Nokia plans to return to the consumer mobile market in 2016

20 Apr 2015

Finnish mobile icon Nokia is planning to return to the mobile phone business in 2016 after a contract with Microsoft preventing it from doing so expires, it has been reported.

The company that once dominated the mobile phone industry sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft for just US$7.1bn after paying a harsh price for misjudging the threat of the Apple iPhone and the arrival of Android.

Under the terms of the deal with Microsoft, Nokia is barred from returning to making and selling mobile devices until the end of 2016.

It is also barred for a decade from making feature phone devices.

If Nokia does return to making smartphones it has a choice between Android and Tizen.

A Jolla piece of luck?

Nokia Technologies, the group that manages Nokia’s 10,000 patents, has previously released a tablet design called the N1, which it licensed to a manufacturer in China.

According to Re/Code’s Ina Fried, insiders are reporting that Nokia is ramping up its staff and is plotting new product designs and concepts.

But a further unexplored route could be through Jolla, a company founded by disgruntled former Nokia workers who were disgusted when Nokia ditched its primary OS and bended knee to Microsoft’s Windows Phone in 2011.

Jolla plans to turn its Sailfish OS into the world’s third biggest operating system and usurp Windows Phone.

From what we saw at Mobile World Congress this year, Sailfish OS is a fait accompli and Jolla proudly showed off its own Sailfish-powered tablet and smartphone devices at the event.

It might be likely that Nokia could license the Sailfish OS from Jolla to power future smart devices.

Another route could be via acquisition. Nokia is in acquisitive form lately having bought Alcatel-Lucent last week for US$15.6bn.

Nokia image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years