Demonstrate critical understanding and application of relevant theories associated
with global corporate policies and strategies.
2. Understand the holistic nature of strategy and apply analytical techniques to solve
complex problems in real life organizations
3. Demonstrate knowledge of the strategic decision making process through critical
analysis of how strategic decision making enables an organisation to relate to its
global business environment.
4. Critically evaluate and monitor the business mission, objectives and policies of
5. Use critical reflective skills to reflect on the impact of their understanding on the
problem solving process
Your task is to carry out a critical analysis and evaluation of the strategies adopted by the
case organisation, using the information provided and other materials researched. You
will be expected to select and apply appropriate theories, techniques and models studied
during the module whilst having regard to the practical aspects of strategy development.
Your assignment should be presented in a business report format and should be within the
range 3,500 ± 10% words (excluding executive summary, references and relevant
appendices). The report should include a title page and executive summary and be fully
and consistently referenced, using Harvard Referencing style. You must also submit a CD
Rom or DVD containing an electronic version of the report. This should be clearly
labelled with your name, your course and the name of the case study.
It is recommended that you research information additional to the case study to support
your arguments. This may be obtained from a diverse range of sources and you are
encouraged to research the issues in whichever way you deem appropriate.
This module will be assessed on the basis of this assignment. In the event of failing this
assignment, normal referral / deferral procedures will apply. This assignment carries a
weighting of 100%. The assessment will focus on the level of ANALYSIS carried out.
That is, the application of THEORETICAL CONCEPTS studied in the module to the
‘practical’ case study presented. In other words, you should proceed beyond a
DESCRIPTION of the company and it’s actions. You should be analysing ‘why’ rather
then describing ‘what’. The assignment will be assessed and moderated by two members
of staff in accordance with the marks allocated to each of the questions detailed below.
10% of the marks are set aside for the ‘presentation’ criteria.
ï‚· your ability to isolate the key strategic issues
ï‚· the coherence and depth of the analysis of those issues
ï‚· the ability to analyse the strategy context within which companies operates
ï‚· the ability to critically review and evaluate strategic decisions made by companies
ï‚· the use of relevant evidence, from material provided and personal research to support
any statements made
ï‚· the appropriateness of the methods used and theoretical models and frameworks
ï‚· the breadth and depth of research undertaken
Evaluation of data
ï‚· the ability to make sound recommendations or conclusions arising from the analysis
ï‚· the soundness of arguments put forward
ï‚· the summary of arguments
ï‚· report layout and format
ï‚· use of illustrative material and evidence to support arguments
ï‚· the appropriateness of length
ï‚· the quantity and accuracy of referencing
Nokia-Microsoft Alliance: Joining Forces in the
This case is about the strategic alliance between Finnish mobile handset major Nokia
Corporation and information technology behemoth Microsoft Corporation to compete in
the hypercompetitive smartphone market. Nokia faced severe competition from companies
like Apple, Inc. and Google, Inc. who entered the market for high-end smartphones after
2007. Analysts said Nokia's poor focus on software and the lack of the latest operating
system on its smartphones were the main reasons for its declining market share. Nokia's
board appointed a new CEO, Stephen Elop (Elop), who was a former executive at
Microsoft, to bring more of a focus on software. Soon after taking over as CEO of Nokia,
Elop sent out a memo to the employees emphasizing the need to bring about drastic changes
at the company.
In February 2011, Nokia announced the alliance with Microsoft in which Nokia would use
Microsoft's mobile OS Windows Phone on its smart phones. As per the deal, Windows
Phone would replace Symbian as the primary OS on Nokia's phones and Nokia would pay
royalties to Microsoft for using its OS. Microsoft would in turn provide support to Nokia
in selling its new Windows Phone powered smartphones. There were mixed reactions from
analysts to the alliance between Nokia and Microsoft. The challenge before the senior
management at Nokia and Microsoft was how to make the alliance work.
In October 2011, Nokia announced the launch of its Lumia 800 mobile phone. The Lumia
800 was Nokia's first mobile phone to be released with the Windows Phone mobile
Operating System (OS) of Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft). Nokia and Microsoft had
entered into a partnership in February 2011 whereby the Windows Phone would become
the primary operating system for Nokia's high-end smartphones. Nokia's partnership with
Microsoft was intended to help it face up to the heavy competition in the smartphone
segment from the newer entrants into the market. Nokia was a pioneer in the smartphone
business and held the majority share in the smartphone market till 2007.
But it started to face heavy competition from other players like Apple Inc. (Apple) and
Google Inc. (Google) which entered the high-end smartphone market after 2007. The new
mobile OSs of these companies like Android and iOS captured a large share of the highend
smartphone market. Nokia started to quickly lose market share. With much of the
hardware remaining the same, the OS used in the mobile phones and the number of
applications available for a mobile OS were the most important factors which differentiated
one smartphone manufacturer from the other. To ensure that there was more of a focus on
software, Nokia's board replaced its CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Stephen Elop (Elop)
in the year 2010. Elop had been the president of Microsoft's business division before being
appointed as Nokia's CEO. Soon after taking over as CEO, he wrote a memo to Nokia's
employees underlining the need for drastic changes in the company.
Elop took the important decision to replace Nokia's Symbian OS with Microsoft’s new
Windows Phone OS as the primary OS for Nokia's high-end smartphones. As per the deal
reached, Nokia would pay royalties to Microsoft for using its OS in its smartphones.
Microsoft paid Nokia US$1 billion for developing and promoting Windows Phone
smartphones. Under the deal, Nokia could continue to develop and use many important
applications like Nokia's own mapping software in its phones. News of the alliance
received mixed reactions from analysts and industry observers. Some analysts criticized
Nokia for its selection of Windows Phone instead of Android.
They wondered if Windows Phone had been chosen as Elop was more comfortable with
the culture of the company in which he had already worked. Elop responded to the criticism
saying that Android would not have permitted Nokia to differentiate itself in the market as
many other handset manufacturers used it. Nokia was also criticized for taking a risk in
selecting an OS which had not proved itself in the market and which came from a company
with a poor track record in the mobile phone business. Many industry experts believed that
Microsoft was the biggest beneficiary from the alliance. Microsoft had got the biggest
mobile phone manufacturer in the world to use its OS as its primary OS without even
formally acquiring it. Industry observers said it remained to be seen whether the alliance
would pay off and whether Nokia would be able to regain the foothold it had lost in the
smartphone business. According to Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight , "This is a clear
admission that Nokia's own-platform strategy has faltered. Microsoft is the big winner in
this deal, but there are no silver bullets for either company given the strength of iPhone and
Google's Android." The challenge before the senior management team at Nokia and
Microsoft was how to make the alliance work.
The first decade of the 21st century saw a sudden increase in the market for convergedfunction
smartphones. Convergence of technology refers to the coming together of various
technologies to work in a synchronized way and deliver better performance as well as offer
several new functions which were till then not available in mobile phones. The turn of the
century saw the mobile phone turning into an ultimate device of aspiration for consumers
around the world...
The origins of Nokia can be traced back to 1865, when an engineer called Knut Fredrik
Idestam (Idestam) established a wood-pulp mill in southern Finland to manufacture paper.
Idestam later named his business as Nokia Ab in 1871. The company also started an
electricity business in 1902.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates (Gates) and his friend Paul Allen in 1975. Microsoft
was started to develop a programming language called Altair BASIC, an improved version
of BASIC. In 1978, Microsoft introduced its own version of COBOL for personal
Problems at Nokia
Nokia, considered to be the pioneer in smartphones and a global leader in the mobile
phones market, started to face severe challenges to its dominance in the smartphone market
in 2007. The problems came mainly in the form of competition from the new mobile
operating systems that entered the market like iOS and Android. Nokia had started the
smartphone business and had been the leader since the release of its smartphone OS
Symbian in 1997. But the release of Apple's revolutionary mobile OS, iOS for mobile
phones in 2007 led to a decline in the sales of Nokia...
Shake up at Nokia
Nokia had another mobile OS called Maemo for its high-end smartphones. But in February
2010, it announced that Maemo would be merged with another mobile OS called Moblin
to create a new mobile OS called MeeGo. Moblin was another mobile OS developed by
Intel Corporation (Intel) to be used in smartphones. The MeeGo OS was still under
development with the first phone running on it due to be released into the market only by
the end of 2011. Nokia was running out of time as the rival mobile OSs like iOS and
Android were growing stronger...
In February 2011, Nokia announced an alliance with Microsoft. Under the agreement reached
with Microsoft, Symbian would be replaced by Windows Phone as the primary OS in all the
high-end smartphones made by Nokia. Nokia announced that it would also sideline its new
MeeGo OS in favor of Windows Phone. It announced the partnership to stop the decline in its
share of the global smartphone market. Commenting on the scope of the partnership with
Microsoft, Elop said, "Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem
with unrivalled global reach and scale. It's now a three-horse race"...
Will it Work?
There were mixed reactions to the deal between Nokia and Microsoft. Google responded to the
deal saying that there was no space for a third mobile platform to grow. Google also expressed
doubts on the alliance between the two companies. Commenting on the deal, Vic Gundrota,
Senior Vice-President of social business at Google said, "Two turkeys don't make an Eagle."
The biggest criticism regarding the deal was over the choice of Microsoft's Windows Phone
against some other alternatives available in the market. Some analysts said Google's Android
would have been a better choice for Nokia...
Nokia reserved the right to use any other OS of its choice in devices in the future. Elop said,
"We reserve the right to introduce tablets using other platforms, including ones we may be
working on internally." Some technology experts said this crucial clause in Nokia's deal with
Microsoft would enable Nokia to continue working on its other mobile OS like MeeGo. They
opined that Nokia could always switch to Android or its own MeeGo in case Windows Phone
failed in the market. But some analysts said that Nokia would face problems in juggling with
nearly three platforms at the same time. Magnus Rehle, managing director of Greenwich
Consulting , said, "Three platforms is a lot to work with. I'm not sure there is room for so many
"Limited data has been provided in the case. Data from the public space can be used for
analysis. Along with the analysis, provide the data sources and assumptions".
1. Analyze whether Nokia’s alliance with Microsoft will enable it to
recapture market share that it had lost.
2. Analyze the new strategies planned and implemented by Stephen Elop in
reviving the fortunes of Nokia.
3. According to you what should Nokia and Microsoft do to make the alliance
4. Do you think Nokia has taken the right decision to choose Windows Phone
instead of Android?