Nokia Denies Smartphone Interest

by Matt Klassen on April 29, 2015

Despite persistent reports over the last few weeks that Nokia’s landmark acquisition of French telecom Alcatel-Lucent spells a likely return to the smartphone market for the Finnish company, Nokia has gone on record denying any interest in a return to its old stomping grounds.

Instead of simply ignoring speculation regarding Nokia’s mobile future, the company noted that this time around it seems that such rumours are based on false reporting, and it’s that false reporting, company spokesperson Brett Young explains, that is the only reason the company has responded.

“Market speculation is one thing — a daily occurrence, in fact,” Young said, “but a false report is another. Our longstanding policy is not to comment on market speculation.”

“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,” Nokia said in a statement posted on its website. “Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.” Of course we might take Nokia’s adamant denial a little more seriously if it didn’t include the word “currently,” almost certainly evidence that the company is hedging its bets.

While Nokia’s empathic denial likely would have had more clout had it not had included such a proviso for future mobile development, there are no shortage of analysts who have already voiced their displeasure with Nokia’s potential return to the mobile market.

The smartphone market “is ugly right now, and other than for Apple, Lenovo, ZTE and some other Chinese companies, everyone is hurting,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Going back into making smartphones “would represent an unknown risk for Nokia investors that would likely take its shares negative,” he told the E-Commerce Times. Further, given Nokia’s agreement with Microsoft, it would damage one of the most important relationships the company still has.

Despite Microsoft only owning Nokia’s naming rights in the mobile market until the end of 2015, should Nokia reenter the smartphone industry it would undoubtedly create significant market confusion, given that Microsoft’s acquired mobile brand Lumia still has a strong association with Nokia, and Microsoft would clearly not like its mobile brand have any association with Android, the platform Nokia would likely embrace.

That would mean that any efforts on Nokia’s part to reenter the mobile market, even after 2015, would likely be met with significant legal resistance from Microsoft. Further, given that Nokia sold its entire mobile division to Microsoft, the company really lacks any solid mobile infrastructure, even if its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent goes through.

All that to say, if Nokia does dabble in the mobile market again it will likely be through its subsidiaries or partners, with the Finnish company likely licensing its IP and perhaps ideas to other companies who then do the leg work.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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