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March 20, 1988

AMBITIOUS NOKIA LOOKS TO DOMINATE EUROPEAN COMPUTER MARKET BY 1992

By CBR Staff Writer

Not eveyone appears to agree with Nixdorf on the importance of integration between data processing and telecommunications activities – Claes Nordwall, vice-president of Nokia Data AB of Stockholm, speaking at Hannover, said that although in the late 1970s people thought that the two would merge, the increasingly standardised approach to integration now meant that it was not a must to work in both fields. The company was formed earlier this year (CI No 851) from the sale of L M Ericsson AB’s ailing Data Systems Division to Finland’s largest private sector company, Nokia Oy, and its merger with Nokia’s Data Systems Division has resulted in the seventh largest European computer company, with 8,000 employees and net sales of around SKr7,000m about $1,250m. But despite the fact that Ericsson’s major profits came from its (now separated) telecommunications business, Nordwall is predicting rapid growth for Nokia Data over the next four years, saying that the company will be the largest in Europe by 1992, and that the proportion of Scandinavian business, currently accounting for two thirds of the overall operation, will by then be reduced to one third. 1988 is a platform year, and we will begin consolidating business in Germany, and start merging activities. Next on the list is France, Spain and the UK, but Nokia will not look at US business until we have achieved dominance in Europe. The former Nokia business largely concentrated on workstations and point-of -ale terminals, and the Ericsson range also includes small business systems and minicomputers. The aim now is to scale up from terminals to MS-DOS workstations, backed up by minicomputers and technical workstations, which are likely to be bought in from other manufacturers (there is an existing agreement with Sun Microsystems). These would support industry standards such as Unix, said Nordwall, who also confirmed that Ericsson’s X/Open membership had been transferred to Nokia. Current product lines will be continued until the end of their economic life. Nokia is expecting 1988 sales to grow by about 5% over 1987 figures. The merger, which results in 80% of Nokia Data’s share capital held by OY Nokia AB with L M Ericsson AB retaining 20%, becomes legally effective March 31.

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