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Nokia's Stabilisation & Finland's Independence

In April Nokia's shares jumped nearly four per cent, the largest increase in over three years, following news it has begun to stabilise its losses. These shares jumped another three per cent last week after Nokia won its major patents battle with Apple. Analysts believe the defeat will cost Apple $608m up front and up to $550m annually. The more iPhones Apple sells, the more money Nokia earns. This latest boost could turn around the company.
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Likewise expect its equally criticised partner Microsoft to pull out all the stops with Windows Phone. Version 7.5, Mango, has already impressed and it is equally in the money after winning its own patent battle with HTC which garners it $5 from every HTC Android phone shipped, that's more than Google makes. Meanwhile if the world's two largest analysts Gartner and IDC are to be believed, both predict Windows Phone's market share will have rocketed past iOS by 2015.


"It's a partnership of equals," claims Nokia's American head of marketing Doug Dawson, who continues to deny talk that the phone division will be sold off. "We remain a global company, a product company and our ambitions remain to be a global player," he stresses. "We don't want to put goals in Stephen's mouth [Stephen Elop – CEO], but we retain ambitions to be a product company." Either way it may not matter, if you don't control the software then hardware can quickly become a fools' game of ever higher volume and lower margin. Its sale would give Nokia a huge cash boost to further bolster its R&D and lorry load of patents.
   
And if Finland is starting to rely less on Nokia, it seems Nokia is also less reliant on Finland. New Canadian boss Stephen Elop is the company's first non-Finnish CEO in its 146 year history, Windows Phone is created in the US and Nokia VP Victor Saeijs confirmed on Friday that Finland will not be amongst its launch markets for its first Windows Phone devices – the first time it has left out its home country for a major launch. It would certainly be too early to say country and company have broken their interdependence, but their economic fates no longer appear intertwined.
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"The impact of Nokia's difficulties is not nearly as dramatic as it could have been," concludes Risto Siilasmaa, himself now a so-called business angel - an investor in Finnish start-ups. "Challenges have made us find our hunger again and that has lifted our self esteem."

That said he takes care to respect a company which was founded 53 years before Finland was recognised as independent from Bolshevik Russia. "When we started F-Secure we didn't list Helsinki as our HQ on our business cards because we feared we wouldn't be taken seriously. With Nokia that changed and now we are in a position to keep changing…"

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