Nokia Seeking Lost Mojo By Designing, Licensing Smartphones In Late 2016

A familiar face is returning to the smartphone scene. After selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014, Nokia plans to get back in the game in late 2016 when its agreement with the Redmond outfit expires. However, Nokia won't get back to building handsets and will instead design the hardware and license its brand to other companies.

"We will look for suitable partners," Nokia boss Rajeev Suri said. "Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license."


As part of its sales agreement with Microsoft, Nokia is prohibited from slapping its name on phones until the fourth quarter of 2016. While Nokia would be allowed to build and sell its own phones at that time, it's a strategy that didn't work out so well for the Finnish company the first time around, especially after it went all-in with Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

Nevertheless, Nokia seems itching to get its name out there on mobile device. Just a few months after the sale to Microsoft, Nokia tested the strategy of licensing its design and brand with the N1, an Android tablet designed by Nokia that was licensed to Foxconn for manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is looking to erase all memories of Nokia. One of the last pieces to the Nokia era is Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO who joined Microsoft after the sale. Elop is one of several high level executives who are leaving the company amid a restructuring effort.