Out of the ashes of what many perceive as the burning death of Nokia, comes Newkia. It is the Singapore-based company that was founded the same day the US$7.2 billion Microsoft-Nokia deal was announced, with the single aim of acquiring Nokia employees and knowledge, but to focus on the Android platform.
Newkia plans to acquire as much of Nokia’s know-how as possible and do what they really should have done at Nokia and push Android forwards. “The Microsoft-Nokia deal reflects the complete failure of the Windows strategy”, says Thomas Zilliacus, executive chairman and founder of Mobile FutureWorks.
He spent over 15 years as a Nokia employee including seven where he was Asia-Pacific CEO. He left the company in 1993 but spent another three years under Nokia’s payroll as a regional consultant. He left to become an entrepreneur and currently runs investment company Mobile FutureWorks, which advisors include former Nokia’s mobile phones CEO Jorma Nieminen and Ericsson’s former CEO Sven-Christer Nilsson.
Zilliacus, tried to buy out Nokia a year ago with the aim to push the company toward a strategy focused around the Android platform, but was unable to raise enough funds to do so despite approaching several global sovereign wealth and equity funds. He still believes Nokia makes the best phones in the world, citing the Lumia collection which he said had been well-received in the market. “But consumers simply don’t want the Windows OS because it lacks the ecosystem and there are not enough apps and services built for the platform that users find crucial today,” he said. He added that the Windows market share is too small for developers to want to develop for the OS. “There’s also a general image problem where Microsoft isn’t perceived as a sexy company.
Developers think it’s cooler to develop for Android and Apple iOS.” He has welcomed Microsoft’s buyout because it opens up the floodgates for his company to now swoop in and gather up Nokia’s technology know-how.
Rise of the Phoenix
“We set up Newkia literally the day Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft. It was the day Nokia died in Finland, and the new Nokia was born in Newkia. I know Nokia employees who are keen to develop for Android and maybe would like to join us…I strongly believe Nokia still has the best know-how in terms of mobile phones and we want to get the best people to join us.”
Thomas Zilliacus has already gathered a team of former Nokia employees and hopes to acquire more staff with expertise, from logistics to manufacturing through to smartphone design. The company will be based out of Singapore, but Newkia plans for its core research and development team to be based out of Finland and the company may set up other R&D divisions across the globe where there are advanced skills sets, such as in Silicon Valley.
In effect, what Newkia plans to do is to use the Nokia framework of technology and design to build the world’s best smartphones, but running on Android. I personally, cannot wait to see what comes of this!