More reports on: Telecom

Nokia looking to make a comeback in mobile phones

20 June 2015

After selling off Nokia Mobility, its handset business to Microsoft last year, the Finnish company is officially looking to reenter the mobile segment, but with partners.

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri reportedly told the German website Manager Magazin that his company was looking for "suitable partners" to help with the effort.

Suri's comments are not surprising, given that rumours about Nokia's mobile ambitions had been doing the rounds for months.

In April, Re/code reported that the firm was looking to return to the space, but did not want to recreate the division it sold to Microsoft.

The idea was Nokia would handle the design but allow partners to deal with manufacturing, sales, and distribution. That indeed seemed to be the plan, based on Suri's recent comments.

"Microsoft manufactures mobile phones, we would only design and make the brand name," Suri said, according to a translated version of the Manager Magazin report.

However, not much could be expected in the coming months, given that the Microsoft deal barred the company from selling phones until the end of 2015, and from licensing until Q3 2016.

Nokia Technologies president Ramzi Haidamus said there was value in designing and licensing handsets.

Before its rapid decline, Nokia was the largest handset maker in the world and like other once-dominant companies including BlackBerry and Palm, Nokia failed to adjust to the post-iPhone environment.

It did change course, but made a bad bet by exclusively producing Windows Phones. But Nokia had always been known for its quality designs. According to commentators, the licensing plan gave Nokia a chance to play to its strengths.

Even though the bulk of that design talent was no longer with the company, the division that would work on new smartphones, was said to be working on some great new ideas.

Even as Nokia was planning to make a comeback as a handset designer, it also appeared to have given up its own platform.

In April, when Nokia announced its intention to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.5 billion (See: Nokia to acquire Alcatel-Lucent in $16.6-bn stock deal), it also said it might sell  off its Here mapping business.

According to commentators, a solid map platform such as Here would form a key part of any smartphone platform, which required features such as location support for third-party apps and built-in navigation.


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