Key Actors in the Mobile Telephone Industry: Feature Phone Years and the Rise of Nokia
Nagpal, P., Lyytinen, K. 2013. Key Actors in the Mobile Telephone Industry: Feature Phone Years and the Rise of Nokia. Review of Business Information Systems Fourth Quarter, Vol. 117, No. 4, 2013.
8 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 26, 2012
We use historical data to study the feature phone (as different from smart phone) years of the mobile phone industry. This study relates to the years 1994 to 2004, at a time when the industry grew to a landmark of one billion mobile phones cumulative sales worldwide. Actor Network Theory (ANT) is used as a lens to understand the key alliances between selected mobile phone companies and other actants. In line with ANT, actants include consortia, service providers, and IT vendors. The leading mobile phone companies -- Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola -- display a number of characteristics and actions that have implications for the current and future state of the market. The study demonstrates the explanatory power of ANT. It is important to understand the earlier years of the industry to understand its current state, particularly with reference to Nokia and Samsung. The notion of path dependence suggests that these actors continue to leverage, or be weighed down, by their strengths and weaknesses traced back in history to feature phone years.
Keywords: Mobile Phones, Strategy, Alliance, Actor Network Theory, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung
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