Nokia was at one time the world's largest phone manufacturer, practically any candy bar style phone sold in the late 1990s until 2011, were made by Nokia, but over the past five years, its market share has steadily declined. The corporation's stock fell from a high of $40 in 2007 to under $2 in 2012 – obviously a company in turmoil.
Nokia was running on an operating system (OS) called Symbian that was clearly out classed by the likes of Apple's iOS and the NKOB (new kid on the block), Google's Android OS. Once Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 (hey, credit where credit is due) it caused customers look at mobile phones differently. Touchscreen phones started growing in popularity and once Android started to compete, Nokia simply fell out of the picture. They needed to act and act fast, something their Board of Directors (BOD) could not seem to do.
In late 2010, enter the Trojan Horse called Steven Elop. He was a former Microsoft executive and was hired by Nokia to take the helm. Many thought he should switch from the Symbian OS and start manufacturing Android devices, like former Symbian phone manufacturers Samsung and Sony chose to do. But, instead he cooked up a deal with Microsoft, his former employer, to sign an agreement that Nokia would make only Windows Phones until 2014. A pretty sweet deal for Microsoft, but not so good for Nokia.
Android OS continued to dominate and Samsung grew to become the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer. Nokia makes a solid phone and their flagship Lumia series continues to receive critical praise, but the problem is that the Windows Phone based OS are simply not selling and part of the reason is the lack of apps developed for it. Microsoft was even paying developers to make the apps for their phone and today you still cannot get Instagram, one of the most popular applications. It is a catch 22 – app developers want a large device base so they can make their money, but apps are the lifeblood of an OS and until the apps are there, the sales will not be.
There has been a lot of speculation that once their agreement with Microsoft was done in 2014, Nokia may start to make Android devices as well or, even go exclusively with Android and drop Windows Phones altogether. That is when the Trojan horse dropped the news – Elop reached an agreement that would allow Microsoft to purchase Nokia for $7.2 billion dollars, and that brought Elop back to Microsoft, where Steve Ballmer just happened to announce that he was retiring shortly.
The New York Times revealed that Nokia already had working Lumias that were running the Android OS long before the Microsoft buyout. No one would confirm that Nokia's delving into Android was part of the negotiations, but it was widely thought it was a possibility. Most companies have a "Plan B" or "Plan C," so their work with the Android OS makes sense.
The Times was told that it was a fairly easy task to get the Android OS to run on the Nokia Lumia phone. This should have given Nokia tremendous bargaining power, letting Microsoft know they had other options. If Nokia would have made the switch to Android that could have been the final blow to the Windows Phone since Nokia produces more than 80-percent of all Windows Phones sold.
Nokia was harshly criticized for going with the Windows Phone over Android back in 2010 when Nokia still had a 32.8-percent share of the smartphone market, when by the end of the first half of 2013 Nokia's share of the smartphone market fell to a low of 3-percent. Nobody can truly say if they would have been better off going with Android in the first place, but I do not see how it could have been any worse.