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Finland’s credit rating downgraded, and it’s all Apple’s fault, says Prime Minister

Ratings agency Standard & Poor has downgraded Finland’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, and its economic outlook from stable to negative – and it’s all Apple’s fault, according to Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb. Speaking to CNBC, he said:

“We have two champions which went down,” Alexander Stubb told CNBC Monday. As well as the technology firm Nokia, he explained that the paper industry in Finland had fallen on hard times […]

“A little bit paradoxically I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry.”

So nothing to do with Nokia – which once dominated the mobile phone industry – failing to notice that the market was changing, then, nor choosing the wrong platform when it finally did get into the smartphone business.

Stephen Elop, who took over as CEO in 2011, announced that Windows Phone – not Android – would be the company’s chosen platform. The result was a 40% drop in handset sales and a 92% fall in profits before Nokia sold what was left of its mobile phone division to Microsoft. Surprisingly, its attempts to attack Apple haven’t helped much …


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  1. monty72 - 8 years ago

    They so should have gone Android. They’ve made great phones for years but the way they ran Symbian was tragic. Every update was like your turn next Lars see what you can do.

  2. standardpull - 8 years ago

    There is some truth to his statement – Apple has revolutionized the industry, and a lot of the other players lost out. I was a pretty huge Nokia fan for almost a decade – Nokia revolutionized the 2G cell phone and started to go down the path of the modern smartphone. And then Nokia stopped to pay way too much attention to Blackberry.

    In the mean time Apple bet on something quite different – and continues to lead the industry with the most capable, highest quality devices available. Nokia ended up retracting into the low-end market, and then punting to Microsoft. Blackberry, of course, is all but gone. The CEO of Nokia was just completely caught off guard, just as Blackberry was, and neither knew what to do.

    But the damage continues – even Samsung, who fired up some decent early clones of the iPhone – is seeing its Smartphone market bleed away (sales down, profits down, stock down, and nothing good in the pipeline).

    I personally feel that Motorola may have the opportunity to reinvent itself here. After a good run at the 2G cell phone market, they very much dropped the ball. But it is pretty clear that Motorola is back on the trajectory to be a serious player in the low-end market.

    • WAMBO - 8 years ago

      The first iPhone was released in June of 1997. It’s now October of 2014. To say companies were caught off guard would be appropriate 5 or 7 years ago. They had over 7 yrs to catch up, which is plenty of time. Just look at Samsung’s model evolution. Samsung needs to raise prices.
      Paper has been on it’s way out for over a decade. Finland needs to wake up.
      MS tablets would have become quite common if MS didn’t try to squeeze every nickle out of each service, then abandon products, and the consumers that bought them. You know more about that stuff than me, but I think that the iTunes store was not making a profit when it was first created, or at least think I remember Steve J saying that. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • standardpull - 8 years ago

        Yes, Apple released the iPhone 7 years ago, but most cell phone manufacturers ignored it for several years. Remember all the industry leaders that said the iPhone wasn’t a realistic product? All of those CEOs truly believed what they were saying. They were incredibly wrong. After a couple of years their marketshare bottomed out and they still had nothing in the pipeline. They were never able to recover.

        The “dumb phone only” leaders were able to see the light of the iPhone: HTC, Samsung, LG, and Motorola ended up way better off than those that had something that looked like a smartphone (Nokia, Blackberry, Palm, Sony, Sharp).

        Now the market changes again, and more of the smartphone industry is being weeded out. HTC and Samsung have all but collapsed, and they need to immediately fix their product roadmap or end up like Blackberry and Nokia. But now that HTC and Samsung are “mature”, my bet is that they won’t be able to fix their failures and will continue to slide towards the abyss.

  3. iSRS - 8 years ago

    While the quotes are indeed said, the PM states that dire times often pushes innovation. And that Nokia is now focusing on networking, and the foresting industry is taking it’s reliance on the paper industry and moving toward bio-energy. But the bigger issue is that as a nation, they need more than just two to base the health of the nation on. And the words right after “iPad killed the Finnish paper industry” are “BUT WE WILL MAKE A COMEBACK”

    Then he was asked if Finland was willing to give up it’s fiscal prudence in order to “help do it’s part” to help the overall EU growth, be willing to take further downgrades to “do it’s bit” to help the EU.

    “ABSOLUTLY NOT” and goes on to explain the triple crisis. (Financial Crisis caused the Debt Crisis which caused the Growth crisis). They’ve been trying to grow on the basis of debt, they, aren’t seeing the results they want, so it would be very difficult for him to pump MORE public money into the system. They need structural reform at home. And this is the best part. THE PUBLIC SECTOR DOES NOT CREATE GROWTH. IT IS THE ENTERPRISES THAT DO.

    In other words, his country, and the companies that largely dictated the health of the country, didn’t adapt. And they need to focus on Finland and how to turn that around.

    I like this guy.

  4. philboogie - 8 years ago

    No Mr. Stubb, it is not Apple’s fault. The lack of innovation from Nokia could be blamed, though personally I would want to point any fingers here and rather try to keep the economics going in my country if I were you.

    • iSRS - 8 years ago

      In watching the video, you can see that the PM means what the introduction of the iPhone and the iPad meant to the markets, not specifically the devices themselves, implying that it was the failures of the companies to react.

  5. He should blame Stephen “The Trojan Horse” Elop for Finland’s economic woes.

  6. I guess Microsoft did what it needed to acquire Nokia for the smallest price possible.

  7. WAMBO - 8 years ago

    Whaaaaaa! We overspend and sell crappy products, so it’s Apple’s fault that our credit was downgraded! He oughta know that few people want to buy crappy products.

  8. Yes Nokia was wildly popular at one time, but success is always a moving target. Anyone who thinks they’ve “arrived” or has achieved success is kidding themselves, as Nokia/Blackberry learned very painfully.

  9. Greetings from Finland. I think iPhone and iPad are here more words explain things than actual brands.

    • iSRS - 8 years ago

      I agree, Ville. Not the brand specifically, though iPhone/iPad did usher in the changing tide

  10. Laughing_Boy48 - 8 years ago

    He needs to wake up and smell the olut. I know it’s become common practice to blame Apple for all the ills of this world, but he should really keep his mouth shut if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The iPhone came out in 2007 and the country has had plenty of time to find ways to make money. It’s a beautiful country so maybe they should have become some prime tourist attraction or something. People need to stop blaming Apple for everything. Google’s Android has about 85% smartphone world market share so if anyone is to blame it’s Google. The iPhone’s worldwide 11% market share is almost nothing worth talking about. Wall Street claims Apple’s iPhone is a sales failure and they’re always pushing Android as some perfect smartphone platform, so I really think Google and Android should take the entire blame of Finland’s economy if any one company has to be blamed. Back around 2010 everyone was saying that Nokia smartphones had the most features money could buy and the iPhone was weak, so I don’t know when the iPhone put Nokia out of business. Maybe whoever worked on Symbian should take the blame because that OS sucked hard by burying access to hardware features so deep, no one could ever find them.

  11. Chuck Fisher - 8 years ago

    Finnish Prime Minister Andrew Stubb said: “Many people think that when you’re in a right-wing party, your values are then automatically [centred on] home, religion and fatherland. That is not the case.”

    To blame your country’s problems on “foreigners” or foreign entities is a text-book example of “tribalism”. This is commonly used to “scapegoat” or blame others for one’s problems rather looking towards solutions that might mean one needs to modify their plans.

  12. Wow, to think that in this day&age, there can be minister, so naive.
    To blame Apple for your lack of skills in the phone industry is completely retarded.
    I used to like Nokia and used their phones, they were the best in the early years.
    But failure to catch up to the iPhone was a tragic mistake and then to sell it to Microsoft was even worse.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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