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Samsung threatens Nokia in Finland with better sales and new research center

By Michael Mayday , May 30, 2013 07:56 AM EDT
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Nokia has seen better times. In the early 2000s, the Finnish company used to own a sizable chunk of the feature phone market. That is no longer the case. The company could also depend on the market sanctuary provided by its home country. That is no longer the case either.

And things are about to get worse for the Finnish company.

Samsung has announced it will soon open a new high-tech research and development facility in Espoo, Finland - home of Nokia. The facility is set to open on June 13, with a focus on advanced technologies.

"On June 13, 2013, we plan to open a new R&D center in Finland, which will be a branch of the Samsung Electronics R&D Institute UK (SRUK). This decision to establish our R&D presence in Northern Europe reflects the importance we place on the European market," Samsung said to ZDNet's Liam Tung.

Beyond that vague description, not much is known about the South Korean company's expansion plans. There are small details, like a job posting discovered by Engadget, which found the research hub will be named Samsung Electronics Research Institute (SERI). The institute will be Samsung's first headquarters in the Nordic region, according to The Next Web.

As Tung notes, SERI could be where Samsung is planning to develop its Tizen smartphone, a high-end device expected to be releases in August or September. Tizen will feature a custom Linux operating system, instead of Samsung's typical preference to the Android OS.

And things are looking worse for Nokia. Analysis firm International Data Corporation recently told The Wall Street Journal the analysis group has put the South Korean smartphone giant ahead of Nokia in the Finnish smartphone market. Currently, Samsung holds 36 percent of smartphone sales, whereas Nokia comes in at 33 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

That's a remarkable difference from 2012, when Nokia commanded a 48 percent share in its home market. At that time, Samsung held only 28 percent.

But nothing is ever set in stone, and Nokia's plans for a low-end feature phone for emerging markets could prove to be a very lucrative venture for the company.

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