Nokia goes American…remember those who said NZ needed a Nokia?


A reader emails:


Remember the Hullaballoo last year involving Gerry Brownlee when he took on the Finns last year? This saw some distinct Opposition chest beating, as it picked on one of their favourite countries (despite Finland’s love of Nuclear power and embrace GM technology).

I bet Gerry will be enjoying a wry smile over news that Nokia has been picked up by Microsoft for way less than Len Brown’s new train set in Auckland will cost. As both will lose money, which one would WO readers most prefer?  Google, several year’s ago, picked up Ericsson Mobile Motorola Mobility (who had invented the mobile phone), proving you can go from hero to zero very quickly in tech.

Yet this got me thinking about all those ‘experts’ who castigate farming by saying we need to ‘develop a Nokia of our own.’ While the meat industry has its issues, at least its in demand, more so than Nokia’s loss making business, or should i now say, Microsoft Mobile.

Remember what the Finnish ‘comedian’, Tuomas Enbuske, said after big Gerry corrected Shearers Finnish myth last year?

“We have Kimi Raikkonen … you have sheep.  We have Linus Torvalds [creator of Linux computer software] … you have sheep.  We have the Angry Birds game … you have sheep. We have Alvar Aalto [architect] … you have sheep. We have Nokia … you have sheep.  We have Martti Ahtisaari [Nobel winner] … you have sheep.  Thank you. Greetings from Finland.”  

Not to be catty, OK I will, but Kimi’s return to F1 hasn’t been flash, our Lord Ernest Rutherford made Finland’s soon to be five nuclear power stations possible – you cannot play angry birds or program Linux with candles. While Finland has four Nobel prize laureates  v our three, three of the Finnish ones are technically Russian.  Now, of course, Nokia is American, so Tuomas Enbuske, greetings back to you from New Zealand!

The real concern though was the rush with which the left and the corporate /university bludgers pushed the Nokia model for fat grants. Meanwhile our mandarins travelled well to study Finland too. Even our MSM remains suckered in by the Nokia myth, as evidenced by The Listener gleefully calling for dairying’s scalp while holding up Nokia (MS Mobile).  Maybe that will change, with the stars & stripes flying over Nokia so we now get anti-Americanism.

Here are some others after a quick internet search (warning carries some deluded thinking):

“Sir Paul Callaghan, who foresaw the danger of over-dependence on Fonterra, tirelessly promoted science and innovation as the route to a more secure and prosperous future. He pointed out Finland’s economy is significantly more diverse than ours, despite Nokia’s size and importance.”

Listener editorial, 9 August 2013 (proving how commercially astute their editor is)

“Finland needed to make a step change, and it did that. It is currently putting more than 3 percent of its GDP into research and development and science. Nokia is now a household name; when Finland began that step change it was not. That is a real step change….” 

David Shearer, 9 February 2010 (poor David’s speech writers missed Nokia’s huge losses and falling market share, even in 2010).

“Both of these countries transformed their economies by developing high technology, with Finland hugely benefiting from companies like Nokia, and New Zealand has a lot to learn from them.”

Hon Steve Maharey, 23 February 2007

”The transformation of Finland’s economy around ICT in the past fifteen years, with the development of Nokia as a world leader in the sector, has been inspirational.”

Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister, 12 February 2007

“It is clear that the Business Growth Service can be improved by providing additional expert advice to help companies plan for their long term development. We need larger companies employing more people and earning foreign exchange, in the same way that Finland, a country with five million people, has Nokia with over 60,000 employees.

Hon Jim Anderton, 17 December 2001

 UPDATE: The reader had a brain explosion and where he mentions Ericsson, he really meant Motorola Mobility. He is really apologetic…


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  • Pissedoffyouth

    lol. Just lol.

    Just like how Google bought Motorola, they used to make great phones now are barely known.

    • SJ00

      I think the author meant to say Google bought Motorola not Ericsson. Motorola had the first cellphone out not Ericsson so I think he made a mistake.
      Having said that, Google have done fuck all with Motorola and its only now they are starting to bring out their new phones.

      • tarkwin

        I’ve got a Motorola and it’s bloody awful.

      • rangitoto

        The only reason Google bought Motorola Mobility was to acquire their patent portfolio. A defensive measure to protect Android.

        • SJ00

          One of the reasons.. not the only. The changed the development of the Moto branding and have finally started brining out the new phones based on those changes. The Moto X is the among those new phones. Its given them a platform where they can release the latest version of Android without all the whizbang stuff sitting on top. Meaning, they can bring out OS releases on the phone faster than the likes of Samsung can.

          • rangitoto

            I thought they already had Nexus for that. Maybe Moto branding for a different market segment than Nexus.

          • Pissedoffyouth

            They outsourced the Nexus to Samsung at first, and now to LG. The MotoX is the first ground up Google phone

          • spiker

            LG are tricky to use. Another firm that needs KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

      • David Briome

        Yes you are right it is Motorola and that mistake is unforgivable. Sorry.

      • Yes a grovelly email has just arrived

    • David Broome

      I am so embarrased it was Motorola Mobility NOT Ericsson. Sorry.

      • Pissedoffyouth

        Hey its no worries

        • It definitely is not forgivable. Russel is demanding an enquiry as we speak! LOL

    • spiker

      I wondered a long time ago how a bunch of white haired semi-Asian reindeer herders could come up with a market leading cell-phone. Then it occurred to me that what the Finns had actually done, apart from supporting the Nazis in WW2, was to breed a herd of super-fast reindeer. Easy to rig up reindeer antlers as antennae and, as we all know, specially trained reindeer can tow Santa’s sled around the entire world on a single night. Of course, most Labour politicians are descendants are of Anglo-Scandinavian-Baltic-Finno-Ugrian-Uralic hybrid descent – you can tell by the physical type – and that’s why they are best at reindeer herding.

  • Honcho

    I don’t see Apple or the Korean’s inventing a way to watch Youtube and send and receive emails using blocks of cheese or bottles of milk, I think Fonterra will be the back bone of our proud nation for a while longer …. I just hope the socialists, MSM hysterics and other wreckers quit their tall poppies bullshit, that’s Fonterra’s only real threat.

  • In Vino Veritas

    One can live without a mobile phone and a computer, but its tough to live without food.
    I’d point out also, that Finland was ranked 2nd in high technology manufacturing after Ireland in 2004 by the OECD. And we all know what happened to Ireland, don’t we?

    • Mr_V4

      Yeah everyone got drunk on a property boom. Very little to do with tech manufacturing. In fact if Ireland didn’t have its tech exporting busineses that it does, and would be in an even bigger hole.

      • Pissedoffyouth

        More like if Ireland did something idiotic and removed the tax haven status it has there would be no more foreign investment.

        Slash taxes here, gain a ton of employment in accounting etc

  • tarkwin

    Finally something Labour is good at, a couple of speeches and they ruined a company! I always thought that was a Greens policy.

  • Goldie

    So there is a clear correlation between a company being adopted as an example to be copied by Lefties and its impending demise.
    On that basis, Fonterra must be thankful that they are currently hated by Lefties.

  • Patrick

    We have X, you have sheep, we have Y, you have sheep, we have Z, you have sheep. The world will still be eating our sheep long after the world has moved on from the latest fancy Nokia phone to the next greatest mobile device.

  • CheesyEarWax

    From memory Google bought Motorola not Ericsson. In the fast changing world of mobile technology Nokia got left behind, as was Motorola, BlackBerry, Palm, etc… Nokia have been struggling since the iPhone and Androids came onto the scene and have been sacking 20,000 odd workers in the last few years. They have outsourced manufacturing to cheaper countries like China. So they are not a good example of a company for the lefties to crow about, there is none.

    • SJ00

      Correct, Ericsson joined up with Sony for a while as they were also slipping out of existence. Its only recently that Ericsson (or Sony) stopped that partnership. The main players a few years ago incredibly are hardy seen now and its the Samsungs, LG, HTC, Apples of the world that have stepped into a new market (for them) and thrived. The old boys were too busy stuck in the current line ups to realise quickly enough that things were changing and fast.

    • David Broome

      Sorry it was Motorola Mobility NOT Ericsson.

  • cows4me

    It’s my fervent wish that these lefty dick beaters that continually rubbish farming learn what it is to go hungry. Like to see the pullers eat their fucking cell phones.

  • Arran Hunt

    I wish we had nuclear power and GM.

  • Ross

    I was up in Finland for a week last year just after Gerry made those comments. I did a bit of research before I went up there.

    This is a country about the population size of NZ that separated from Russian during the October Revolution, had a nasty little communist verses the rest civil war – which the communists lost. At the start of WW2 they fought the Russians to a standstill defending their lives and homes (that fight was started by the Russians) in -40C temperatures. They sided with the Germans to get the territory back they had lost – no one else would help them, then after Stalingrad made peace with the Russians. The peace terms were extremely hard – they lost their best industrial territory, they had to kick the Germans out while demobilising their army, and had to pay crippling war reparations until the 1970’s. All for a war the Russians started.

    They pulled together and managed it by industrialising their economy and working their hearts out – for a whole generation. It was a matter of national survival.

    They were the only European country that bordered Russia at the start of WW2 that kept their independence after WW2, but at a huge cost.

    As a result of these experiences they have developed a resilient, innovative, and creative country. Like us they love their outdoors, their sports, and they are passionate about their country.

    The responses that Gerry got from Finland are reflective of this.

    I took some lessons from this research and visit to Finland:

    1. Don’t pick a fight with the Finns – they don’t ever step back (this made Gerry either very brave or very uninformed)
    2. Having the Russians as neighbours is historically a very interesting proposition
    3. Like us, their own history has shaped them and caused them to have the policy settings they do – in their case driven by a passionate desire for national survival
    4. They are really great people, very hospitable, in many ways very like us, from a plucky little country with very big neighbours
    5. Their innovation and successes should be admired and celebrated – in fact we could learn quite a bit from them
    6. We should be doing more with the Finns – we could learn a lot from them – and they would be great mates

    I know from the conversations I had with them that Nokia being sold to Microsoft will not be a day of national celebration for them – they will quietly grieve it.

    I also know that they will pick themselves up and create something else that is equally brilliant – they are that sort of people

    I am a kiwi with no Finnish connection other than having visited last year.

    I think we should celebrate small countries that are successful wherever we find them, and learn what we can to do better ourselves

    • David Broome

      This was not an attack on the Finns (historically a dumb thing to try), it was merely to point out that economic developmemt is neither paint by numbers nor a facsimle machine. The fact is we ought not copy but develop what we are good at and widen the scope. Think Big was born of ‘if only we had an industrial base we could be like a mini-Japan’. We are good at growing grass and converting that into protein. Where we ought to focus is on the value and supply chain widening it out to the products and services global agriculture needs – that includes ICT to manufacturing. The fact is we keep looking for alternatives and ignore what’s underneath our nose. That’s exemplified by ‘if only we had a Nokia!’ We do and it is called Fonterra. We also have a BP and it is called Todd. We have a wealth of companies, like Gallagher, with awesome potential too (our Panasonic). We can learn but learning is not copying.

      • Ross

        David – I agree entirely with your comments. The thing is there is a lot of good stuff happening in Finland, and we should be inspired and encouraged by their successes, and then as you say – apply the thinking to our own strengths and successes

        • David Broome

          Completely agree mate. They are also developing drone
          Logging machines there (an example of what you/I are saying) – enough to get the CTU pulling off their sabots!

    • Barry

      Finland also had Jean Sibelius and his wonderful music!

      • Ross

        Yes – got banned by the Tsar as it was stirring up Finnish nationalism. It didn’t stop them playing the music and preserving it for us all.

  • spiker

    Nokia phones are not as user friendly as they used to be. Yet another case of designers trying to be too smart. It’s what you get when reindeer herders try something new.

  • David Broome

    Dear Tuomas, Finland may have more F1 winners (3 vs our Denny Hulme), but how any Finns have won the Indycar Championship (0 vs Scott Dixon). Even with F1 we win on points because the Finns have Drivers but we can claim McLaren the Team (founded by our late great Bruce McLaren) & with a stylised kiwi asbthe emblem!

  • Mr_V4

    Nokia is only a company, it should be fairly natural in a market economy that some companies are born and others die, there’s no real shame in that process. It is how capital is reallocated to meet consumer needs.
    Indeed if you don’t have failures in the market your economy would be pretty stagnant.
    Part of the reason the US was so successful in years gone by was that it has a very efficient bankrupcy proceedure, get the assets into the hands of those that can make something of an enterprise, rather than those that are failing.
    Something they have forgotten when it comes to the banks who they would rather zombify with inept management, whilst still paying bonuses to people who caused the problem in the first place

  • John Q Public

    Nokia has only sold it’s underperfoming mobile handset unit. They still do much more business in networks, which was more than half it’s revenues pre sell off. The Vodafine network is all Nokia kit.