Nokia's New Smart Phones Fail to Impress

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Lisa Mullins: Now sometimes a country's economic fortunes are tied to a few key companies. In Finland there is Nokia. The telecom giant once dominated the mobile phone industry, but it has struggled lately. It's phones have been overshadowed by iPhones and Android devices. Well, today the Finnish giant unveiled two new models of smart phone in New York. But if Nokia was hoping for a quick boost it didn't work out that way. The company's stock price took a nose dive instead. It was down thirteen percent in Helsinki. Kati Pohjanpalo is economics reporter for Bloomberg News in Helsinki and she says Nokia's new phones are just not innovative enough.

Kati Pohjanpalo: Well I suppose when you look at where Nokia stands now compared with its competitors, Apple and Googles Android phones. People were expecting Nokia to leapfrog. To come up with something better than the iPhone rather than something matching it.

Mullins: Kati it doesn't sound like it's a good sign at all for Nokia. A lot of angst in Helsinki over this?

Pohjanpalo: Well, not really. I think most people here are quite used to seeing these numbers from Nokia's stock. The stock is down seventy percent since February 2011 when Nokia and Microsoft first unveiled their collaboration.

Mullins: Seventy percent?

Pohjanpalo: Yes.

Mullins: Wow. So this is just one more hit.

Pohjanpalo: It is one more hit.

Mullins: So this erosion in investor confidence is evidenced now by the fact that the last Nokia plant in Finland has closed.

Pohjanpalo: Yes they are indeed closing the factory in [?]. That's about an hour from Helsinki on the south coast and it used to make these ,um, really high end, expensive phones for Nokia. And that's just one part of the twenty thousand cuts that they're making globally in their workforce.

Mullins: You have written about how your country's economy, Finland's economy, and identity are so intrinsically connected to Nokia. What would it mean if Nokia went bankrupt?

Pohjanpalo: Well it would be a tremendous hit on the sort of pride that Finn's feel about the company. Nokia has been for a long time the flagship of Finland around the world and when Nokia job cut announcements were made consumer confidence in Finland declined.

Mullins: Are there other industries that are emerging now to take the place that Nokia once had?

Pohjanpalo: Well you know those luxury cruise liners that sail in the Caribbean?

Mullins: Mm-hmm.

Pohjanpalo: A lot of those are built in Finland. The world's biggest cruise liners can take in about four thousand passengers and they have things like indoor running tracks and wall climbing and cinemas.

Mullins: Wow.

Pohjanpalo: So those are made on two shipyards in southern Finland.

Mullins: What else?

Pohjanpalo: Finland's also in the midst of a mining boom. There's a lot of Canadian and American mining companies surveying the land for possible new excavation. And you know the mobile game that's taking the world by storm, Angry Birds. That's by a Finnish company that ,uh, has headquarters right next to Nokia.

Mullins: Kati Pohjanpalo talking to us about Nokia. She covers the economy in Finland for Bloomberg News. She spoke to us from Helsinki. Nice to talk to you.

Pohjanpalo: Thanks.