What went wrong for Nokia? Nokia Mobile was for 14 years the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones, a pioneer of the technology that has transformed the world. Now, if anything, it is a mere badge on other people’s operating systems and products, often now relegated to ironic retro designs.诺基亚是如何衰落的?这个14年蝉联世界最大生产商的品牌,曾经位于技术尖端,改变了世界。如今却变成了大家的操作系统或产品上的一个小标识,甚至成为再度回归的笑点。 The prior question, answered equally satisfactorily in BBC4’s The Rise and Fall of Nokia, would be: what went right for Nokia? BBC4用《诺基亚的兴盛与衰落》(The Rise and Fall of Nokia)完美回应了更原始的问题:诺基亚是如何盛行起来的? A pulp mill founded in Finland in 1865, the company wasn’t an obvious contender for global leadership. Its pre-eminence derived partly from one of its hobbyist bosses, Jorma Nieminen, the “father” of the Finnish mobile phone industry, extending his boyhood interest in radios. In Finland there was also a ready demand for this nascent technology, being a sparsely populated nation with relatively few fixed lines. People wanted to make calls when they went to the lake on their boat or stayed in their holiday cottage – or if there were some emergency on the move in their beautiful but inhospitable land. Serendipity.1865年,芬兰的一个造纸厂成立,彼时还看不出这家纸厂是全球领导力的有力竞争者。不过纸厂的老板之一乔曼·纳蒙(Jorma Nieminen)是收音机发烧友,年少时痴迷于收音机,后来成为了芬兰手机业的“创始人”,纸厂的潜力大概源于此处。因为芬兰人口稀疏,固定电话不多,所以对手机有大量需求。人们想在湖上泛舟或是木屋度假时也能打电话,当然,在荒凉而美丽的故土奔波,一旦发生紧急情况,打电话也是首选。真是幸运啊。 By 1972 some 1,600 mobile phones had been manufactured, and 20 employees made these exotic behemoths. These promising machines started to generate interest. The story was told of a chap, rather ahead of his time, who took his family to the zoo for the day but could not bear to be out of contact. So he carried his “phone” – a suitcase with 13kg of primitive electronics – all day around the ape house, through the aquarium, to meet the tapirs … No one rang. 到1972年,大约有1600部手机面世,由20位员工通力打造出这些奇怪的庞然大物。手机美好的前景激发了大家的兴致。但是故事要从一位买主讲起。有一天,买主带着全家去动物园,实在无法忍受失联状态,于是他带上了自己的“手机”——那是一个重达13千克的原始电子箱。那一天他去看了猴子、参观了水族馆、貘。并没有人给他打电话。 No matter for Nokia. They pressed on. They were the first to offer a commercial handset for text messages; the first to offer, albeit crude, web access; the first to allow users to download ringtones (Crazy Frog); first to make a phone a calendar and a calculator; and the first to fit a game (Snake – remember that?), thus turning the mobile phone from a device to raise productivity into one that lowers it.   当时还没诺基亚什么事儿。这20位员工继续砥砺前行,他们首创了能发短信的商业手机、简单粗暴的网站、铃声(疯狂青蛙)下载功能、手机日历、手机计算器、手机游戏(还记得贪吃蛇吗?)。由此,手机从一个激发生产力的工具变成了解放人类的电子科技。 Like Lego, Ikea and Volvo, Nokia was infused with a proud and distinct Nordic business culture – open, cooperative, creative and technically driven. But that culture did not survive the growth of Nokia into a vast multinational company; one that even had a phone factory in China that made not a single phone, forgotten by HQ back in Finland, built just to keep the local provincial Chinese authorities happy.  诺基亚和乐高、宜家、沃尔沃一样,具有自豪别致的日耳曼企业文化,它开放、合作、创新,同时以科技为驱动力发展。但是这样的文化并没有使诺基亚变成跨国企业。中国的诺基亚生产工厂不止制造手机,它的存在是为了取悦当地官僚,也早已被芬兰总部遗忘。 Like an old mobile with a dodgy keypad, the culture had malfunctioned. According to insiders, people were recruited who “cared only about the money, [share] options, company cars and wages”. Teams no longer collaborated instinctively. One phone had buttons that didn’t do anything because the designers hadn’t spoken to the marketeers. Nokia’s slogan of “Connecting People” turned ironic. 诺基亚的企业文化如同一部配有滑稽键盘的老手机一样,就此崩塌。据内部人员透露,员工都是“只在乎钱、股份、公司的车和薪水”的人。不再有人自发组队合作。设计者和市场人员在手机上市前从未进行沟通,然后手机上就出现了一些毫无意义的按钮,。诺基亚的口号“Connecting People(人人相联)”成为了笑话。 None of that would have mattered so much if the Apple iPhone hadn’t arrived on 9 January 2007. But it did; computing and phone techs converging. Terrified, Nokia ordered dozens in. One exec took his iPhone home. When his five-year-old daughter asked daddy, “Can I keep the magic phone under the pillow?” he knew they’d had it. 要是2007年1月9日苹果公司的iPhone未曾面世,诺基亚也不会因为内部的这点小事就出现问题。但是时光无法倒流。计算和手机技术结合起来。诺基亚员工在恐惧中购入了iPhone。一位高管把苹果手机带回家,五岁的女儿问他:“爸爸,我能把这个魔法手机藏在枕头底下吗?”这位高管知道,苹果早就具备高端技术了。
So there was nothing predetermined about the fall, nor the ascent, of Nokia. There were known external forces as well as a varying quality of management at work – but also sheer luck, on the way up and on the way down. In other words, just as mafia bosses are said to apologise before they “whack” a competitor, Nokia’s decline at the hands of Apple was “just business”. A shame, all the same.没有什么能预示诺基亚衰落和兴起。外部阻力和各种管理问题众所周知,运气也是诺基亚起起伏伏的原因之一。或者就像黑帮老大会在“打击”同行前先道歉一样,诺基亚败在苹果手里,也不过是“同行竞争”。生意失败嘛,大同小异罢了。 (翻译:阿忙)