According to news sources such as Re/code, Nokia is on the look out to reenter the market in 2016. The world’s once-largest mobile manufacturer apparently has business model in mind similar to what was planned for the release of the Nokia N1 tablet, which was essentially a brand licensing agreement with Foxconn. Foxconn would manufacture, distribute and sell the tablet: Nokia would essentially take a back seat after the design phase was done.
While the company has no plans to reclaim its former glory (now in the hands of Microsoft), they do plan to design new products. These will then be licensed along with the Nokia brand to a company that will not only do the manufacturing, but will also handle sales and distribution. While licensing the brand to someone else does reduces overall cost, it also leaves the success of those products out of Nokia’s control (even partly so).
Prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, the company was split into 3 separate entities: Nokia Networks, Here and Nokia Technologies. Whilst Nokia Networks is responsible for the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, Here is the company’s navigation and mapping section; Nokia Technologies is aiming the one for the comeback. According to Microsoft’s deal, Nokia is prohibited from selling any phones under the Nokia brand till the end of 2015, but this time is clearly being put to good use – they seem to have been staffing up and hard at work on products for next year and beyond. For example, they brought on former Dolby Labs executive Ramzi Haidamus as its President last year and hired Cisco executive Guido Jouret to be its Chief Technology Officer last week.
In light of this, Nokia seems to have made a very smart move. They’ve kept their technology, kept their extensive portfolio of patents, and essentially rented out the brand and sold off potential loss-making assets like their manufacturing arm.