Finland’s economy has been struggling for the last few years, and on Friday, Standard & Poor downgraded the country’s debt rating from AAA to AA+. But in an interview with CNBC on Monday, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb posited an explanation for the decline: Apple.
Stubb pointed out that two of Finland’s biggest industries, mobile innovation in Nokia and paper manufacturing/products, were hobbled by the success of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.
“We have two champions which went down,” he said. “A little bit paradoxically I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback.”
Phew, that’s rough. It doesn’t really seem like a paradox … but whatever, the man is clearly upset. Microsoft bought Nokia in April, and CNBC reports that the Finnish Forest Research Institute said there was a “poor situation” for the paper production business in 2013. Perhaps the trauma of layoffs at Rovio, the Finnish company behind the mobile game Angry Birds, was too fresh for Stubb to talk about.
Stubb put a brave face on though and added some positive comments. “Forest is coming back in terms of bio energy and other things. And actually a new Nokia is emerged in terms of (Nokia) Networks,” he said. “Usually what happens is that when you have dire times you get a lot of innovation and I think from the public sector our job is to create the platform for it.”
Hopefully he can make it happen before Apple is in the market for a country-sized, curved-glass campus headquarters.
Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.