets  Africa  Nokia  Huawei  mobile  digital_revolution 
july 2011 by jerryking
The architecture of a company being rebuilt from within.
April 14, 2011 The Financial Times, p16 Andrew Hill
Nokia 
april 2011 by jerryking

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