Nokia dumped iPhone style handset in 2004

Nokia shot itself in the foot when it made its first iPhone-like smartphone in 2004 but didn’t put it into production.

The company missed the boat on being a market leader in the smartphone market, according to a former employee.

Nokia has struggled in the past few years and fallen behind the likes of Apple, which has earned its place at the top with the success of the iPhone. According to Ari Hakkarainen, a former marketing manager for Nokia, the firm created a prototype handset that had web-access and a large touchscreen display.

Hakkarainen told the New York Times that he had given a demonstration of the device in 2004, three years before the arrival of the Apple iPhone.

“It was very early days, and no one really knew anything about the touchscreen’s potential,” Hakkarainen told the paper. “And it was an expensive device to produce, so there was more risk involved for Nokia. So management did the usual. They killed it.”

Nokia also had the idea for selling apps through an online service in 2004 but didn’t follow through. 

This year hasn’t been a great for Nokia. In July it reported a 40 percent slump in second quarter profits as it struggled to cope with the top of the class in the smartphone market.

Earlier this month it announced it would dump CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and hired Microsoft business head Stephen Elop in a move to boost its sales and compete against Android and iPhone handsets. Do the words vicious circle ring a bell?