The story of Nokia is far from over, but Friday marks the end of its most enthralling chapter thus far. The company was founded nearly 150 years ago and it went through a number of iterations before it became the cell phone giant most of us think of now. But as of April 25th, Nokia is no longer a cell phone company.
Nokia’s devices and services business moved over to Microsoft on Friday morning as part of a deal worth more than $7 billion. The deal values Nokia’s handsets division at around $5 billion, which is obviously a painfully small fraction of what it was once worth.
The cell phone maker’s failure to react when Apple first launched the iPhone back in 2007 led directly to the company’s collapse. I remember it like it was yesterday — especially when one Nokia executive told me in 2008 that “Apple is like the annoying fly buzzing around the fisherman’s head. Nokia is still the fisherman and we’ll still catch all the fish.”
But enough about my story. The far more interesting tale on Friday comes from a Nokia employee who penned an open letter to say goodbye to the Nokia he knew.
John Kneeland is Nokia’s product manager for emerging markets, and he posted a letter on Thursday evening to discuss the Nokia-Microsoft deal from his inside point of view. His letter is interesting, moving and at times, saddening.
“Today (April 24 2014) was the last day of Nokia as we knew it. The staff of Nokia’s Silicon Valley office went to the restaurant down the street and had one last celebration together. We had fun and said our goodbyes,” Kneeland wrote. “On April 25, that Nokia ceases to exist, and in its place are two companies that officially have nothing to do with each other: Microsoft Mobile Oy (where the heart of the company will go) and Nokia Oyj (where I will be).”
He continued, “Tomorrow I will still be an employee of Nokia. I will go to my office in Sunnyvale. It will be the same building it was yesterday. It will still say NOKIA on its facade basking in the California sun. But half of the people I’ve worked with will be gone. Up through today we shared everything. Tomorrow we will share nothing but our memories. I am not writing another piece to lay blame for who is responsible for the decline and fall of this iconic company. I am writing to reflect on what Nokia has meant for the world, and for me.”
Kneeland’s full letter is a fantastic read and it’s linked below in our source section.