It’s been just over a year since Nokia announced the sale of its handset division to Microsoft. Though it may seem like the brand is dead (Microsoft did just rename the Nokia Lumia line ‘Microsoft Lumia’), the Nokia name was one of the things the Espoo-based company held onto when it said goodbye to its mobile device unit.
It’s the reason why Nokia can continue to market its mapping application as Nokia HERE, and it seems Nokia has no plans to draw the line there. Apparently, licensing of the Nokia brand will be a big part of the company’s future. Speaking at the Nokia Capital Markets Day in London on Friday, Nokia’s president of technologies said that the company will be licensing its brand starting this quarter in order to monetize the Nokia brand and design expertise (it retained 75% of its “innovation talent” following its deal with Microsoft).
Ramzi Haidamus revealed in his presentation that Microsoft has a 10-year license to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, so it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing a dumb phone named Nokia from anyone but Microsoft before 2024. However, “Nokia can license the Nokia brand for handsets from Q4 2016 and for other devices already now,” he said.
While the language is slightly confusing, it sounds as though Nokia is free to license the Nokia name for smartphones and other devices at the end of 2016 (which makes sense, as Microsoft has dropped the Nokia name from all of its smartphones but is still using it for low-end devices). According to the Verge, Haidamus said that the company will start licensing its brand “in the areas that we can and the areas where the brand is relevant.”
Beyond that, patent licensing will also factor into the company’s short-term goals. In his presentation, Haidamus highlighted numerous high-profile patent licensing deals that Nokia has reached with Qualcomm, Huawei, BlackBerry, Viewsonic, and HTC over the last five or six years. Soon, Samsung will be added to that list. These deals cover everything from user interface to hardware, OS, security, and connectivity.
In the long term, Nokia’s R&D department will work on developing and incubating new technologies including 5G and improvements to current WiFi standards.