Nokia Says Out of Phone Business for Good
Nokia Corp. said it has no plans to re-enter the mobile communications handset market, effectively curbing growing speculations the company intended to make smartphones in China with a contract manufacturer.
In an unusual response, Nokia issued a tersely-worded press statement stating clearly the reports about it intending to make smartphones were “false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive.”
Nokia sold its mobile handset business to Microsoft Corp. almost one year ago for $7.2 billion and has been reorganizing operations to focus on the networking equipment market. The company recently struck an agreement to pay nearly $17 billion for French telecom equipment rival Alcatel-Lucent SA. The deal is expected to improve Nokia’s competitive position in the sector against fellow European OEM Ericsson LM and other manufacturers in the United States and China.
Speculations about Nokia’s next move and possible foray back into the mobile handset market started growing after the company announced the Alcatel-Lucent acquisition. Reports said the company might get back into the handset market to complement its role as a vendor of networking equipment. Other reports said rather than re-enter the handset market as an OEM, Nokia could still play a role by designing the devices and selling the reference design to other manufacturers.
Nokia did not address the speculation regarding the development and sale of handset reference designs in its statement. It merely forcefully rejected the notion that it could start making smartphone and feature phones again for telecommunication service providers. “Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets,” the company said.