Former Nokia chief executive officer Stephen Elop has announced this week that the firm's purchase by Microsoft has meant that Nokia branded phones will soon be a thing of the past, bringing an end to one of the most iconic companies ever in this market.

We take a look back at some of the highs and lows in the history of Nokia. 


Nokia was formed in a town of the same name in Southern Finland as long ago as 1871, but of course, it wasn't releasing phones all the way back then. The company originated as a paper mill before later branching into electronics and radio phones in the 1960s and 1970s. 

It was 1979 when the firm launched Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT), the world's first cellular network, and it followed this with the release of the Mobira Cityman in 1984, although with an initial price of over $6,000 (£3,570), it was still a long way from being the company's first mainstream device.

Taking over the world

The 1990s was, without a shadow of a doubt, all about Nokia, as the company brought phones to the mainstream and saw its mobile devices win over a generation, carrying over into the early 2000s with a real domination of the marketplace.

Two of Nokia's real staples – and they weren't even phones – came in the early 90s. The 2100 – which shifted more than 20 million units – was the first time the world was introduced to the now instantly recognisable Nokia ringtone in 1994, and in 1997 it introduced Snake – a game that would become massively popular the world over. 

It was later in the decade though, and into the next, that Nokia would really earn its stripes. The Nokia 3210, 3310 and 3410 were among its most popular devices ever, introducing the world to menus, sleek ways of texting and the ability to customise the phones with snap-on covers. 

In just three years at the end of the 90s, Nokia managed to increase its turnover by 500 per cent, crushing the competition in Siemens, Sony and Sagem. Apple was still little more than a tiny competitor at the time. 

Smartphone era

If the 90s was a glorious era for Nokia, the rise of the smartphone proved to be almost as bad as the period before was good. Nokia was slow to adapt to the world of smartphones and it paid the price very quickly. 

Despite having a range of good phones around at the time, Nokia's devices were being overshadowed by the introduction of the likes of Apple's iPhone range, which revolutionised the mobile market. 

By 2009, the company posted its first quarterly loss in profits for more than a decade. Perhaps the biggest mistake by Nokia was to abandon the Google OS Android. Despite the pull it had as a brand, the company would disregard the universally popular OS after HTC and Samsung started developing devices for it, and its pairing with Microsoft to make devices for Windows Phone proved to be less than popular. 

The era would see some fantastic Lumia handsets come to the market. The company focused on areas that others were not, such as providing top-notch cameras and a wider choice in colours and customisation, but the OS was a major setback (Mr Elop has since said the company did not want to go head-to-head with Samsung on Android) and it proved to be the downfall of the brand. 

End of an era

In September 2013, the first rumblings of a takeover of Nokia by Microsoft were heard. The deal was completed in late April 2014, and shortly after, it was confirmed that Nokia branded phones are to be a thing of the past. 

The company released a recongisable promotional video that featured some of its range of Lumia phones with the tagline "Everything Just Became A Lot #MoreColourful", but the ad would end with Microsoft rather than Nokia branding, effectively bringing to an end one of the most adventurous and exciting brands in the history of mobile phones. ADNFCR-2155-ID-801716274-ADNFCR

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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