Ex-Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala has been brought on to salvage Nokia’s mobile business. Besides making for a fun headline, the move actually makes a lot of sense. Rantala actually did a 17-year tour of duty at Nokia back in the company’s heyday, before briefly assuming the helm of the Angry Birds development studio Rovio.
Rantala’s departure from Rovio in 2015 occurred after just one unspectacular year in the job. But considering he spent a decade and a half at Nokia during its glory days, he may just be the right man for the job. But the Nokia of today is a whole different beast than it was back in the mid-90s, although Rantala would have witnessed its slow demise until 2011, when he originally left.
Rantala is the newly appointed chief marketing officer for the company that has acquired the rights to market smartphones under the Nokia brand, HMD Global. His task is clear: sell the idea of an Android-powered Nokia phone to consumers. He’ll be joining another Nokia alumni, Arto Nummela, who is currently in charge of HMD Global.
Pekka Rantala is tasked with selling the idea of an Android-powered Nokia phone to consumers.
HMD is the Finnish company made up of ex-Nokia and ex-Microsoft types that snagged the licensing rights to the Nokia brand earlier this year. As you may recall, the fledgling company was founded the same month that Microsoft offloaded part of Nokia to a Foxconn subsidiary.
The new Nokia-branded devices made under HMD’s guidance will be manufactured and distributed by Foxconn, who bought the Nokia feature phone business from Microsoft earlier this year. If all this is sounding confusing that’s because it is. The HMD-generated Nokia phones will get brand licensing and patent access in exchange for royalty payments.
Whether the Nokia brand has any chance of success under completely different management we’ll just have to wait and see. But there is a lot of love for the Nokia brand and plenty of folks that would love to see the company back with a vengeance. As Rantala told CNET: “I love Nokia, I love what it stands for and I’d love to see it rise again.” Android is certainly the vehicle it needs to get back to the mainstream.
Nokia just needs to make basically indestructible phones and put all of their R&D budget into insane battery life.
But in all honesty, Rantala and co. wouldn’t even have to do anything terribly fancy to see Nokia make a comeback. Just make basically indestructible phones and put all of their R&D budget into insane battery life. Those two features alone would be enough to win more than a few nostalgic Nokia fans back over. That, and perhaps Snake.
Would you like to see Nokia make a comeback? What would you like to see?