Case Study: Nokia-Microsoft Strategic Alliance: Joining forces in the Global Smartphone Industry, in De Wit and Meyer (PGBM16 – Global Corporate Strategy)


Case Study: Nokia-Microsoft Strategic Alliance: Joining forces in the Global Smartphone Industry, in De Wit and Meyer (PGBM16 – Global Corporate Strategy)


Get the full report solution HERE (Nokia Case Analysis – 3,700 words)


This individual assignment will be assessed by means of a 3,500 ± 10% word report. The assignment has been designed to allow you to develop and use your knowledge and skills in understanding key strategic issues relating to the Global Smartphone Industry. You will be required to apply the strategic concepts and analytical techniques studied in this module. All the learning outcomes below will be assessed:

  1. 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 international organisations.
  5. Use critical reflective skills to reflect on the impact of their understanding on the problem solving process.

The assignment will be internally moderated by: John Dixon-Dawson

Please note:

  1. All work must adhere to the University regulations on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’ which are provided as an Appendix in your Programme Handbook. You are encouraged to use ‘Harvard Referencing Style’ andavoid ‘Plagiarism’.
  2. A hard copy and an electronic copy on CD Rom or DVD of the assignment must be handed to the Library Services, St Peter’s Campus on or before the appointed date under cover of the Sunderland Business School (SBS) Feedback Sheet. Please include a Turnitin Report.
  3. Issue Date: 13 October 2014
  4. Submission Date: Friday, 23 January 2015

Case Description (Task)

Your task is to carry out a critical analysis and evaluation of the strategies adopted by global smartphone providers, 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/abstract, references and relevant appendices). The report should include a title page and abstract 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.

Assessment Criteria

In the event of failing this individual 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 its 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.

Academic Rigour

  • your ability to isolate the key strategic issues
  • the coherence and depth of the analysis of those issues
  • the ability to analyse the strategy context within which companies operates
  • the ability to critically review and evaluate strategic decisions made by companies


  • the use of relevant evidence, from material provided and personal research to support any statements made
  • the appropriateness of the methods used and theoretical models and frameworks applied
  • the breadth and depth of research undertaken

Evaluation of data

  • the ability to make sound recommendations or conclusions arising from the analysis
  • the soundness of arguments put forward


  • the summary of arguments
  • report layout and format
  • use of illustrative material and evidence to support arguments
  • the appropriateness of length
  • the quantity and accuracy of referencing

The Global Smartphone Industry:

The first decade of the 21st century saw a sudden increase in the market for converged-function smartphones. Convergence of technology refers to the coming together of various technologies to work in 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, providing opportunities for strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions within the smartphone industry, Nokia and Microsoft took advantage of these opportunities ( ; ; De Wit and Meyer, 2014).

Read the case study entitled “Nokia-Microsoft alliance: Joining forces in the smartphone wars” by Adapa Srinivasa Rao, cited in De Wit and Meyer (2014:712-722) Strategy: An International Perspective, and carry out appropriate analyses of the global corporate strategies adopted by Nokia and other world leading smartphone providers such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc., answer the questions below. You are encouraged to use relevant data/information from company websites.

Question One: Smartphone industry competitiveness

Using information from the case study, relevant data/information from Nokia and Microsoft company websites (; ):

  • 1(a) Critically evaluate the nature of the industry competition facing Nokia from new mobile operating systems entering the market e.g. iOS and Android (Refer to Exhibit 2 for competing platforms to Symbian). (10 marks)
  • 1(b) Using the information in Exhibits 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, discuss the impact of the global smartphone industry competition on Nokia’s smartphone market share and income from 2006 to 2010. (10 marks)

Get the full report solution HERE (Nokia Case Analysis – 3,700 words)

[20 % marks]

Question Two: Strategic alliances and global competitiveness

  • 2(a) Using relevant literature, carry out a critical assessment of the terms ‘strategic alliances’ (SAs) and ‘mergers and acquisitions’ (M&As) in the context of Nokia’s ambition to sustain its competitive advantage in the global smartphone market. [10 marks]
  • 2(b) Using information from the case study, discuss how Nokia’s alliance with Microsoft in February 2011 helped in stopping the decline in Nokia’s share of the global smartphone market. In your opinion was the ‘shake up at Nokia’ beneficial to the company’s employees? And why? [20 marks]

[30 % marks]

Question Three: Organizational culture, leadership and competitiveness

“We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times…We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally. Nokia our platform is burning.” Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia Corporation (De Wit and Meyer, 2014, page 719).

Using your understanding of organisational structure, culture, disruptive innovation and relevant management and leadership concepts, critique the above statement and evaluate the ability of Nokia’s CEO and senior management team to make current and future strategic alliances work more successfully.

[30 % marks]

Question Four: Personal reflections on learning

In 200-300 words reflect on the impact of this assessment on your understanding of the Global Smartphone industry competition, highlighting the key role of strategic alliances and corporate leadership in sustaining growth through innovation.

[10 % marks]

Note: 10% marks is allocated for overall presentation

Suggested Reading:

De Wit, B. and Meyer, R. (2014) Strategy, An International Perspective, 5th Edition, Cengage Learning.

De Wit, B. and Meyer, R. (2010) Strategy Process, Content, and Context International Perspective, 4th Edition, Cengage Learning.

Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. (2005) Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, 7th Edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Lynch, R. (2006) Corporate Strategy, Fourth Edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J. (1998) Strategy Safari, Financial Times Prentice Hall

Websites & PDF documents: Nokia Microsoft The Economist The Financial Times

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