Nokia denies reports it is to re-enter mobile phone market

27 Apr 2015

Old Nokia phone, via Shutterstock

Nokia, the grandfather of the mobile phone, has denied recent reports that it would re-enter the consumer device market, despite its Microsoft agreement lapsing in 2016.

Under the terms of its sale to Microsoft for a bargain US$7.1bn a year ago, the Finnish company is unable to produce its brand phones until Q4 next year.

Rumours last month suggested that the former giant of the mobile phone world would step back into the fray and challenge its usurpers – Apple, Samsung etc…

The reports emerged on Re/Code, which claimed insiders close to Nokia’s plans had revealed a ramping up of staff and the plotting of new product designs and concepts.

Now, though, the company has made the unusual step to deny the story.

“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.”

Of course that doesn’t mean Nokia is standing still, with its acquisition of Alacatel Lucent for €15.6bn this month evidence that the company is still very much focused on the communications environment.

Also, given the success of Jolla – a smartphone company started by frustrated former Nokia staff that were unhappy with the sale to Microsoft – there’s always going to be a straightforward partner to get involved with, should it change its mind.

Other manufacturers licensing the Nokia name seems most likely at the moment, with the company also unable to release its own feature phones until the end of the decade, under the terms of the Microsoft sale.

Either way, we’ll never forget what Nokia did for us all.

Old Nokia phone, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic