How do you solve a problem like Nokia? The company has been foundering for years, and at this point may have taken on more water than newish CEO Stephen Elop CEO can bail. But how did a company that once defined the mobile industry fall so far behind? It might be more a matter of distance than ideas.
It's not surprising that Nokia's tumble coincides with the rise of Apple and Android; the company's always been a dumbphone specialist, and when the handsets got smart the Finns got trounced. And Nokia's relative isolation—they only just opened their first Silicon Valley office this past February—may not be an insignificant part of their stymied growth. This visualization collaboration between Gizmodo and Bloomberg Businessweek says it best: while Apple and Google are within hollering distance of the industry's nervous system, Nokia sits on a (figurative) island.
Bloomberg this month took a close look at where the company might go from here to recover. The newly announced N9 might be a part of that convalescence, assuming it plays nice with WP7 and not just MeeGo. But the real answer may be as simple as it is time-tested: Go west.