Nokia scouting for a partner to start designing handsets

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Nokia plans to start designing handsets again once a pact with Microsoft allows it to do so in 2016, its CEO told Germany’s Manager Magazin.

“We are looking for suitable partners,” Rajeev Suri said in an interview on 18 June. “Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would design them and make the brand name available to license.”

Finland’s Nokia sold its business to Microsoft in last year after its declining sales failed to keep up with innovations led by Apple’s iPhone.

But months later it launched a new brand-licensed tablet computer, produced under license by Foxconn, aiming to follow up with more devices.

Many analysts expect Microsoft to write off all or part the $7.2 billion it paid for Nokia’s handset unit, a deal that left Microsoft with a money-losing business and 3 percent of the smartphone market.

Microsoft manager Stephen Elop, whom the US software giant installed as Nokia chief executive, is now leaving Microsoftand back to its core software business.

Nokia in April announced a 15.6 billion Euro ($17.8 billion) takeover of Alcatel-Lucent to boost the network equipment business that is its mainstay.

When queried whether there were any preferred bidders for the high-definition maps business, Suri said, “Anybody who can improve the business in the long run is a good buyer.”

It is also hiving off its mapping business, which has drawn interest from German carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes, as well as Silicon Valley, Chinese Internet and technology businesses.

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