Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN)

A Chronology of Continuing Management Failure


Manfred Hoefle 



Despite being the size of a DAX-corporation, little is known about NSN. This is mainly due to its status as an equal joint-venture: a subsidiary of Nokia and Siemens, headquartered in Finland.

Only since huge job losses were announced in the fall of 2011 has there been a temporary uptake in interest by the media. However, such reporting was almost exclusively restricted to the planned job losses and possible site closures in Germany. The political response, namely by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, was to accuse the management of mistakes.

It is remarkable that this development attracts so little attention although, when compared to Schlecker (drug stores) and Opel (GM automobiles), it signals the virtual disappearance of a high-tech sector from Germany, the birthplace of telecommunications engineering; and the technological origins of Siemens. None of the observers in the relevant media predicted the demise of SNS and the communications sector in Germany, neither did they analyse it nor derive any lessons from it. The two shareholders (Nokia and Siemens) are only legally required to publish details of a secondary nature, and have shown little interest in publicizing the commercial circumstances.

This Thinkpiece aims to give a short but comprehensive description of the joint venture and, what is generally neglected, derive some lessons from the troubled and short existence of NSN.