BarentsObserver: Finnish tech sector picks up the pieces after Nokia disaster

In 2007, nearly two thirds of phones sold worldwide were running on Nokia’s Symbian platform.

Then, in 2008, along came the iPhone and everything changed.

The iOS and Android platforms destroyed Nokia’s former dominance. Despite a partnership with Microsoft to make Windows phones, by 2013 Nokia had just a fraction of the smartphone marketshare. In April 2014 Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile device business and patents for €5.5 billion, and those who weren’t working on Windows phones – 12,500 employees in total – were let go.

The layoffs devastated Oulu. What had been a tech hub of the north went into instant decline. Housing prices plummeted as panicked engineers fled and the local economy went into a tailspin.

Two years ago, Tuomas Kallio, a 17-year Nokia veteran, was working in research and development. He was laid off in some of the earliest cuts. He finally had an offer on his house last week – for €21,000 less than the asking price – and plans to move into an apartment.