NOKIA HAS CONFIRMED that it will return to the mobile phone market, probably fuelled by Microsoft's announcement that it will cut nearly 8,000 jobs from its smartphone division.
Nokia has said that it will commence such work only when a binding agreement with Microsoft ends, and when a new relationship is made. However, the company noted that "it's complicated".
Robert Morlino, a spokesman for Nokia Technologies, said in a blog post: "It's not surprising that today the question comes up all the time: will Nokia return to mobile devices? The answer is: it's complicated.
"If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet.
"That's the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy."
Nokia is unlikely to release any new mobile phones any time soon, however, and Morlino points to a late 2016 return.
"We will look for the right partner who can take on the heavy lifting and work closely with us to deliver a great product. As we agreed with Microsoft, the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016, so it's safe to say Nokia won't be back (at least in phone form) before then," he said.
This follows previous comments from Nokia chief Rajeev Suri, who hinted at the firm's intentions to make a comeback in the market. Suri expanded on previous hints that the days of Nokia Mobile aren't over during an interview with German publication Manager Magazin.
"Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license," he said, expressing a desire to seek out suitable partners.
These comments came as former Nokia Mobile boss Stephen Elop, who went to Microsoft to head up the phone division, was dethroned last week.
Microsoft OS boss Terry Myerson will now take direct control of all the things in a new division called the Windows and Devices Group.
The purchase of a hardware business hasn't gone well for Microsoft. Last week the firm announced the culling of a 7,800 roles from its Nokia division, in addition to the 18,000 Microsoft cuts already made last year.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: "We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family.
"In the near term, we'll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility." µ
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