Nokia Beyond 2003: A Mobile Gatekeeper?

By Robert Burgelman, Philip Meza
2003 | Case No. SM113
In 2003, Nokia was the dominant maker of cell phones around the world. It had more than twice the global handset market share of its closest competitor, Motorola. While in a position of strength in 2003, the company faced large challenges in the immediate future. For example, the so-called third generation (3G) of mobile technology was experiencing a slow arrival and uncertain consumer reception. In addition, there was uncertainty about which type of 3G technology would dominate. Perhaps a larger strategic issue for Nokia, however, was its plan for its operating system. In the past, other handset makers were willing to adopt Nokia’s popular handset operating system. By 2003, however, Microsoft has entered the market with its own mobile operating system. As mobile devices become more robust, e.g., incorporating Web-enabled phones with PDAs, etc., the importance of mobile operating systems increases. How can Nokia contend with the entry of the extremely well-funded Microsoft into its core market?
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