Nokia: The Rise and Fall

Tomi Marjuaho assembled handsets in the last 10 years in Salo, a small town in southern Finland where Nokia, the largest mobile phone maker in the world, opened a factory in the '80s. In 2010, when Nokia started to feel the full effects of the recession, Marjuaho was fired and he has not found work ever since.


"I was the only support of family and now things are getting harder," says the 39 year old man from union club, where the unemployed tend to gather in the city. "It's the same story for many friends that worked at the Nokia factory," he continued.




Salo, along with many cities that have survived and developed because of Nokia investment, faces an uncertain future given that Nokia (a multinational company) moves its mobile assembly operations in Asia.

Under the weight of Apple and Samsung's competition, Nokia was forced to cut production costs, which affected primarily European operations.

The Finnish company has already closed factories in Germany, Hungary and Romania, and now it's time for the ones in the country of origin, Finland. 1,000 to 3,500 jobs in the factory of Salo, which was one of the most important in Finland will disappear this year. What previously was a huge technological center has become a dusty town with empty windows and closed shops.



The First Nokia Phone

Nokia was founded in 1865, when it was a pulp mill established on the banks of Nokia rapids in Finland. Later, it began to manufacture rubber, cable and TV. Nokia opened its Saho factory in 1983, an important industrial center of Finland since the early '20s. The company made an alliance with a local radio and television producer. Starting in 1989, it was named Nokia Mobile Phones. Two years later, the company produced its first mobile phone: Mobira Senator.



1998 - Under the leadership of Jorma Ollila, Nokia became the largest manufacturer of mobile phones, when its sales surpassed Motorola. At that time, Nokia has become a powerful source of pride for a small country struggling to rebuild the Soviet invasion during the war.


Nokia has become the largest Finnish company and it took over leadership in terms of exports and jobs establishment. In 2007, Nokia paid 1.2 billion Euros in taxes, a record amount for any Finnish company at that time.



In 2008, Nokia owns 40% of the global market of mobile phones. However, the same year was the year of its first decline. Technology was becoming more advanced and was developed rapidly in the U.S., the largest market for wireless technologies.

Profits began to fall apart, and last year, the tax bill was under 2 million.

President of Finland, Saul NIINISTĂ–, born in Salo, visited the Nokia factory on March 20 to seek solutions to help those left without jobs. "We will not abandon our friends and we will not give up", the president said.

To the despair of Finnish, Nokia has fired many workers in its own country. It maintained headquarters in Espoo, near Helsinki, but in 2010 named the first president who is not Finnish, the Canadian Stephen Elop. He came with a strategic development plan in 2011 and made a deal with Microsoft, his former company, marking the beginning of Nokia Windows Phone. Will Nokia comeback from their downfall? It is a tough question and only time will reveal the answer to it.

We shall see what future holds for Nokia. They are trying a comeback with Pureview 808 - a 41MP smartphone.

See Nokia Phones timeline: