Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Handhelds

Nokia Wants To Make Phones Again 111

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia has indicated that it's interested in returning to the phone-making business. In a post on the company's website, spokesman Robert Morlino explains that although they sold their devices business to Microsoft last year, they're still interested in the phone industry. They're not capable of building their own devices, and it looks unlikely that they'll be able to build a new hardware section in a reasonable time frame. Instead, they're looking for a partner to build the actual phones (and support them). Nokia would contribute design and branding. All that said, their deal with Microsoft prevents them from getting back into the phone business until Q4 2016, so we won't be seeing Nokia phones soon either way.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nokia Wants To Make Phones Again

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:25AM (#50116831)

    ...it will be difficult for them to restart, since they're already finnish.

  • By 2017 the brand name of Nokia will probably have as much worth as the IBM Simon does to cell phone consumers.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:29AM (#50116863) Homepage

      Yeah, the gutting of Nokia in terms of phones is pretty complete.

      Microsoft has succeeded in knocking them out of the market, getting their IP, and sending them on their way.

      I still can't decide if this was a brilliant strategy by Microsoft which worked, or a completely inept attempt to expand their competencies in cell phones.

      Either way, Nokia and its shareholders seem to have gotten royally screwed in the process.

      • I still can't decide if this was a brilliant strategy by Microsoft which worked, or a completely inept attempt to expand their competencies in cell phones.

        I think both things were in the plan; the fallback for the inept attempt was to at least crush Nokia.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          Could you be more of a moron and reflexive bigot, or have you finally found some limits?

          There is absolutely no reason for MS to "crush" Nokia. They never competed. At anything. And Nokia was the only manufacturer that would agree to produce Windows Phone devices exclusively.

          • Could you be more of a moron and reflexive bigot,

            Yes.

            or have you finally found some limits?

            I shall call the new upper bound for the limit of Slashdot idiocy "Dog-Cow"

            There is absolutely no reason for MS to "crush" Nokia.

            Really? You can't think of one? You're even dumber than I thought. And I didn't ever think of you before, and I probably won't again.

          • I think Microsoft knew they could never compete in the space long-term but wanted a big patent pool tied intimately to the phone industry. Their money-making strategy in the phone space was not to get Windows to actually be competitive. It was to sue and settle for royalties against all those Android phone makers.

      • Nokia and its shareholders seem to have gotten royally screwed in the process.

        I'm not so sure. Nokia's phone business was not doing so well, they gave up a loss making division that was rapidly losing any prospect of becoming competitive in return for $7 billion. I think people that say this don't realise how much of Nokia is still left (back end networking/telecoms equipment, mapping data (HERE) and miscellaneous ("Nokia technologies")), or how their failing devices business could have dragged the rest of the company under.

        • I'm not so sure. Nokia's phone business was not doing so well, they gave up a loss making division that was rapidly losing any prospect of becoming competitive in return for $7 billion.

          So it's going to be easier for them to build a new phone division than to cut the dead weight out of the old one?

          • If you could sell your manufacturing etc capability for $7B and then move back in in a very lightweight way, the answer would probably be "yes". I do not really think Nokia should be going back into phones but if they can license the brand in this way, why not.

          • It might be, if they're switching to Asian manufacturing. If they sold all the employees they'd otherwise need to fire to Microsoft, then they don't get so much political backlash as they might by shutting down their own manufacturing and firing those people before outsourcing. I've read that one thing that made it hard for them to compete was that their in-house manufacturing couldn't produce phones as inexpensively as the 3rd parties making phone for their competitors.
          • Well I'm not so sure they need to build a new phone division at all. Surely the whole point of selling it was to concentrate on their other businesses?
      • Either way, Nokia and its shareholders seem to have gotten royally screwed in the process.

        Microsoft paid Nokia over $7B for the acquisition. Even now NOK is well over its price before the deal was announced. I made a tidy profit selling NOK back in late 2013.

      • The IP was kept by Nokia, it was just licensed to MS. As a shareholder I am quite glad the floundering phone business was offloaded the MS before it sank the company. Currently Nokia has cash, is profitable, and is well-positioned in the networks business... not bad in my view.

      • Google Finance claims that Nokia's stock has increased 72% in value since the sale to Microsoft (89% if you count dividends, which you should). If that's a royal screwing, where can I get one?

      • We should know one way or another within the next 18 months as the CEO recently revealed we are giving Windows 10 away because of Windows Phone [betanews.com], specifically to build a huge install base to get devs developing universal binaries which work on both desktop and phone.

        Now do I personally think this will work? Bwa ha ha...fuck no, not a chance in hell and here is why....Windows App Store sucks monkey nuts, too much nickel and dime garbage apps and outright fakes and stolen apps (look up something like VLC and l

    • by xeoron ( 639412 )
      Might be easier if they buy or license Sailfish OS [sailfishos.org], after all it was a joint Intel project they cancelled to make Windows Phones and former employees created a company to continue it.
      • Sailfish and Symbian are both proven phone OS options. Nokia has strong ties to both. I wouldn't be surprised to see either one, although Sailfish has the advantage of already supporting most Android apps.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Not true. The Nokia brand can kick off really well because people will still remember it. The hook will be critical, so Nokia Linux or Nokia Android, could be the real decision. Likely the best Choice would be Nokia Linux with access to the Android market place and the ability to run Android applications, whilst keeping the ability to run native Linux applications this with nary a LosePhone interface in sight. The need to come back different to the rest of the perceived market, they need to kick M$'s ass p

  • Would the Nokia "design and branding" actually still be viewed as a net contributor to product value?? I've never had a Nokia phone myself, but I always had the perception that they haven't been any good for a while (Windows 8 for Phones probably contributing to that impression...)
    • It wouldn't. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:55AM (#50117125)

      Would the Nokia "design and branding" actually still be viewed as a net contributor to product value?

      No. Nobody thought Nokia designs were all that amazing even when they were the top dog in the market. They were solid but never anything earth shaking. And they completely missed the boat when it came to smart phones. Today pretty much nobody cares about Nokia any more and whatever value their brand once had is just a fraction of a shadow of its previous glory.

      I've never had a Nokia phone myself, but I always had the perception that they haven't been any good for a while

      I owned several. I used Nokia's exclusively from 1999-2010 or so. They were fine but never great. Generally pretty durable though their reputation for durability exceeds the reality of it. The hardware design was decent if unspectacular. The software however SUCKED big time. I actually got to meet their CEO about 10 years ago during a speech he gave. He admitted during the Q&A the criticality of software to their business. But from my own experience with Nokia software they never really quite figured it out. They thought their customer was the phone companies and tailored their software efforts accordingly. They were wrong and Apple showed them just how wrong they were.

      Nokia phones would have what I call checkbox features - great on paper but not in actual use. I bought one of their smartphones around the same time as the first iPhone. Both on paper had roughly the same capabilities but the Nokia's were basically unusable in the real world. The Nokia could technically email or surf the web and it could but even a geek like me couldn't really use it productively because the software and the interface were just horrid. Syncing with a PC was an exercise in futility. Updates to the phones were uncommon if they happened at all and sometimes involved sending the phone to Nokia.

      • Re:It wouldn't. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dwater ( 72834 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @12:10PM (#50117811)

        I thought the N95 was amazing, and the N90 was pretty awesome too....and the N9 was spectacular. I loved my E9 too....I remember using it with a bluetooth keyboard to send/receive email and surf/etc at an airport and it turned a few heads, and that was in Finland where they were much more common than anywhere else.

        Miss the boat when it came to smart phones...they were *years* ahead of the current crop.

        Actually, I find myself disagreeing with almost everything you say...not much point in continuing.

        But, yeah, I'm nobody, so you're right.

        • I thought the N95 was amazing, and the N90 was pretty awesome too....and the N9 was spectacular.

          Nokia made some fine products over the years. I never claimed otherwise and I used their phones exclusively for over a decade. But I have never once used a Nokia phone where the software wasn't terrible. On their old non-smart phones the interface was usable but clumsy. On their smartphones (at least every one I tried) it was just rubbish. Not just on the phone either. Their PC software like their Nokia (Ovi) Suite was absolutely hopeless. I'm aware they came out with some arguably decent smartphones

          • by xvan ( 2935999 )
            Apparently you never heard of the Burning Platforms memo.
            We'll never know if Elop was actually a mole inside Nokia,

            But just when maemo/meego was stable enough to depreciate Symbian after >10 years of development, they choose to throw everything away and go the W7->W8 way.

            This decision was made when Nokia still dominated the smartphones market (yes, Symbians were smart phones), android was a bag full of crap, and the Iphone 1 was prettier but inferior than the N900.

            I think W8 lumias were grate p
            • Apparently you never heard of the Burning Platforms memo.
              We'll never know if Elop was actually a mole inside Nokia,

              Did you read the last sentence of my post? I'm well aware of what transpired with Elop & friends. But Nokia was on thin ice even prior to that. They were already hemorrhaging market share well before Elop got involved. Elop just added gasoline to the fire and burned the house down while they were still in it.

              But just when maemo/meego was stable enough to depreciate Symbian after >10 years of development, they choose to throw everything away and go the W7->W8 way.

              Bizarre isn't it? It made no sense at all. Not at the time and not in hindsight. They threw away years of work to go to a closed source system which they didn't control with close to zero mar

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iisan7 ( 914423 )
        Unlike Apple, Nokia made a variety of phones with different specs. They're mostly known for their low end phones, unfortunately sounds like that is what you were using too. I also used Nokia exclusively during the 2000s and had a completely different experience than you. IMO, the only area that the iPhone stomped the Nokias was web browsing and third party apps. Because yeah, I hate how, for example, my Nokia N8 had so many features that the first... and second... and third... and some of these even fourth
        • by rch7 ( 4086979 )

          I have a live N8 in front of me, with latest software update. Yes, the hardware is better than any competitor's one and the features are great until it comes to actually using software.
          Browser crashes as soon as you try to scroll before page is fully loaded. Some older version didn't crash, but was sluggish.
          Offline GPS - great, except that in latest version it doesn't work half of the time. Often you can wait for half an hour and it can't find your location until you get online.
          You can't even change interfa

          • by rch7 ( 4086979 )

            p.s. And they have integrated SIP client which means you don't need some extra SIP software and don't need to mess with something extra when making a call, just choose SIP or mobile provider at call time. Great, except that configuration interface is unfinished and it often hangs up for unknown reason when you go out of wifi coverage.

      • they completely missed the boat when it came to smart phones.

        Nokia was developing tablets with a cloud ecosystem over 10 years ago, and their first tablet came out in 2005, the precursor to N900 and N9 GNU/Linux phones. I guess they were too early for the world that was waiting for Apple to invent tablets and apps and the current idea of "smart"phones, as opposed to real computers in your pocket. Also, the Linux team faced internal competition from the old mainline of Symbian phones and the newer Windows phones.

    • by joaommp ( 685612 )

      You should have tried the N9. Best phone I've ever had. Had Nokia continued their line and distributed it to more countries, it would have taken a significant bite of the market.

      • You should have tried the N9

        Why would I buy a phone that had an operating system that was dropped by Nokia prior to the phone going on sale? Plus it was never released in the US so Nokia apparently didn't value my business very much.

        Had Nokia continued their line and distributed it to more countries, it would have taken a significant bite of the market.

        That is extremely doubtful. It was too little, too late and not supported by the company that made it.

        • by joaommp ( 685612 )

          That was the point of what I was saying. The OS was only dropped after the phone going on sale and only because of Elop's plans to make Nokia's meat more tender for Microsoft's teeth.

          And why are you trying to contradict my comment by stating exactly what I was saying? I don't think you realized that I was actually saying the same.

          Whatever happened with the OS, the distribution and the support, the truth is that the N9 was, in fact, a great phone and, IMHO, the best phone I've ever had (and believe me, becau

          • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

            Really? The N9 had a large Retina (really high DPI) screen? Because that's the only thing the latest iPhone has that the previous generation did not.

            I suspect that your knowledge of iPhones and iOS begins and ends with the names.

            • by joaommp ( 685612 )

              Oh yes, a large Retina display, because that's the most important feature of any phone... and a big ass screen to make it a big ass phone that does not fit in your pocket.
              Seriously? If that's your priority, then I can already see where this discussion is going.

              NFC, for example, only became available in the last or previous generation of iPhone and its support is limited to what Apple wants. N9 had it.
              What about total control of your phone? Hmmm supposedly, rooting your iPhone voids your warranty and it's so

            • The N9 had a large Retina (really high DPI) screen? Because that's the only thing the latest iPhone has that the previous generation did not.

              You mean except for:
              * Optical image stabilization
              * 1080p video recording @60fps
              * VoLTE and VoWiFi calling
              * A barometer
              * ApplePay
              * Faster processors
              * Larger screens
              * Better camera

              I suspect that your knowledge of iPhones and iOS begins and ends with the names.

              Pot meet kettle.

              • by joaommp ( 685612 )

                You're mostly comparing the iPhone from today, to the N9 from 4 years ago.

                And yes, the iPhone did have a faster processor back then. But the N9 still managed to be faster, with true multitasking, even running 20 programs at the same time. The N9 didn't have a faster processor because it didn't need to. And somehow, I was more productive in the N9 than I ever was in any iPhone or Android phone.

                Yes, it did have its own shortcomings, nothing is perfect.

                And ApplePay? dafuq? That just debuted last year, dude. Ar

    • by sd4f ( 1891894 )

      There's a heap of manufacturers in China who are making no-name devices. I'm sure one of them would be more than happy to attach themselves to the Nokia name, as it would pull them out of the pit of insignificance, pretty much immediately.

      As to your later part of your comment, Nokia really dropped the ball at the start of the smartphone era. They were in a great position, with some solid offerings for the time, but realistically had nothing to offer when the market moved to the 'slate' form factor. Nokia's

  • What a Mess (Score:4, Informative)

    by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:36AM (#50116935)
    Seriously, WTF happened? Well Microsoft happened we all know that. The way forward was clear when the iPhone and then Android came about - either improve Symbian or move to Android. They could at least have been where Samsung is now as the de facto Android manufacturer and done a far better job.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft dangled money in front of short-sited capitalists. The rest is history.

      • by joaommp ( 685612 )

        No, Microsoft injected Elop into Nokia to make it easier to buy. Microsoft's tactics as usual.

        • Re:What a Mess (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @02:11PM (#50118917)

          You can't inject an Elop without short-sighted capitalists running the company. Anybody with any tech background knows getting into bed with Microsoft (and hiring an ex-MS exec as your CEO counts) means getting absorbed or screwed. But your average short-sighted capitalist just sees Microsoft's money and thinks "this guy knows how to get me some".

          • But your average short-sighted capitalist just sees Microsoft's money and thinks "this guy knows how to get me some".

            You're looking at this wrong. The capitalist is only short sighted from your viewpoint. From his viewpoint he got more money out of that deal than he could ever hope to expect in his lifetime. This was quite far-sighted as far as him and his family's needs go.
            This is why capitalism only works in certain respects and needs to be regulated whenever the common good is involved.

    • Re:What a Mess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <rodrigogiraoNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:55AM (#50117135) Homepage

      The way forward was clear when the iPhone and then Android came about - either improve Symbian or move to Android.

      I must disagree. The way forward was to move to their own new system, Linux-based MeeGo. They actually released one phone with it, the N9. Despite extremely positive reviews, the Microsoft-planted CEO fucked it sideways. If it wasn't for that subhuman scumbag, Nokia would probably still be a major smartphone maker now, with MeeGo ahead of iOS.

    • Seriously, WTF happened?

      Not invented by Microsoft, not advancing Microsoft market share.

      Microsoft took a player out of the market, got their IP and patents, and then spat out the rest.

      Microsoft didn't care about a successful Nokia. Microsoft cared about advancing the business interests of Microsoft.

      Improve Symbian or move to Android? Microsoft was never going to do that.

      As soon as Elon Musk was in, there was only one outcome -- extinguish anything not Microsoft, pillage what was valuable. Musk went into

      • by joaommp ( 685612 )

        I think you are confusing Elon Musk (from Tesla) with Stephen Elop (the Microsoft spy that was in charge of destroying Nokia Oy from the inside).

      • Microsoft took a player out of the market, got their IP and patents, and then spat out the rest.

        No they didn't. They have licenses to keep making phones, but the IP belongs to Nokia. It was most specifically left out of the deal.

  • The past 4 times I was in Africa, I'd just buy a Nokia phone, and local number and I'd be able to roam and talk without an issue.

    With a 3G modem, I even transferred funds from one account to another in the middle of the Kalahari.

    They made great low cost and perfectly functional phones.

  • I really cannot imagine why they would want to get back into the business.

    There are only two companies making substantial profits in cell phones (Apple and Samsung with Apple making by far [macrumors.com] the largest profit. Samsung makes pretty much all the profit in Android with nobody else really even being a player. Nokia would bring nothing to the table that I can see to change that equation. Their brand is nothing special today. They would be just another me-too Android phone with nothing uniquely valuable to off

    • I wonder if they'll bother enough to get a reasonably customized(to the degree that any phone isn't just a black slab with a touchscreen on the front and camera on the back); or if they'll end up doing the always-humiliating 'release badge-job product in same market as ODM's own-brand model of precisely the same design' dance?
    • I really cannot imagine why they would want to get back into the business.

      Just pondering, but I have seen plenty of instances in the application world where somebody will form a company, make a program, and sell it to a larger company. They then take that money to make themselves rich and form a new company which will make a new version of the program, which they will probably sell to a larger company because the larger company never did anything with the original program they purchased. Wash, rinse, and repeat. IN this case, Nokia probably is a larger company and without insider

  • So, the hollow shell of a once viable company wants to smear its necrotic brand on pacific rim ODM crap in the hope that it is still worth something?

    Such a familiar story. Sad; but ultimately profoundly pathetic, like a washed-up and balding boy band doing a reunion tour for coke money.
  • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:54AM (#50117119) Journal

    their deal with Microsoft prevents them from getting back into the phone business until Q4 2016, so we won't be seeing Nokia phones soon either way.

    New phones typically take years to develop and bring to market. I don't think Q4 2016 is prohibitive at all.

    That's about a year...even if Nokia started today designing a new phone it would be kind of amazing if they had it ready to go to market by Q4 2016.

    They say "You have to go away to come back" and Nokia definitely went away so....

  • by snookiex ( 1814614 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:59AM (#50117173) Homepage

    Recently I bought a Nokia N9. It's not as cool as my good old N900 (which is still my primary cellphone), but MeeGo really looked promising. Why did they ditch it in such a bad manner is something that still puzzles me.

    • by joaommp ( 685612 )

      MeeGo Harmattan could have been considered the best mobile OS ever.

      IMHO, it was amazing. And the N9's hardware too.

    • Infighting. The symbian team was actively fighting the meego team. They needed a ceo to take a side and shut down the other, but they got one that took a third side and shut down both.

  • Coincidence? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coofercat ( 719737 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @11:01AM (#50117189) Homepage Journal

    ...this, after last week we heard that Jolle (itself an offshoot created by some ex-Nokia folk) wants to spin off it's hardware making business.

    I predict Nokia will magically find it's hardware partner by this time next week.

  • by nojayuk ( 567177 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @11:06AM (#50117219)

    The title of this submission talks about "phones", the Fine Article discusses Nokia's possible entry into the smartphone world after the noncompete agreement with MS lapses. This being /. I can comprehend that "smartphones" and "phones" are synonymous in most readers minds but Nokia is still building and selling dumb phones and feature phones (profitably, I presume) and has been all the time they were being funded by MS to make the Lumia range.

    The Nokia board probably have a good idea about their ability to leverage the good name of Nokia in the Android smartphone biz by looking at the sales of their N1 Android tablet in the markets it's already been released in. No public numbers yet though.

    The two big differentiators that Nokia could bring to a new smartphone design based on its long phone-making track record would be voice call quality and the radio hardware, not something any of the other smartphone makers (with the exception of the Lumia series spawned by Nokia) seem to bother with much.

    • Do you have a source for your claim, because it contradicts everything I've read elsewhere.

      My understanding is that Nokia sold their whole handset buisness to MS, not just the smartphones. Said sale came with limited rights for MS to use the Nokia brand and certain non-compete terms preventing nokia selling phones under their own name. Right now MS has migrated the lumia smartphones away from the nokia brand but is still selling feature-phones under the nokia brand. In the not too distant future the brandin

  • by dwater ( 72834 )

    They may well still have a chance in China...they had huge brand recognition there. Apple is big there, but people get pissed off with it a fair bit. Google has no presence at all, but companies use the FOSS Android to build phones and that's pretty common. I think Nokia still have a chance there, and I'll bet that's where they'll start too, since they're looking for a manufacturer.

  • Going to use my N900 until it dies and will not purchase another Nokia device. You guys lost my trust and pretty much killed your brand for a VERY long time.
    Not sure what I'll get to replace my N900. I have an iPhone 5s from work and it sucks almost as much as the Mac Book Pro Retina I received with it (awesome touch pad).

    Maybe a MS Phone ... can't believe I am actually considering it....

  • Like smartphones that are full of candy. My daughter would totally be into that.
  • My burns have almost healed!

  • Sell the business, including all the headaches and DEBT, wait out the non compete time, start fresh with no debt, fresh and do it all over again.
  • "their deal with Microsoft prevents them from getting back into the phone business until Q4 2016, so we won't be seeing Nokia phones soon either way."

    Was it worth it for Microsoft to take a $7.6 billion hit just to take Nokia out of the mobile phone business?
    • > Was it worth it for Microsoft to take a $7.6 billion hit just
      > to take Nokia out of the mobile phone business?

      How much you think microsoft spent money developing their windows phone OS? It had no hardware for the OS before buying nokia's hardware... Microsoft invested HUGE pile of money without knowing beforehand that they'd get hardware for their software.

      My bet is that Nokia buys the phones back from microsoft once microsoft's OS becomes outdated. And then they have something new available for the

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish. You can tune a filesystem, but you can't tuna fish. -- from the tunefs(8) man page

Working...