Nokia reiterates pledge not to make any more phones

Reports claiming Nokia was returning to the mobile market were unequivocally silenced on Sunday, but that doesn't mean the company isn't up to other things.

Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
A Nokia phone displays the Microsoft logo in Vienna, Sept. 3, 2013. In an era when tech start-ups can be worth tens of billions of dollars, Microsoft's deal to acquire Nokia's mobile handset business for 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) is modest from a strictly financial point of view, but could be a turning point for both companies.

Getting a major tech corporation to confirm or deny a rumor is typically difficult, which is why it came as a surprise to many to hear Nokia flat-out refute the claim that it is returning to making phones.

The Finnish company, which was acquired by Microsoft last year for $7.5 billion, was adamant about silencing the growing chorus of whispers.

“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, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive,” Nokia said in a statement. “Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.” 

The reports began with Re/code, who cited insiders claiming Nokia was quietly planning on re-entering the smartphone market at the end of its non-compete agreement with Microsoft, which is up December 31, 2015. The sources said that Nokia Technologies, which handles licensing of Nokia’s 10,000-strong archives of patents, was directing the move, looking to deal with design and passing the manufacturing, sales, and distribution of the alleged products on to partners. 

But the idea appears to be dead, at least for the time being.

The restrictions that Nokia and Microsoft mutually agreed upon prevent the former phone maker from selling mobile devices until the end of the year and from licensing anything until the third financial quarter of 2016. This move was designed to allow Microsoft some time to get its Windows Phone off the ground, which has yet to become a true competitor  against Android and iOS smartphones.

But, as Forbes points out, this doesn’t mean Nokia is just twiddling its thumbs until next year. In the statement, the company did not specifically deny reports about it continuing to lease its patents to other manufactures, which it has already done with the N1 tablet, made by Foxconn.

Nokia additionally purchased the network equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion this month, and has reportedly been in talks to sell its HERE mapping service, for an estimated $3 billion. Perspective buyers include Apple, Amazon, Uber, Audi, and BMW.

While Nokia appears to be moving on to bigger and better things after its defeat in the American mobile market, many still believe there is a (very) slight chance the Nokia phone may resurface. Just don’t expect it any time soon.

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