Nokia is a Finnish company founded in 1865 as a maker of pulp and paper. The company branched into rubber and cable businesses over the years, and later formed a merged entity, Nokia Corporation, in 1967. Though the company operated in various industries initially, it focused on the telecommunication infrastructure business, technology development, telecom equipment and licensing from mid-90s. Since then, the company has been one the major contributors in the field of mobile phone telephony industry.
Being one of the early companies to experiment and explore the telecommunication networks, the Finnish company forayed into the cellular network industry in the late 1970s. The firm helped design the world’s first international cellular network system — Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) network — that connected the four Scandinavian countries. In 1982, Nokia bought Finnish mobile phone company Mobira, which later helped formulate the Nokia Mobile Phones division, a new business vertical for the company.
In 1992, Nokia turned into a telecom-oriented company and launched its first commercially available GSM mobile phone, the Nokia 1011. In October 1998, Nokia toppled Motorola to become the best-selling smartphone brand. The same year, Nokia co-founded Symbian Ltd to create a new operating system for hand-held devices and smart mobile phones. The company launched the Symbian OS-based Nokia 9210 Communicator in 2001. It later designed the Symbian Series 60 platform, which was introduced in the company’s first camera phone, the Nokia 7650.
Until 2009, the company was a market leader in the mobile phone segment. However, the company’s mobile phone division witnessed a sharp downfall after Google introduced the Android OS and Apple the iPhone with iOS. In 2011, the company sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft, which introduced Windows Phone 7 as the primary operating system on Nokia-branded smartphones. The Nokia-Microsoft deal also failed to bring the brand its lost glory. By 2014, Nokia's global brand value fell to 98th from 5th in 2009.
In 2016, Microsoft Mobile sold its Nokia-branded feature phone business to HMD Global, a Finnish start-up founded by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril. Subsequently, Nokia made a long-term licensing deal with HMD to exclusively manufacture Nokia-branded phones and tablets outside Japan. The deal also granted HMD the right to essential patents and the feature phone software.