Nokia is down, but not out. The Finish telecom company has been planning a way forward after a stunning fall from grace (similar to that of BlackBerry) as consumers turned away from inexpensive cell phones to smartphones running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. And, like BlackBerry, Nokia said this week that it is planning to revive its phone business and is looking for a manufacturing partner.
The move follows a dramatic few weeks in which Microsoft threw in the towel on its efforts to make the company’s purchase of Nokia’s phone business into a viable venture. The $7.2 billion purchase, announced after then-CEO Steve Ballmer departed two years ago, flamed out recently when Microsoft announced that it was taking a $7.6 billion write-down on. That gut punch was followed by another: Microsoft announced that it was cutting 7,800 employees, most of whom were part of the Nokia business, from its roster.
Now, as CEO Satya Nadella is planning a path forward for the Windows Phone business at Microsoft, the Finnish Nokia is planning a comeback. The company has an agreement with Microsoft that will let it start using the Nokia brand name in the fourth quarter of 2016, so it appears to be lining up partners and is getting the word out that there is a future for Nokia phones.
This time around, Nokia said in a statement, the company will be focused on brand-licensing. “The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model,” a Nokia spokesperson said in a statement. “That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product. If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work close with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet.”
It’s good to see that Nokia is taking another stab at phones, but whether this will really turn into anything remains to be seen. Nokia could be just testing the waters. Either way, we likely won’t hear much more about Nokia’s phone plans until later next year.