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« USA Election Update for mid-May: The Summer Doldrums for Trump and Hillary | Main | Just heard the news, hold on am on trip gotta board plane.. ie Nokia return via Foxconn »

May 16, 2016



There is the "Obamaphone".
This would be perfect as the "HillaryPhone"

Abdul Muis


I thought you previously said that Microsoft only own the license of Nokia brand for dumbphone/featurephone, thus nokia will enter the smartphone business this year.

Wayne Borean

Slightly off-topic, but this came up in my feed today - apparently the US FCC is investigating why Android software updates take so long to reach end users (if updates happen at all).

Wayne Borean

On-topic I agree with Tomi. Any business which has a loss making unit where there seems to be no way to make the unit profitable will want to sell that unit. Of course that doesn't apply when corporate pride or management pride is at stake.

There is no way that Stevr Ballmer would sell the Nokia-Lumia-Windows Phone unit. Nadella doesn't have an emotional investment in Nokia-Lumia-Windows Phone. It would make sense to get money back for the shareholders by making a sale, rather than having to pay the costs of shutting the unit down.

There are several possible deal breakers for any possible buyer:

1) Microsoft may have been holding out for a commitment to continue manufacture and sale of Lumia Windows Phone units

2) Microsoft may not be willing to sell certain parts of the business

3) Microsoft may be over-valuing the business

4) Microsoft may not be willing to part with the Nokia name

5) Microsoft may be requiring the installation of Microsoft software on phones (I'm thinking mostly of Office and Bing but it is possible Microsoft has something in-house that they were working on that we do not know about which the company would otherwise have to write off)

Currently the Nokia-Lumia-Windows business effectively has a negative worth. To make it into a profitable business changes would have to be made. Mobile is not my specialty, so I'm going to go with Tomi's suggestions that getting rid of Windows Phone would be a necessity.

But going Android might not bring enough of an advantage for Nokia as a purchaser. While it would work for Foxconn, who would likely aim at the lower to middle parts of the mobile market, Nokia had always covered the entire market range, and built some incredibly attractive high end units.

It would make sense for Nokia, if the firm was really interested in the purchase, to also have been talking to Jolla (Sailfish) with the aim of once again having a Nokia OS instead of using Android, but making the OS capable of using Android apps. Microsoft had already been working on a project to make Android (and IOS) apps run on Windows Phone. Extending it to Meego/Maeomi/Sailfish would not be trivial, but it would not be an enormous challenge either. Add in the possibility of making it Symbian app compliant (I'm not sure if there is a market for this) and it could bring in other partners such as the Japanese mobile OEMs.

This is all speculation. Nokia was an extremely popular brand at one time. Resurrection of the brand could make good business sense, under the right circumstances. It would be far more valuable to Nokia than to Foxconn, but the devil is in the details.

Don't forget that Ballmer still owns a lot of Microsoft stock, as does his buddy BillG. Any deal that makes him look bad might get panned by certain large shareholders.

Any deal which weakens Microsoft's already weak position in mobile might also get panned. Microsoft is dealing with market share erosion, the very thing that Bill Gates feared when Microsoft was using the anti-competitive tactics which lead up to the consent agreement (the information including full sets of Microsoft internal emails is online in several places, if anyone wants the links, ask).

Just because Microsoft is effectively dead in the mobile OS market doesn't mean that the company won't try to hold onto the small slice it has left. It wouldn't be logical, but companies aren't always logical. Nadella may not have total control, we don't know what his contract says.


I guess that Microsoft selling back the rest of ex-Nokia business sounds nice but I am pretty sure that Microsoft does not want to see that in a near future the Nokia and and ex-Nokia would start to do very well by selling non-Windows phones. I guess that Microsoft's goal here is to hide any trace that it has ever been in smartphone business such that nobody will remember anything in 10 years from now.


Nice rambling. Only problem is Microsoft cannot sell to Foxconn the right to build a Nokia smartphone. Why? Because only Nokia can do that.

Microsoft might sell to Foxconn the right to build a Nokia featurephone. Why the hell would Foxconn want that?!

The only thing Microsoft CAN sell to Foxconn is the Lumia and/or Asha brand. Again, why would Foxconn want that?!


Hi Tomi, I thought this rumour was regarding only dumbphones, as it is what MS has license for many years, but not smartphones, which license is expiring this/next year.
So, wouldn't make more sense if is Nokia who transfers that license to Foxconn once it expires this/next year to Microsoft, what in fact has also been rumored before?


This time I must disagree with Tomi on almost all important points.

1) I very much doubt that Nokia will ever return to smartphones -- a market that is saturating, the high-end in the clutches of Apple and Samsung, the mid-range a bloody battlefield, and the entry-level requiring _extremely_ fine-tuned, large scale logistics -- which withered away with the closure of the former Nokia production facilities.

Besides, with all firings, the largest part of the previous Nokia organizational knowledge around mobile phones is gone for ever.

2) I do not see much success for Foxconn licensing the Nokia brand. The Nokia N tablet barely made a ripple and disappeared without successor. Which demonstrates that brand and production facilities are useless without a very strong marketing and sales arm -- which Foxconn is sorely lacking.

A similar fate awaits hypothetical Nokia-NG smartphones.

3) The roadmap sketched by Tomi contains a contradiction: those people in emerging markets that still buy or hold onto Nokia smartphones represent the 10$ to 50$ per device market; a 150$-300$ smartphone is way too pricey for them.

If Foxconn follows the strategy proposed by Tomi, Foxconn will be unable to win over those Nokia-loyal customers, and find itself in the murderous battlefield for mid-range devices against all its other Chinese competitors.

4) There may well be another kind of player interested in the Nokia brand _and_ remaining production facilities: Indian manufacturers -- which are trying to break out, _and_ can expect some help from their government.


@Santiago: The license for using Nokia on smartphones expired at the end of 2015, last year.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Nokia brand for smartphones is back to Nokia. That's why many people preached Nokia returning to the smartphone business in 2016.

Leroy Andersen

A sad end for the No-Win phone.


I understand Microsoft can't use Nokia brand on smartphones (they had to remove "Nokia" label on Lumia); they can only use Nokia brand on featurephones and dumbphones, both now with collapsing sales.

So, who bought Microsoft rights on Nokia name and/or mobile division, won't can use Nokia brand for smartphones, only in featurephones and dumbphones.

The only one who now (or in a near future) can use Nokia brand in smartphones is NOKIA.


Yes, I stayed one year back in time! Haha
What I was really meaning is: How could MS transfer Foxconn a license for Nokia branded smartphones if its not theirs (MS) anymore?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

On the licence(s). I have an understanding and recollection from contemporary reporting, that Microsoft bought the rights to Nokia phones overall for 10 years, but it was exclusive only on the dumbphone side until 2024 and only until 2016 on the smartphone side. So Nokia the brand could come back on smartphones at the end of this year, but even then Nokia was only allowed a limited return ie to licence the brand but not manufacture and sell its own smartphones for many more years, probably till 2024.

If I am correct, then Microsoft could sell on the licence to the Nokia brand which then would not be on an exclusive basis anymore, on the smartphone side - the part that would interest Foxconn - and also the dumbphone side which should not interest Foxconn at all. I would guess, judging by Microsoft 'DNA' that they keep insisting on a 'licence fee' out of every phone sold. If that was part of the package to try to sell the Nokia unit back to Nokia, Nokia would always say no to it. They want it all back at one payment and no residual licence fees ever again to Microsoft. If so, the Microsoft DNA would then prefer to go find 'anyone' else who would pay 'whatever tiniest licence' per phone - even if its 10 cents per phone - rather than abandon that part. This may have been what broke the negotiations between Nokia and Microsoft (if such negotiations ever even existed, and if they now have ended). Then if Foxconn had initially suggested they 'might' be willing to pay some licence - that would get Microsoft interested, then Foxconn would try to worm out of it, especially if Microsoft initially said they were negotiating with others too (ie Nokia) and suddenly Nokia is no longer in the picture haha...

On why Microsoft ended the Nokia branding and went only for 'Microsoft Lumia' - I believe that was just prudent strategy as Nokia was signalling it will be returning to smartphones. As Microsoft is a big global established brand and the partnership with Nokia was over, then there is no sense in continuing ANY brand-building of Nokia and as soon as possible Microsoft should shift to its 'owned' brands including Lumia. Meanwhile, NOKIA doesn't want Microsoft messing with ITS brand so Nokia has had an incentive to 'maximize' the image of its intent to return to smartphones, simply to scare Microsoft away from the Nokia brand onto the Lumia brand as soon as possible..

Now. If the contract between Nokia and Microsoft said for example, that the Nokia brand cannot be sold or licenced onwards, then this is a moot point and the rumor from China is mistaken (on that point). If the rights are only for the dumbphone part, then it really can not be worth more than a pittance, couple of dozen million dollars at best. Why would Foxconn want to ever bother to get into managing a brand, as the industry is nearing the completion of the shift to smartphones - and that is where all the profits are. They'd be really dumb to buy the rights only to the dumbphone-side of the Nokia brand.

Again, its all speculation but it may get interesting in the coming weeks and months. Lets keep an eye on the Microsoft DEAD Lumia unit and the doomed future of the smartphone side of the Windows 1x OS platform.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I have to wonder:

After 5 years of Microsoft thoroughly messing up the Nokia brand and a few years more of Nokia failing to understand the smartphone revolution, does anyone really believe that the brand name can make a comeback? Even before the Microsoft deal they already were the target of some intense ridicule because their phones were so outdated.

Also, are some people really believing that they need a different, incompatible ecosystem. I think that train has left many, many years ago. This would fail right from the start because the app developers do not care - they already have enough work with two OSs that are almost mutually incompatible.
And even if Nokia could convince the carriers, it would not help. Customers are not that stupid - they either want Apple or Android, not some weird hot pick of the day that will be forgotten 6 months down the line. As long as a carrier also has Apple and Android on offer, nobody will care about a third option - just look at Microsoft's numbers. They were able to get a few measly percents of market share for all their marketing push, but now that they reduced that effort, the numbers are tumbling down the abyss, the only thing preventing them from deadlining are the hardcore fans of their OS that refuse to see the writing on the wall.


The strange thing is that I am seeing adds for Lumia again in the Netherlands.

I do not know whether this is a stock clearance sale or yet another attempt to raise WP from the dead.


MS has just confirmed the deal - as announced here:

Oddly your comments do not mention Sharp.. if Terry can get the shareholders to approve his offer, AGM will be held here in June, that move would add an interesting angle.

Maybe we'll see some new hybrid smart-droid-flips, like this 3rd party design, making their way into global markets.. 8-)



It's official, Nokia is going to make phones again. Undoubtedly in the Nokia owned factories of high quality like Tomi has preached. Interesting thing is they actually bought the dumbphone unit back from Microsoft.


And the rumors that Microsoft will kill Lumia are getting stronger.
How about a nice funeral ceremony for Lumia?

Abdul Muis

I still don't 100% understand the nokia-foxcon-microsoft deal.

Is it a 3-way deal. microsoft sell to foxcon the nokia brand, so that foxcon can license from nokia the smartphone manufacturing capacity?



Nokia is not going to produce phones again -- it will just license brands and IPR. That's it.

My contention was that Nokia will not try to re-enter the market of mobile handsets -- because of the cut-throat competition, and the irremediable loss of once world-top competencies during the Elop reign.

HMD will take the commercial risks (sales), Foxconn/FIH the industrial ones (design and manufacturing). Nokia does not take any risk:

"Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD. Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation."

Besides, Nokia will not own any factory whatsoever -- the former Nokia Vietnam plant is taken over by Foxconn.

The risks of Foxconn and HMD are cushioned in so far as they continue to produce and sell the appreciated Nokia feature phones -- a declining, but profitable business.

I expect the HMD/FIH setup to become some kind of large-scale Jolla business -- nothing that will upturn the mobile device market.

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