back to article Finnish PM: Apple has DESTROYED FINLAND

The Prime Minister of Finland has claimed that Apple destroyed his country's biggest industry: mobile phone manufacturing. As if that wasn't bad enough, Alexander Stubb went on to say that Cupertino had also annihilated the paper-making industry, which was his nation's other pride and joy. However, a leading Finnish analyst …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    On the contrary

    With all the court papers Apple have filed, I would think they've made a major contibution to the industry worldwide!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On the contrary

      You could also argue Elop and/or M$ killed Nokia and the phone manufacturing business in Finland.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the contrary

        I have a Finnish friend who knew some insiders there, and his comment was (as someone with a solid background in business and finance) that Nokia committed suicide by culture. All the rest (Elop, MS et al) merely exacerbated the rot that had already set in.

        To blame Apple for that is seriously misguided.

        Nokia had the means to do better, but it didn't. End of story, and end of Nokia.

      2. Just a geek

        Re: On the contrary

        Indeed. It was a combination of OPK, Elop, that stupid as all hell burning platforms memo and a lack of risk taking.

  2. FartingHippo
    Megaphone

    Imagine....

    Hordes (herds?) of reindeer-mounted Finnish cavalry pounding down Infinite Loop, led by a red-coated general with a white beard.

    Who's ho-ho-ho-ing now, Apple?

  3. M7S
    Joke

    "The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy"

    Was the sound of fur clad Finnish females trying to attract a mate on a saturday night out the inspiration for Rovio's big hit then?

    1. frank ly

      Re: "The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy"

      Fur clad .... mmmmm ... I don't care what they sound like.

      1. Otto is a bear.

        Re: "The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy"

        Careful now, you'll have an Animal Rights Fatwa with that kind of attitude, put those cave man feelings behind you and embrace bri-nylon.

    2. Marcus Aurelius
      Joke

      Re: "The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy"

      Maybe you have just hit on a new potential Finnish export.

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Windows

    Back in the day

    Back in the time of mainframes, when chain printers ate print ops for breakfast, I said to an older and wiser colleague that I looked forward to the paperless world that we were creating. He laughed, pointed at the piano-ruled paper waterfalling off my workstation and said, "You'll see a paperless toilet before you see a paperless office". Since then I seem to have proved him right every single day.

    1. AdamT

      Re: Back in the day

      So how do those "three shells" things work?

  5. Google

    Nokia got out in time. Phone hardware right now is a race to the bottom. Only Apple seem to be able to sell sexy and overprice.

    Instead they should have lingered on fighting cut price one plus handsets? Their imaginate hardware design wouldn't have saved them when all people want is a large display in their hand.

    Much as I like them, the world didn't want an E7 or N900, two of Nokia's top models.

    They were either too visionary (their Debian based tablets) or lagging (N9).

    1. David 138

      They had amazing phones but crap software. They should have been the biggest Android Manufacturer. There phones are still some of the coolest on the market. The Lumia 800 was a great phone its just a shame Windows Mobile wasnt.

  6. Ross K Silver badge

    Finnished?

    As if that wasn't bad enough, Alexander Stubb went on to say that Cupertino had also annihilated the paper-making industry, which was his nation's other pride and joy.

    Ummm Mr Stubb, there's this thing called recycling now. This means that there's less demand for virgin paper.

    It's also easier to locate a paper mill in China where you won't have the same level of environmental protection you'd get in the EU or US.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    finland and paperless offices

    Back in the day when I worked for a now defunct US Computer Manuf, the Helsinki office was at the forefront of getting rid of paper. Strange that....

    There are many other innovative uses for Woodpulp and its by-products that could make them lots of dosh.

    I expect that Finland will ban the import of Apple kit soon as an austerity measure.

  8. petur
    FAIL

    Nokia killed itself

    They were working in the right direction for a long time already with their nits, but they didn't invest in them and were horribly inefficient at it due to internal battles. They could have had something like the n900 years earlier...

  9. Mondo the Magnificent
    Meh

    I agree

    Nokia committed suicide, they have every chance to adapt to the new era of smart phones, but decided to stick with what "they know"

    Nokia had every opportunity to jump on the Android bandwagon but obviously didn't take Android's offerings seriously. It's not just Apple that was part of Nokia's demise, but LG, Samsung, HTC, Huawei and Google (Nexus) to name a few.

    The fundamental difference being those other manufacturers adapted to Android in order to give Apple a damned good run for their money, and they have...

    Hindsight is wonderful, however it's a little too late for Nokia nowadays..

  10. -T-

    Comment from Finland

    This is a news story which wasn't understood correctly outside of the Finland. Every Finn can hear the irony and sarcasm in the voice of Alexander Stubb, but it seems that people outside of Finland doesn't hear it. Or they don't want to hear it just because they want to make a nice selling news story.

    1. Ross K Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Comment from Finland

      Every Finn can hear the irony and sarcasm in the voice of Alexander Stubb

      Sorry, I don't believe that excuse. I get sarcasm, and this isn't it.

      He did an interview with Dagens Industri back in June or July of this year where he took a similar shot at Apple - if it was a truly sarcastic or flippant comment he wouldn't be repeating it months later.

      More likely he's hoping to deflect attention from the fact that Finland's dragging its heels on implementing EU sanctions against Russia.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Comment from Finland

        "he wouldn't be repeating it months later."

        I hadn't heard of that Apple quip in DI before - he probably recycled the quote because it's unlikely the yanks would have heard it either.

        Stubb is a smart guy, but he's very much interested in being in the limelights. (like other politicians)

        1. Ross K Silver badge

          Re: Comment from Finland

          Stubb is a smart guy, but he's very much interested in being in the limelights. (like other politicians)

          Well if he bombs out of politics, he can always get a job as a Gok Wan impersonator.

  11. Decade
    Trollface

    Apple failed to kill Android

    Yes, the problem wasn't that OPK reorganized Nokia so it would become famous for its infighting and elaborate PowerPoint presentations, nor that Elop publicly destroyed their high-margin product lines years before any possible replacement, while neglecting their low-end market.

    The problem was that Apple failed to sue Google and the Android Open Source Project for copying the Apple designs. High-end smartphones should have been a niche. Android brought the design to the masses. But instead of suing Android at the source, Apple sued Samsung for being the most blatant at copying.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Apple failed to kill Android

      "The problem was that Apple failed to sue Google and the Android Open Source Project for copying the Apple designs..."

      Apple started suing Samsung (and others) back when Android was still a babe among mobile operating systems, and looked so much like iOS that nobody was seriously attempting to explain the similarities as anything other than a very sincere form of flattery. Some manufacturers today are still chancing their arm by blatantly ripping-off iOS. If you don't believe me, check this out. Samsung's early Android phones were pretty similar rip-offs, though they've moved a long way away from that approach since then, helped by improvements and changes in later Android releases.

      The reason why Apple didn't sue Google directly is simple: Google don't charge for Android licensing, so it's difficult to prove that Google benefit materially from ripping-off iOS given that Android is deliberately designed to be skinnable, and has been pretty much since the beginning. (Otherwise, that rip-off Chinese device linked to above wouldn't be possible.)

      Google didn't get where they are today without learning how to cover their corporate arse. Suing the licensees rather than the licensor therefore makes a lot more sense.

  12. Peter Storm

    A message to the people of Finland

    Elect a new PM. This one's a bit of a dick.

  13. squigbobble

    The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy

    Moi, puoleensavetävä nainen...

    Hmmm.

    1. t.est

      Re: The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy

      To say I love you in Finnish is like shooting a AK47, Minä raka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-stan sinua.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: The Finnish language is difficult, especially if you are trying to make yourself sound sexy

        To say I love you in Finnish is like shooting a AK47, Minä raka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-stan sinua.

        Surely that should be RK62...

  14. ilmari

    I too find it hard to believe he meant it any other way than <technological progress> makes <old inflexiblecompanies and industries> die. And I don't even vote for his party.

  15. Marcus Aurelius
    WTF?

    Why not blame Microsoft

    Elop was virtually parachuted in, made unfortunate comments and decisions, sold out Nokia to Microsoft, which promptly sucked its victim dry like a spider with its prey. I fail completely to see how Apple are to blame.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Why not blame Microsoft

      Elop, for all his flaws (and apparent ignorance of the Osborne Effect), was "parachuted" into a basket-case of a company whose woes date back to the adoption of a platform, Symbian, that was designed for the mobile technologies of the 1990s, not the 2000s, let alone the 2010s.

      Symbian shared many design flaws with Microsoft's much-loathed MFC. And for similar reasons: both were built on C++, but that language was still in flux during the 1990s, with the result that many OOP concepts were not particularly well implemented in the language itself and required all sorts of hacky workarounds. The most visible example of this was Symbian's decision to roll its own memory management system. This made your code much more difficult to port, for example.

      Symbian was also clearly designed by people who genuinely believed that 'correctness' was the most important thing, so the API demanded pages and pages of sub-classing, just to perform the most basic of operations. And they didn't give a damn about making the developer's life easier. No decent IDEs, no design tools, no consistency across the UI-layer APIs. Nada. You had to do it all the hard way. Because, masochism. Think GNU / Linux development circa 1998.

      So, Nokia's main platform was a technological dead-end. It was never going to work in an era of mobile devices powerful enough to run proper, hairy-chested, grown-up operating systems like *BSD, Linux, or Windows NT. Its lifespan was therefore inherently limited. But Nokia's management had no consistent Plan B. They bickered endlessly, duplicated efforts, and let petty empires and management politics get in the way of running a damned company.

      Nokia's original management team royally f*cked up. This was NOT Elop's fault as he wasn't there during any of this.

      By the time Elop was brought on board, the mobile division was already a massive basket-case and clearly in its death throes. Elop looked about desperately to find an alternative to Symbian. In 2010, Android was still very half-baked and no better than any other option. (This was the Android 2.x period.) At this point in time, Windows Phone looked just as viable as any other option, and Elop had worked for Microsoft, so he presumably felt having contacts there would be useful. He didn't know anyone at Google.

      Elop did make some mistakes, but the leaking of the "burning platforms" memo is not something he can be directly blamed for. (My money's on it being leaked by a disgruntled member of the outgoing management team.) This resulted in the predictable Osborne Effect, effectively destroying what little chance the mobile division may have had of surviving intact as part of the larger Nokia group. With nobody buying their old tat, Nokia had to find a buyer for the division.

      Elop's connections at Microsoft made the latter an obvious choice, but Microsoft weren't actually that interested. That Elop pulled off the purchase regardless is therefore not a "failure" as many seem to believe: had he not achieved this, there would be no Nokia Lumia phones today: the division would most probably have been closed down entirely. Believe it or not, this made Nokia's shareholders happy, not sad. They don't care how their goose makes those golden eggs, as long as it keeps laying them and making them money.

  16. Chad H.

    Nokia did all but kill itself. Just before the iPhone they were selling buggy featurephones that were barely usable, and second only to everything else. The only thing that kept them going was market inertia.

    They had no clear plan - each model looked and behaved very different, but the actual feature/need difference between them was, well, confusing.

    The iPhone was just the coup de grace. One model, three variations. That was it. Good easy to use interface.

    Everything Nokia could and should have done, but was to myopic to see.

    1. t.est

      Yes they killed themsleves.

      If Nokia would have continued to innovate, Apple would not have had that window in the market they got.

      Nokia simply gave that window to market to Apple by mismanaging the company.

      I had Nokias back then, and I was hoping Apple would do something to the mobile business as all produced crap phones at that time. Except maybe for Spectronic that I never got to tryout, except my dads old NMT version. Already then a very innovative phone maker, but people didn't seem to get it, or the marketing simply was to bad.

  17. Fido L Dido

    Ignore him

    This is the same Alexander Stubb who said early this year that the UK had to wake up and understand that the EU is good for them.

    He seems to be trying to tell us what we should think.

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Ignore him

      > This is the same Alexander Stubb who said early this year that the UK had to wake up and understand that the EU is good for them.

      Every Finn can probably hear the irony and sarcasm in that one too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ignore him

      Wasn't Cameron and his cohorts telling Scots what's good for them?

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Ignore him

      "He seems to be trying to tell us what we should think".

      What the hell, "seems to be trying to", hove damned difficult is it for you just to understand that he (and I) would like you to take part and stay in the EU. He is not alone. But lets start from some time ago.

      Not long ago Cameron had his rumpus about "a bad day for Europe", poor bastard, What was that all about, as far as I know he was not looking to be appointed, nor did he have any own suggestions. Hes problem was that nobody came to ask for his advice (there was somebody from Hungary, a country with a President a disgrace for it's people). Poor bastard, what a life, all those funny countries, all those funny languages, please HM Queen give me a veto, please, please let me deal with the EU as a one to one, (as with India or Australia in the good old days) not as one among 27. Hell.

      Cameron also speaks about national interests and that is fine, every country have national interests, but all other EU countries consider EU as “a national interest”. Stronger together, similar regulations, laws the market and so forth.

      A work in progress.

      But Cameron will not get it. Again he dreams about a one to one power with the EU.

      I had a look at comments on the BBC and of course there was those who suggested that GB should return to the old happy Empire and I can well imagine how he infront of Australia and New Zealand starts by saying “Hello chaps, due to my national interests I have decided that...” hehe.

      I do understand that the Russians are in the middle of a "Post Empire Psychosis", I understand that Americans are afraid of one, but some of you Brits (and the BBC) just seem to cling to it forever. The sun does set on the empire, but nobody hates you. What the hell is it with you. You seem to find even the closest neighbour odd, Welsh, Scots, French, Americans, Germans, cats and dogs (foreign). Long ago there was a English author who wrote that the Brits have been so involved in studying other people that they have forgotten to study themselves. One of the things that have worried me is that you Brits have no problems with words like "poor schools" and "good schools". There should not, in the vocabulary be any "poor schools" and listening to Cameron I have my doubts about the "good schools".

      I do admit that while studying Computer Science in Rugby I loved to walk around the School weekends admiring all the fine cars, RR, Bentley, Austin, Jaguar and a MB600. But what are those kids learning, the history of the Empire, perhaps. Perhaps there are some similarities between Nokia, the GB and Microsoft, living in the past.

      Alexander Stubb reminds me of Daniel Ricciardo, all teeeeth, all smiile, good physics, all positive. Daniel is, however, a good F1 driver and Stubb a Prime Minister. I am. to some extent, a bit worried about Stubb as I have this feeling he has no time to look in the rear mirror. Take the trade agreement with the USA, that is all GO for him, but he seems to have no time to sit down and read the small print. On the other hand he will stop. turn around, very quickly without any problems whatsoever, if there is a need for it that he can understand. And I agree, if there is a rock ahead, turn.

      This was, however, about "Finnish PM: Apple has DESTROYED FINLAND" any Finn will understand that it was about "if falling asleep you will be hit by apples or potatoes or bricks, your sauna will burn or whatever."

      How would Cameron express this, would he, could he.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who hired Elop?

    Board members and/or major shareholders must have actively sought a Microsoft buyout, right?

    Makes sense... Two big old companies with too much bureaucracy and a lack of vision at the top. Sad to lose Nokia's competent handset business though.

  19. t.est

    As a Finn

    I know Apple was the company that pulled the trigger on the sitting duck Nokia.

    Problem was that Nokia had been mismanaged for more than a decade, and I for one was hoping that Apple would enter the mobile industry even before they made their iPod.

    Nokias, were simply not developing fast enough. Bad web browsers, no proper email and as a private person no email at all.

    Web browser was skitty, and then they actually made the best mobile web browser, together with Apple, ah that irony, when they brought the webkit based web browser to their symbian phones. Then I knew Apple was on to something. They didn't just cooperate with Nokia without reason.

    So yes, Apple was the hunter that killed Nokia. But it could have been any other hunter that would have given the consumers what they already did expect from a smartphone but didn't get.

    There was though a very unknown "smartphone" at the time that I would have wanted to get my hands on but could not. They sold in very few numbers as the company was mainly a subcontractor to other phone makers. But Spectronic had some very interesting "smartphones" at that time. With a unique method for typing text, as fast as on a normal keyboard without the keyboard.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectronic

  20. Steve Barker

    At Least There Is Still Jolla

    I love mine, it just works so well.

  21. ilmari

    Locally in Finland, Stubb has come under criticism for using twitter.

    Doesn't matter if it's "aww, look at this cute kitten!", or "difficult negotiations again. please bring coffee", or "just ran marathon, excercise is good for you", mainstream media always interviews political analysts about the "statements by the prime minister" (tweets)

    On one hand, "the social media pm" has brought unprecedented transparency into government.. On the other hand, people are quite confused as to why the prime minister declares to the world that the kitten "snuggles" is the cutest kitten ever...

  22. Flubb

    Elop's smoking gun

    Let's give credit (and apportion blame) where due. The N9 is the magnificent flagship device that Elop deliberately burned by refusing to sell it in North America or western Europe. As well, it was not included in updates to the desktop sync app so that only pictures and videos can be copied or backed up without resorting to the command line. (If Jolla accommodated AWS 1700/2100 I'd buy one in a heartbeat but as it stands, even the nicest new devices seem like a step backward so I can't bear to switch from the N9. Oh well, at least I'm saving some money.)

    Add that to the stupid memo and he doesn't come off looking like much of a gift to Nokia or Finland.

  23. Joe Harrison

    Finland is different

    I used to work for a Finnish tech company and to my mind their single most difficult characteristic was inability to admit when something was not working.

    Pointing out a deficiency in your own company's product or strategy was tantamount to high treason so of course nobody did. There were probably plenty of people in Nokia who knew what was wrong they just didn't dare stand up and say so.

  24. DougS Silver badge

    If anything killed it, it was Android, though it was really self-inflicted

    Nokia played the whole market from high to low end, all over the world, and covered every single carrier. How could Apple, who competes ONLY on the high end, and was for a long time not available on certain very popular carriers (like Verizon and China Mobile!) have destroyed Nokia? Taking away a good share of the high end would certainly damage Nokia, but they could have survived and regrouped.

    My first two phones were Nokia (8860 and 8260) and I was totally ready to make my third a Nokia but their US offerings in the 6 months or so I was looking were, to a one, utter shit. I went with a KRZR and later a 3gs. Apple didn't steal me away as a customer, Nokia had already lost me through their own inability to make good products long before I ended up with an iPhone

    Had Nokia not been asleep at the wheel and seen that original iPhone showed the way toward the future, they would have had some strong products ready by the time Android finally got their act together and stopped sucking with 4.0 and probably beat it in overall market share due to the inbuilt advantage of their positive name recognition throughout most of the world.

    Because Nokia had nothing to compete with aside from decade old technology and Microsoft's catch-up attempt, Android took the mass market by default. Had Android not existed, it isn't like Apple would have been serving that market. Nokia wouldn't have been bleeding low/mid range market share, and wouldn't have needed to burn their platform. Though eventually, Windows Phone would have started to eat that share so not having Android would have only delayed Nokia's demise, not prevented it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new

    The 'old' Nokia died for the same reason DEC died - inability to adapt to changed conditions. To emphasise: it's not that the relevant individuals working at either place were bad at their jobs or stupid (no, not even Elop), it's simply that the corporate 'culture' had, over a number of years, reached a point of ossification that even those (notionally) in charge could not change the direction of the ship (let alone its size and type) fast enough to realign and cope with the emerging technologies, convergence and other ecosystem changes that made their products so 'yesteryear' and/or otherwise undesirable. So, in short, Elop should not be made the fall guy for cumulative collective failures over a long period and Apple did nothing but help push over a tree that was already rotting.

  26. Frankee Llonnygog

    Finland, I am your saviour!

    I have invented the paper phone!

  27. t.est

    The x-mas pigs best day...

    ...-is just before x-max.

  28. Timpatco

    Nokia's Trojan Horse

    I think the Finnish PM needs look no further than the dire warning, "Beware Greeks bearing gifts"...

  29. Tim Almond

    Change

    "However, a leading Finnish analyst has rubbished the PM's claims, telling us that Nokia "committed suicide".

    The thing about a lot of electronics and computer companies is that they were incompetent about user interface and user experience. My Creative music player was a good bit of kit, but the synchronisation software was abysmal. As was the sync software for my Nokia phone. The first Android phone I bought just worked.

    The thing with business is that when you get a big change in tech, the existing players often can't move to it. They've spent years perfecting an organisation based around how the world was, with people that fit that world. They make money that way, and can't see that a game changer means that that won't last. They're very reluctant to change what works, even though what works today may not work tomorrow.

  30. Darren Forster

    Symbian killed Nokia not Apple!

    It was Symbian that killed off Nokia not Apple.

    Nokia made major errors by keep holding onto a phone operating system from the 1990's and not knowing when it's time was up.

    Many other manufacturers like Sony, LG, HTC, etc, had already ditched their Symbian based phones in favour of Android.

    The annoying thing was that I remember when the N95 first came out and I was interested in it but the main let down was that it wasn't an Android and had no access to Android apps. At that point I was torn between two directions - should I go for Nokia 'cos the phone looks pretty amazing, or should I go for an Android phone or a Windows phone that have a lot more apps on them.... I went for a HTC HD2 (Windows 6.5 phone). After that I bought a HTC Sensation (Android) - and again was really disappointed that there still was no Android based Nokia - as much as I thought the HD7 would be the ideal next phone after the HD2 the main thing that put me off that one was the fact it had WP7 which had really bad reviews.

    And then finally Nokia got the message that Symbian was a dead OS and they're phones were just as dead for trying to run it!! (which took them nearly 10 years after every other manufacturer had realised this!!!), and of course what do you think they'd do then - make a phone maybe running an OS that was really popular and that there was loads of apps for and loads of different phones in the shops all compatible with it or pick another OS that most phone manufacturers were shying away from because it had changed so much that a lot of people no longer wanted it, and it was severely limited with apps, it was so bad it was considered flogging a dead horse - yep you've guessed Nokia went for the dead horse!!! why???? A new N-series phone based on Android would have flown off the shelves - and can you imagine the potential a Nokia Android N-Gage hand-held console/tablet combo could have had - but instead they chose Windows Phone 7.

    If it had all been down to Apple then all the other phone manufacturers would have been in the same boat, and Android would be dead and buried too, but they're not so you can't just blame Apple.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia committed suicide when they decided only support Windows phones. They had a chance to develop Android based Nokia phones.

    However, both SonyEricson and Nokia flunked.

    At a time when people were carrying two devices both a mobile phone and iPod. SonyEricson had the smartphone which could play both play Music, run apps and be used as a phone - this was the P800, then P900, P910 and finaly the best phone ever produced the P990i. (It had touchscreen with stylus, although I was using my fingers, real keyboard, roller wheel... ). The P990i is still my favourite phone and I wish SonyEricson developed an Android vesion of this phone.

    But SonyEricson and Nokia, failed to push the boundary into a credible product.

    When Apple came out with the iPhone. They just were stunned and shocked!. SonyEricson forgot to develop the P990i and to match the iPhone.

    Nokia's Asha range was comical, they turned it into a kids phone. Rather then put serious apps. I don't even think it came with 3G.

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