Apple Vs Nokia Case Study: How Apple killed Nokia

Fourteen years ago, people were excited about the latest and best smartphone Nokia N95. Launched in September 2006 at Nokia Open Studio, it was proclaimed as the all-in-one multimedia device and went on to achieve sales of a million handsets within the UK in its first year. On paper, N95 showed the world’s number one mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia, at the top of its game. Yet, as we now know, the picture of being a leader in smartphones was about to change drastically. Steve Jobs on Jan 9, 2007 declared that Apple was entering the mobile phone business with the introduction of the iPhone.

The iPhone was significantly inferior to N95 on a technical level. To begin with, it was a 2G device not a 3G one. Talking about its camera, the phone had only 2 megapixels and it didn’t support GPS. The thing which outclassed iPhones was what it did offer was a totally new concept in smartphone design. Several reviewers during that point of time were reluctant towards iPhones, concerned about its technical inadequacies and especially its lack of 3G. In the year 2007, Time Magazine still named it “Invention of the Year”.

So, how have the two brands fared well? Let’s know more about this.

This article will provide in-depth comparison between Apple and Nokia, as how Nokia fell from being market leader to being acquired by Microsoft in 2013 and how iPhone became market leader in the smartphone segment even with a bad start.

A succinct timeline of Nokia’s important moments and how it fails:

  • October 1998Nokia becomes the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world.
  • 1999 – Nokia’s operating profit goes from $1 billion in 1995 to almost $4 billion.
  • 2003One of the best-selling mobile phones of all time on the planet, Nokia 1100 enters.
  • 2007– Apple introduces the iPhone.
  • End of 2007, half of all smartphones sold in the world were Nokia’s. During that time, the iPhone had a mere 5% share of the global market.
  • 2010- Nokia launches the “iPhone killer” but fails to match the competition.
  • Market value of Nokia declined by about 90% in just six years as the quality of Nokia’s high-end phones continues to decline.
  • 2013– Acquired by Microsoft.

Do You Know?: Market Share of Nokia in 2007 was $110 Billion which fell down to $19.23 Billion in 2021. Let’s find out the reason of this fall:

  • Nokia’s technology was inferior to Apple’s
  • The arrogance among top-level managers
  • Lack of vision

A succinct timeline of Apple’s important moments and how it became Market Leader:

  • 1977Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, by introducing first the Apple I and then the Apple II.
  • 2007– Introduce iPhone in the market by launching Apple iPhone 3.5inch-diagonal screen, 4GB/8GB model, 2MP camera and 2G device.
  • 2008– In 2008, iPhone 3G launches having 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen, 2MP camera, 128MB Ram. 20.73 million iPhone 3G units sold worldwide.
  • 2009– iPhone 3GS launches.
  • 2013– Till 2013, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C and 5S were introduced.
  • 2015– By the year 2015, iPhone 6 variant (iPhone 6&6+ and iPhone6s&6s+) launched. 169.22 million units of iPhone 6&6+ and 231.22 million units of iPhone 6s&6s+ were sold. Market cap stood at $583.61 Billion by the end of 2015.
  • 2020: In Nov 13, 2020, iPhone 12 Pro Max launches. Market cap in 2020 stood at $2.256 Trillion.
  • 2021: Market Capitalisation in 2021 stands $2.3Trillion.

The market capitalisation of Apple in the year 2007 was $104 Billion which has now increased massively to $2.3 Trillion in 2021. Let’s find out the reason of this rise:

  • Apple’s iPhone technology has been innovative than Nokia and other smartphone companies till now.
  • Apple solved the wearable problems.
  • Offers great customer service and in-store experiences.
  • Keep things simple.
  • Apple stays at least two years ahead of its competitors.


Hope the article has helped in providing in-depth knowledge as to why Apple was superior to Nokia, by comparing both the companies respectively.


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