Ed’s Note

PASS­ING OF A GI­ANT

HWM (Singapore) - - Ed’s Note - David Chieng ED­I­TOR

Nokia’s de­ci­sion to sell their De­vices and Ser­vices unit to Mi­crosoft, for a cool US$7.2 bil­lion, is a whop­per. First and fore­most, it puts Mi­crosoft squarely in the pri­mary driver po­si­tion be­hind the ve­hi­cle that is Win­dows Phone, giv­ing them con­trol of Nokia’s smart­phone man­u­fac­tur­ing, as well as 32,000 em­ploy­ees who’ll be swap­ping em­ploy­ers, one of which be­ing a cer­tain Stephen Elop, for­mer Mi­crosoft em­ployee turned Nokia CEO, and soon-to-be Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of Mi­crosoft’s De­vices and Ser­vices Di­vi­sion.

Sec­ond, this truly marks the pass­ing of one of the mo­bile in­dus­try’s for­mer gi­ants, as Nokia will now put their fo­cus be­hind Nokia So­lu­tions and Net­works, as well as the HERE map­ping and lo­ca­tion ser­vices busi­ness.

Of all the tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies I’ve been for­tu­nate to cover in the past decade, none stands out as much as Nokia. De­vices like the N82 re­ally kick­started the smart­phone rev­o­lu­tion for me, be­ing one of the first few de­vices out there to com­bine in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity and apps in a de­vice not much larger than a candy bar. The orig­i­nal N-Gage was mem­o­rable sim­ply be­cause of its form fac­tor and Nokia’s abortive at­tempts to suc­ceed in por­ta­ble gam­ing. The N91 and its built-in hard Harman Kar­don am­pli­fier brought mu­sic and smart­phones to another level, while the E71 (and even­tu­ally the E72) made smart­phones cool in the work­place (sorry, Black­berry). Let’s not for­get ar­guably the most fa­mous Nokia phone of all, the 8110 “ba­nana phone” promi­nently fea­tured in the sci-fi ac­tion film, The Ma­trix. Ear­lier years also saw Nokia ex­per­i­ment­ing with aban­don; their Fash­ion Phone lineup fea­tur­ing de­vices like the 7280 “lip­stick “phone and the 7610 baf­fled many with their un­ortho­dox ap­proach to key­pad de­sign. To­day, Nokia is but a shell of its for­mer self, hav­ing failed hor­ri­bly at keep­ing up with Ap­ple, Google and Sam­sung over the years, de­spite at­tempts like the Lu­mia lineup that were ul­ti­mately too lit­tle, too late. I’ll miss Nokia, I ad­mit, but that’s prob­a­bly just nos­tal­gia speak­ing out loud.

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