Nokia’s Challenges: One Cabbie’s Perspective

Published on February 24, 2012
by Ina Fried

Mika Saaristo has been driving cabs in Helsinki for 25 years, and he has been a solid Nokia customer for almost as long.

Recently, though, he bought a pair of Samsung Galaxy devices.

“All my friends, they wanted to have the iPhone,” Saaristo said. Not one to follow the crowd but still wanting a powerful smartphone, Saaristo bought a Samsung Galaxy S II, as well as a Galaxy Mini to use with his second SIM card.

In perhaps an even more troubling indicator, Saaristo has seen a marked decline in the number of trips he makes to drive partners to Nokia’s offices. It used to be at least once a week that he was taking a foreigner to one of Nokia’s offices in Espoo, Finland, or in the Helsinki area.

Now, he said, it is more like once a month.

“Maybe not even that much,” he said, as we drove from central Helsinki to the airport.

Saaristo is hopeful that the company’s bet on Windows Phone will pay off, but notes that it is more a matter of pride than economic necessity, observing that Finland’s once Nokia-dependent economy has diversified significantly.

(Note: While my time in Finland is at an end, I still have a bunch more stories to tell about Rovio, Nokia, the Finnish start-up scene and my first experience ice fishing. I’ll tell as many as I can before Mobile World Congress, though some may have to wait until after Barcelona.)

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