In the early 00s, Finland's two biggest industries were paper manufacturing and cell phones, led by the then-dominant Nokia. A decade later, both industries are in trouble — and as the country's prime minister suggested in a recent interview, Apple might be to blame in both cases. "One could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we'll make a comeback," Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told CNBC on Monday. "We just have to keep at it."
On Friday, Standard & Poors downgraded Finland's sovereign debt from AAA to AA+, indicating the country's industrial base may not be as stable as many had assumed. In large part, the downgrade was due to new sanctions against neighboring Russia, as well as Finland's aging population base, but the decline of two of the country's central industries certainly did not help. Despite a history of innovation, Nokia has struggled to maintain its market position in the face of the iPhone, facing dwindling US sales before being acquired by Microsoft earlier this year for $7.2 billion.