The emphasis in 1992 was very clear: we would not be able to grow in the technology business unless we divested ourselves of the bulk of the paper, rubber and cable production businesses and used the cash to prioritize the development of technology.
In 1996, we ended up with telecom infrastructure and mobile phones. The year 1993 was a breaking point because we took the essential decision to focus on very few areas, essentially wireless. We took a view that the breaking down of trade barriers, together with the regulatory changes in telecom, changed the picture.
There was a discontinuity that presented growth opportunities in the wireless area. Our proposal before the board was that the growth opportunity was huge. The board gulped a little and said, ‘OK, that looks fine. But are you sure about the growth opportunity?’ We said, ‘Yes, we are.’ But they wanted a second opinion.
Boards are conservative, so we had an outside consultant to give a little bit of guidance, which confirmed our view. We were very confident that we were barking up the right tree. We were even surprised by how right we were.
In fact, the reality was even better.
Jorma Ollila is chairman and chief executive of Nokia