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Nokia Considers Selling Mobile Phone Division

Gordon Kelly by

Nokia Considers Selling Mobile Phone Division?

Is it or isn't it?

Speculation hit over the weekend that Finnish mobile giant Nokia was considering the unthinkable: selling off its mobile phone division. The speculation comes from quotes by non other than Nokia marketing head Anssi Vanjoki who said a transformation of the current business meant it had adopted a "never say never" attitude to such a proposal.

Consequently talk of just who has the financial muscle to make such a move intensified with maker-of-just-about-everything Foxconn the hot tip. Speculation seems to be cooling however with Nokia spokesperson Thomas Jonsson today stating: "Our logistics and manufacturing network is a very important competitive advantage for us, and a core part of our business. We have no plans to change our business model."

The pedantic among us would say that's pretty loose wording so talk won't die down completely, but it does seem to put the kibosh on any potential mega deal for now. That said, Nokia needs to turn things around quickly as its handset division continues to shed market share like it's going out of fashion. It's latest Q3 results report this as 35 per cent when it had been over 40 per cent early last year.

In related news word is spreading that Nokia will release just one handset based on its exciting Maemo platform during 2010. This would be the much anticipated N900 (above), but as Apple has already proved if you get it right you don't need more than one flagship smartphone per year...

In yet more related news The BBC has dismissed reports of a dedicated iPlayer iPhone app. Again rumour had built over the weekend - this time thanks to snaps in an iPlayer statics round-up presentation (pictured) - but the Beeb dismissed it as an out of date image on its Blog and said they would likely be removed.

Given the iPhone BBC iPlayer web app is already excellent it's hard to see how the investment in a dedicated app would have been worth it in any case...

Links:

Nokia via Reuters

iPlayer via BBC Blogs

Go to comments

Peter 20

November 30, 2009, 7:50 pm

"Selling Mobile Phone Division" wait a minute isn't NOKIA just a one big Mobile Phone Division I didn't know they did anything other then Mobile Phones.

xbrumster

November 30, 2009, 8:50 pm

They happen to start selling netbooks...





what else cant they do? They certainly have the money to back it up if they decide to...

Andy0d2

November 30, 2009, 9:10 pm

Say Whatttttttttttt! - This is the story of the year! {if true}

Kuru

November 30, 2009, 9:15 pm

I thought the guy said about manufacturing you can do that similar to AMD did. Also if apple can make same or more money by selling one model of phone why not cut down on the list of mobiles and make more profit from smart phones.

Sleeper

November 30, 2009, 11:29 pm

"That said, Nokia needs to turn things around quickly as its handset division continues to shed market share like it's going out of fashion."





Actually, no. Nokia's smartphone shipments are up on last year. The market share decrease is largely due to the increase in the US market where Nokia don't have any presence of note. If you look at the regional figures Nokia are doing pretty well.





Common mistake to make though.

Gordon394

November 30, 2009, 11:49 pm

@Sleeper - not really, no. Nokia's profit margins are poor, its handsets haven't dazzled anyone in a long time (E71 was the last) and - as you point out - it still fails to crack the US, something that has proved no problem for relative newbies like LG and Samsung.





Symbian is also causing the company a great deal of problems, as its the touchscreen format, N-Gage has been an unmitigated disaster (3x) and the Ovi store has stuttered from day one. So the foundations for the future are also not looking good.





Common mistake to make though ;)

Ataripower

December 1, 2009, 12:10 am

@Gordon, agree with many aspects of your article but having taken delivery of my shiny new Nokia N900 last Friday and spent the weekend getting used to the wonderful new Maemo OS I genuinly think Nokia's fortunes are about to change...its a truly amazing device and if marketed well with a good app store i'm confident that nothing can come close, not even the latest phone from Apple.

ilovethemonkeyhead

December 1, 2009, 1:20 am

i think the key would be to make a less restricting app store. apple's store suffers from this, and if they can tempt developers away from apple's store to their own one, they could be onto a real winner.





i was surprised at the number of 17+ rated apps on the app store that clearly don't deserve that rating.

bobsta

December 1, 2009, 3:59 am

Apple and HTC have been remarkably successful because they understand the current needs of mobile phone users. Nokia of all companies really ought to hang its head in shame by failing to come up with a iPhone or HTC beater. Come on Nokia, capacitive touch screens, attractive design, simplicity and great battery life. You guys did it before and you can do it again.

Sleeper

December 1, 2009, 5:05 am

Gordon, whilst I agree with the points you make I'm not sure what relevance they have to market share composition. Nokia do have issues and you've outlined some of them, however the handset division still makes in excess of a billion dollars a quarter, handset sales are up (up YonY 3 million in Q2 and 1.5 million in Q3) and I find it a bit odd that you say the foundations for the future aren't good when we know Maemo and Direct UI/Qt devices running Symbian^2 to ^4 are in the pipeline.





Nokia, for all their issues, still beat their competitors hands down in the markets they compete in terms of sales volume and market share (yes I know margins are low but since the bulk of Nokia's sales are low to mid tier that's the game they play), have increased or maintained market share in these markets and look pretty healthy for the future. Well, if they didn't make appalling third party ventures they would anyway. :)

Gordon394

December 1, 2009, 5:09 am

@Sleeper - because Maemo is going to be niche with the N900 seemingly the only device running it during 2010, Symbian's future is up in the air and most attempts the company has made to innovate have failed: Comes With Music, N-Gage, and worryingly, Ovi is very poor IMHO.





It certainly has the resources to improve, but when a company's cutting edge tech isn't up to scratch (and this filters down over time) it generally leads to trouble. Remember Motorola was making billions of dollars and riding high on the RAZR for many years...

Gordon394

December 1, 2009, 5:09 am

@Sleeper - because Maemo is going to be niche with the N900 seemingly the only device running it during 2010, Symbian's future is up in the air and most attempts the company has made to innovate have failed: Comes With Music, N-Gage, and worryingly, Ovi is very poor IMHO.





It certainly has the resources to improve, but when a company's cutting edge tech isn't up to scratch (and this filters down over time) it generally leads to trouble. Remember Motorola was making billions of dollars and riding high on the RAZR for many years...

Gary 12

December 1, 2009, 8:22 pm

I can see it happening, I suspect the 50% of Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the more profitable bits and they could potentially take a greater share of that if they sold the consumer business. It's been a long time (if ever) since Nokia produced a really world beating device. Some have been very good but not stand out (e71 was great but never hit the blackberry market share much, the e51 I had was great but never saw a huge market, the 8800 I had years ago was lovely but very niche).





Comes with music was actually quite a novel product though, it was partly bad luck and partly lackluster marketing that it didn't catch on. Nokia still make pretty good hardware, software has been behind the curve for a while now though. Maemo is the best for a very long time but having had a hands on, I prefer my iphone and my experience with Android is also probably superior...

kingstu

December 2, 2009, 3:16 am

I was under the impression that the N900 was for this year and the new capacitive, keyboardless N920 (or whatever it is called) is for 2010.

DavidDB

December 3, 2009, 12:32 am

Nkoia fortunes could be turned around very quickly with just a magic word





ANDROID - they seemed to be quite keen when the Open Handset Alliance was first muted





It sure seems to have worked for MOTO

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