HELSINKI - In just five years Nokia fell from dominating the mobile phone industry to abandoning the handset business, a swift fall from grace with lessons for market leaders.
The story of Nokia, now at the toughest stage of the restructuring cycle, is a particularly salutary business case about the fast-moving, high-risk, high-reward, tech sector for hip consumer goods.
The rapid decline, which is ending with the 5.44 billion euro (S$9.35 billion) sale of the mobile phone division to Microsoft, owed much to Nokia growing too big, too fast and its management getting drunk on their own success, analysts say.
Looking back after years of Apple iPhone dominance, some may have difficulty in recalling that Nokia, in its heyday in 2007, took more than 50 percent of the world market for early smartphones.
"They had become arrogant at Nokia and as a result they were too slow to react to changes in the world around them," Petri Rouvinen, a researcher at the economic think tank ETLA, told AFP.
The technology of the iPhone upended the mobile handset business. It also highlighted the critical importance in any business, but particularly in the high-tech sector, of getting the timing right.