Perhaps reinventing itself is a bit of an overstatement, but having sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) earlier this year, it’s time for Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) to look at what it will offer the world in the future. In last week’s Economist, the magazine asked the same question. Thing is, this is far from the first time that Nokia has had to change its game plan.
Nokia has worn many hats
In 1865, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) started its life in the pulp business before switching to power generation, rubber goods and power cables. At one point in the 1980s, Nokia was amongst the biggest sellers of televisions in Europe.
In the 1990s, Nokia became the world’s largest maker of mobile phones. When the sale to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is finalized in early 2014, it will still be the second-largest as 32,000 employees shift their allegiance from the Finnish phone maker to Redmond, Washington.
Sure, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) as an employer will be noticeably smaller but will still have 6,000 Finnish employees and another 50,000 worldwide. On top of this workforce, they will also have a stronger balance sheet buoyed by the nearly $6 billion from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) as well as various licensing agreements with Microsoft that will add over $2 billion to the kitty over the next 10 years.
New-look Nokia will be a three-headed monster
The “new” Nokia, while made up of three parts, will revolve around its Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), which sells equipment, software and services to telecoms operators. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) will face stiff competition from Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) of Sweden, China’s ZTE Corporation (SHE:000063) and Huawei Technology Co Ltd (SHE:002502). Even with that competition, 90% of Nokia’s revenue will come from this segment.
Under the guidance of Rajeev Suri, this division has turned from a lossmaking venture to a company that brought in nearly $13 billion in the first nine months of this year. These are revenues nearly on par with its former handset division.
Alcatel Lucent’s restructuring plan
Additionally, it’s rumored that Nokia might look to pick up the painful consolidation of Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU) (EPA:ALU) who recently announced its 10th? 14th? (it’s easy to lose count) restructuring plan and could be for sale in the near future.
HERE, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s impressive maps division, will be the second-largest division of the three remaining for Nokia. HERE is responsible for the bulk of navigation systems that are built into cars worldwide.
The last division of Nokia is its Advanced Technologies, the department that will work to develop and license Nokia’s plethora of patents. The uncertainty of Nokia’s future largely lies with this division that is headed by Risto Siilasmaa.
While Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s future may look uncharted, it has been before. Remember this was a pulp company and maker of rubber goods.
However, in order to steer this new company into the future, Nokia will need a captain and a corporate strategy. The selection of a CEO is expected shortly after the Microsoft deal closes.