Since Microsoft swallowed up Finnish phone maker Nokia’s mobile business in 2014, most of the company’s mobile phones have been released under the Microsoft brand name. But that will change in 2016, as Nokia will then start to design and license handsets again.
According to Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s agreement with Microsoft allows it to make phones again next year, and will be looking for partners to release the phones.
He explained that Nokia would simply design the new phones, and then licence the brand name for release.
“We will look for suitable partners. Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license,” he told Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was employed by Microsoft to head up the division overseeing Nokia at the tech giant, but Elop earlier this week was given his marching orders.
This could spell a bit of trouble for Microsoft, as analysts believe that Microsoft will eventually write off a big chunk of the $7.2 billion it paid for Nokia’s phone business. Since Nokia’s incorporation into Microsoft, it hasn’t made any money from it and has only managed to attract about 3 percent of the smartphone market.
Just 5.8 million Nokia smartphones running the Windows Phone operating system were sold between the acquisition in April and July last year, which compares badly to Apple, which sold 35.2 million iPhones in the same time frame.