Today I had the opportunity to present some preliminary research to professors at Francisco Marroquin University (UFM). Among other things, UFM has a great reputation for its openness and interest in evolutionary perspectives on markets.
The seminar concerned the decline of Nokia and its implications for theory development. The overall argument I brought forward is related to the introduction of smartphones and how Nokia’s struggle in recent years can be explained. Preliminary findings suggest that while smartphones were highly appreciated by consumers, operators were more skeptical as it would erode their position in the supply chain. Nokia was therefore put in an awkward position where they had to cater to demands of operators. Apple, on the other hand, was an entrant firm and could therefore push the introduction of smartphones. As consumers adopted it quickly, operators were now progressively forced to also do so, leaving Nokia behind.
The main theoretical implication of these findings is related to the observation that whether a technology is disruptive or not depends on which actor that is concerned. In the case of smartphones, it was disruptive to operators, but sustaining to consumers. Such heterogeneity in terms of incentives has largely been overlooked by existing theory on the topic.
The following discussion concerned Nokia’s decline and how markets can be conceptualized from an Austrian perspective. Strategic implications for universities dealing with the ongoing shift to online education were also covered.
Having heard that UFM has a unique culture, I was nevertheless overwhelmed by the hospitality, intellectual curiosity and friendly atmosphere surrounding the seminar. UFM is a fantastic institution.
For more information, see the slides below:
Nokia’s Decline and disruptive technologies