Microsoft might be buying Nokia's phone business for $7.2 billion, but the company will live on focused on mapping and network technologies. Interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa is upbeat about the changes, and believes "this is the beginning of the next 150 years of Nokia’s story." The Finnish company may have started life 150 years ago making paper, boots, and car tyres, but its mostly known for its mobile phones. In a recent interview, Siilasmaa notes the challenges faced by Nokia and the emotions involved in 32,000 employees leaving to join Microsoft and the reality that Nokia is no longer a phone maker.
"Nokia will look very different without the mobile devices and services business," says Siilasmaa. "But it will be a strong company, with healthy finances and three strong businesses — NSN, HERE, and Advanced Technologies – each a leader in technology and innovation." Essentially, what remains of Nokia will be focused on three areas: networks, HERE mapping, and a new Advanced Technologies business. Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) provides telecommunications equipment and focuses on mobile broadband, while HERE is Nokia's long bet on location and mapping. HERE already powers Microsoft's Windows Phone maps, and the company is aggressively targeting cars with in-dash navigation.
Nokia has a broad patent portfolio it can use in the future
The new Advanced Technologies business is essentially a research and development division focused on what's next for Nokia. The Finnish phone maker has long built up a strong patent portfolio, with a variety of mobile device and mobile data patents, and it looks set to increase it in future. "We’ve already established a successful patent and technology licensing operation," explains Siilasmaa, noting the company is aiming to expand it to increase revenues and profit. Nokia is granting Microsoft access to its patents in a 10-year $2.17 billion deal, but there are concerns the company may turn into a patent troll with the lack of a phone business. With around 30,000 utility patents and 8,500 design patents, Nokia's patent portfolio is worth around $6 billion and the company can now aggressively defend its patents.
Siilasmaa is now tasked with reinventing what's left of Nokia and finding a new CEO. While there won't be another Nokia smartphone, success with its HERE mapping technologies may keep the Nokia brand alive with consumers. With the Lumia and Asha brands now owned by Microsoft, it's now out of Nokia's control whether a little piece of its phone history will live on. Nokians may have mourned the loss of their company to Microsoft, but Siilasmaa believes the employees left at Nokia are about to "remind people what Nokia truly stands for."