Phone business

10 companies that hung up on the mobile phone

As technology advances and competition intensifies in the mobile phone industry, many manufacturers who were once major players have either reduced their operations to reduce losses or exited the business altogether.

Some companies have chosen to focus on their core businesses while others have turned to emerging businesses such as electric vehicles and connected devices.

The National takes a look at 10 global companies that were once titans of the phone industry, but have gradually retreated from it.


Ontario-based Blackberry stopped making phones in 2016, nearly 16 years after it launched the Blackberry 957, its first phone. It licensed the brand and rights to Chinese manufacturer TCL and focused on software.

The company, which was famous among Qwerty keyboard devotees, saw sales decline as more consumers switched to touchscreen phones offered by Apple, Huawei and Samsung.

In August last year, it teamed up with Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile and Texas-based tech startup OnwardMobility with plans to re-enter the market. It plans to launch a 5G-enabled smartphone in the first half of this year.


Finnish company Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft in 2013, which the US tech company continued to operate under the Lumia brand. However, Nokia bought the company in 2016, before handing over management to Finnish HMD.

HMD has an exclusive 10-year license from Nokia to run its smartphone business. It is responsible for the design, research and development, manufacturing, sales and after-sales service of Nokia devices.

Finland HMD launched the Nokia 6 smartphone in January 2017. Reuters

HMD, which mainly focuses on affordable phones and regular software and security updates, has outsourced the manufacture of Nokia phones to third parties with facilities in Argentina, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India. .


South Korea’s LG Electronics, which announced its first phone in 2006, said it was winding down its loss-making mobile phone business in July to focus on emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, connected home devices and intelligent, robotics, artificial intelligence and business. to company equipment.

The LG G6 is one of LG's best smartphones, with a durable design and a display and camera system that's hard to beat.  Reuters

Its mobile business has racked up losses since the second quarter of 2015, and the division posted cumulative operating losses of nearly $4.5 billion during that time.

In 2013, it was the world’s third largest smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple.


Siemens Mobile entered the market in 1985 with the launch of Siemens Mobiltelefon C1.

After years of market dominance, the company began to cede market share to Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson. As competition intensified, its global market share fell from almost 10% in 2000 to just 5.5% in 2005.

Following declining sales, the Munich-based company sold its mobile business to electronics manufacturer BenQ in 2005. The latest Siemens-branded mobile phones were launched in the market in November 2005.

Ben Q

BenQ Mobile, a subsidiary of Taiwanese company BenQ, began selling phones under the BenQ-Siemens brand in 2005.

Despite a strong start, BenQ suffered losses worth $1 billion after acquiring Siemens Mobile. It filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and reportedly laid off nearly 2,000 employees.

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Ericsson Mobile was a subsidiary of Ericsson, based in Stockholm, with offices in different parts of Sweden and the United States. In 2000, it was the third seller of mobile phones with a market share of 11%, behind Nokia and Motorola.

It began to suffer losses due to supply chain issues and a fire at a Philips factory in 2000 which caused delays in the launch of the company’s new products. To minimize losses and balance its supply chain, Ericsson entered into a partnership with Sony in 2001.

However, in 2011 it sold its 50% stake in the joint venture to Sony for $1.2 billion, making the mobile phone business a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese company.

Ericsson said it decided to exit the market as the mobile phone industry was facing rapid change, with a strong focus on smartphones.


Paris-based Sagem manufactured budget phones between 1995 and 2000. They introduced the popular Porsche-designed devices to the market in 2009.

In 2011, the brand was renamed MobiWire and went bankrupt after a few months. He stopped making phones and turned to designing and manufacturing gadgets.


In 2000, Motorola was the second best-selling phone manufacturer after Nokia. It sold over 130 million units of its Razr line in 2005.

However, the company lost market share to emerging manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and LG. Its market share fell to 6% in 2009 from 23% in 2006.

In 2011, Nokia purchased Motorola’s wireless network infrastructure assets for $975 million. He sold them to Google for $12.5 billion a year later. The Alphabet-owned company then sold them to Lenovo for nearly $3 billion.


In 2012, Shenzhen-based electronics maker Gionee captured nearly 5% market share in China, the world’s biggest market for smartphones.

Founded in 2002, it sold its phones in different parts of Asia and North Africa. It went bankrupt in 2018 and was taken over by New Delhi-based Jaina Group, which makes Karbonn mobiles for low-income customers.


Introduced in 2011, Microsoft Lumia phones were originally designed and marketed by Nokia. They ran on Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile operating systems, which weren’t very popular among users.

Microsoft Lumia 640 launched March 2015. Courtesy of Microsoft

The company stopped making Lumia phones as sales dwindled. The latest Lumia smartphone, the Lumia 650, was launched in February 2016.

In 2017, Microsoft officially confirmed that it would no longer sell or manufacture new Windows 10 Mobile devices.