So what does Nuovo say about beating Apple to the punch with early prototypes of two products that eventually became two of the biggest consumer electronics devices ever made? "Oh my God," he says, "We had it completely nailed." While Nokia was spending tons of cash on R&D, it never took any of these products to market. The Finnish handset manufacturer was the global leader for 14 years in providing mobile phone handsets, but the company lost its crown to Samsung as smartphones started to grab marketshare from featurephones. At the end of 2007, after the Apple iPhone had been on the market for about 5 months, Nokia's marketshare globally peaked at 40.4%. Now, the Finnish handset manufacturer had a marketshare of 21% in this years first quarter, and a stock price that has dropped to a 16 year low. In Q1, Nokia lost the equivalent of $1.1 billion USD vs.a profit of $422 million USD the year before.
Weighing nearly a pound, the device put Nokia 5 years ahead of everyone else according to former CEO Jorma Ollila. But that lead would soon get coughed up. When Motorola's thin RAZR flip-phone became a world-wide smash in 2004, Nokia merged its basic phones with its smartphones and the featurephones took over leadership of the division. Nokia's smartphones had hit the marketplace too early before consumers knew what to do with them. And then when the Apple iPhone came out, Nokia said that the device wouldn't have passed its own drop test. In addition, it was too expensive to make and worked over EDGE, not 3G. But soon Nokia realized that much of the attraction for the iPhone was because of the software. Nokia tried to modernize its aging Symbian OS, but it didn't work. Last year, Nokia tried MeeGo on the Nokia N9, and while consumers seemingly loved it, CEO Elop killed it off to concentrate on Windows Phone. This might turn out to be another decision that bites Nokia on its rear since some Nokia employees have left the company to start a new company, Jolla, to develop smartphones using MeeGo and carrying some patents from Nokia with them.
Nokia is undergoing a major restructuring that will result in the loss of 10,000 jobs, There is a question about how successful its Nokia Lumia has been in the U.S. and now the company has to go up against not only the Apple iPhone, but also the sizzling hot Samsung Galaxy S III. Meanwhile, with Windows Phone 8 soon to be launched, the Nokia Lumia 900 has seen its price sliced in half. Imagine how different everything would be now had Nokia decided to come to market with those two prototypes 10 years ago.