The rumors are false. After recent reports in Chinese media claimed Nokia would be reentering the smartphone market by the end of 2016, the Finish manufacturer finally spoke out, informing that it has no such plans for the foreseeable future.
The company released a statement saying “Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China. These reports are false and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive. Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets”, effectively shutting down previous news that they would be licensing smartphone designs to Asian manufacturers, starting next year.
After selling its mobile phone unit to Microsoft in 2013, Nokia was temporarily forbidden to sell or manufacture phones under its brand name until the second half of 2016.
As one of the world’s biggest and best known phone manufacturers, rumors of a comeback were inevitable and it’s important to note the use of the word “currently” in the company’s statement as this could suggest they will eventually consider a return to the fast-growing and highly competitive handset market.
Since their deal with Microsoft, Nokia has primarily become a telecom-network equipment supplier. They still have a presence in the smartphone market with their mapping apps, Here Maps, however, they’ve recently confirmed they’re planning on selling these as well, with both Chinese and US companies interested in buying.
Though Nokia will not become a forgotten name anytime soon, it may be moving in a different direction. The company just acquired French networking equipment manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion, increasing its resources and transforming into a considerable rival for long-time industry leader Ericsson. They are interested in focusing on internet services, IP-based networks, 5G and cloud applications in particular.
Nokia has high hopes for the new partnership stating that “Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia have highly complementary portfolios and geographies, with particular strength in the United States, China, Europe and Asia-Pacific. They will also bring together the best of fixed and mobile broadband, IP routing, core networks, cloud applications and services”.
Tablets are another business venture Nokia is considering. Earlier this year, the company tested its brand appeal in today’s consumer market by licensing its brand on N1, a tablet computer. The tablet is engineered, manufactured and distributed by Foxconn and runs on Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android operating system.
Licensing deals will certainly be in Nokia’s future if they prove to be profitable. Sebastian Nystrom, former head of products at Nokia Technologies, briefly talked about the company’s N1 Android tablet saying “We wanted to start with something small that caters to our fans. There is room for better products out there”.
Once Nokia can start using its brand name without any restrictions, it could easily pursue other similar ventures.
Earlier this month, Nokia’s Chief Executive Rajeev Suri supported this belief, telling The Wall Street Journal “We have a very credible brand that’s known everywhere in the world. Why not monetize it again in a sensible way?”.
Image Source: cloudfront.net