Nokia buying its way into health wearables industry

26 Apr 2016

Finnish company Nokia is buying wearables expert Withings as it shifts towards the health tech world in bid to regain strength.

Nokia’s return to the top of the tech pile following its selling off of its phone operation to Microsoft two years ago – which hurt the latter a whole lot more – was never going to be an easy move.

It was also never going to be predictable. So, the move towards health from Nokia Technologies, which is a unit within the company separate to the larger body that primarily sells network equipment, is an interesting one.

Once valued at an amazing $320bn, that larger section is also in turmoil at the minute, cutting thousands of jobs after the Alcatel-Lucent purchase.

Nokia Technologies (based in the US largely) is a fairly forward-planning arm, though, with the likes of the $60,000 Ozo camera, a fairly big step into virtual reality (VR), just one example of its desire to get back into consumer products.

“We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, last July.

So, we presumed VR would be the primary focus, but, obviously, health technology is set to play a role.

“Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well-designed and already helping people live healthier lives,” said Haidamus, with €170m the acquisition price.

“Combining their award-winning products and talented people with the world-class expertise and innovation of Nokia Technologies uniquely positions us to lead the next wave of innovation in digital health.”

Nokia image via Pieter Beens/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic