Nokia Reported To Be Considering Return to Mobile Phone Market
Once the world's largest maker of mobile phones, Finland-based Nokia has seemed destined to all but disappear from that market in recent years. However, according to a report today on a niche technology news site, the company might be considering a re-entry into the mobile phone market within the year.
Nokia lost its leadership position in the mobile phone market to Samsung in 2012, and sold its devices and services business to Microsoft a year later. However, recent developments indicate the company might have further ambitions in that industry.
Last week, Nokia announced it planned to acquire Alcatel-Lucent in an all-stock, $16.6 billion deal that's set to close during the first half of 2016. It also revealed last week that it was immediately bringing on board a new chief technology officer, as well as an integration planning head charged with merging Nokia with Alcatel-Lucent.
'Not Going Away'
In an article published today on the niche technology site, Re/code, former Nokia executive Richard Kerris told writer Ina Fried that the company is actively working on a variety of new technologies.
"They have a lot of great stuff in development," Kerris said. "It gave me complete confidence that Nokia is a company that is not going away."
The sale of its mobile business to Microsoft left Nokia with three main divisions: Nokia Networks, its HERE mapping and location intelligence business and Nokia Technologies, which focuses on innovation and technology licensing.
In its Q4 2014 financial report, the company noted that its Nokia Technologies division had been investing in business activities that "target new and significant long-term growth opportunities, as well as increased activities related to anticipated and ongoing licensing cases."
Regaining Rights to Nokia Brand in 2016
Under the terms of its mobile business sale, Microsoft had just 18 months following the deal's close in which it could continue using the Nokia name on smartphones. It has 10 years in which it can use that brand name on lower-end feature phones acquired from Nokia.
The deal allows Nokia to begin using its brand name for mobile devices again starting in 2016.
Since the Microsoft sale, Nokia Technologies has launched an Android tablet -- the Nokia N1 -- which began being manufactured by an OEM partner for sale in China earlier this year. Future markets are expected to follow, according to the company's 2014 annual report.
Nokia Technologies last year also beta-launched an application called Z Launcher, which provides a redesigned home screen for Android smartphones and tablets based on a user's habits.
Innovation at Nokia Technologies will now be led by Guido Jouret, whose hiring as CTO was announced last week. Jouret was previously president of the global digital innovation lab at the renewable energy company Envision Energy, where he was in charge of development of the digital techology strategy and software for the "energy Internet."