Nokia refuses to give up on its mobile business

The storied Nokia brand has hinted at a return to mobile, though only in partnership with a “world-class partner”

A marriage made in hell? Many have questioned whether Microsoft's purchasing of Nokia was for the best

Fresh from a $7.6bn writedown and 7,800 in additional job cuts, Microsoft’s Nokia has responded to media speculation about mobile devices and confirmed that it could re-enter the market using a brand-licensing model in the near future. In a statement, the Finnish company said that it was in the hunt for a “world-class partner” to take on the responsibilities for manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support, though stopped short of naming a potential suitor.

The Nokia deal, pushed through in a time when Steve Ballmer was in the top spot, has greatly impacted Microsoft’s performance

“That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy”, according to a spokesperson for Nokia technologies.

The company sold the entirety of its devices and services business to Microsoft in April of last year, including its manufacturing, marketing and channel distribution capabilities, which essentially stripped it of the ability to make and sell phones. “The Nokia that exists today remains focused on the connected world, through mobile network infrastructure, location and mapping services, and technology development and licensing”, according to the statement. “We also aim to continue bringing our iconic design capabilities and technology innovation to the mobile space, and in the form of amazing products people can someday hold in their hands. However, we’ll do it in a completely different way from before.”

The Nokia deal, pushed through in a time when Steve Ballmer was in the top spot, has greatly impacted Microsoft’s performance, and the setbacks – namely writedowns and job cuts – are due to the rapid rate at which the mobile market has evolved and the company’s inability to keep pace. Once the world’s leading cell phone maker, Nokia has been shunted aside by new market entrants Samsung, Apple and, in China, Xiaomi, with the company struggling to rediscover its household name status.

The Nokia brand has suffered a great deal in recent months and years, though the latest announcement shows that the company is not yet prepared to give up on its mobile business. “We will look for the right partner who can take on the heavy lifting and work closely with us to deliver a great product. As we agreed with Microsoft, the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016 – so it’s safe to say Nokia won’t be back (at least in phone form…) before then.”

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