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Nokia to Return as Smartphone Brand in Bet on Staying Power

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Betty Saliba
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The Nokia brand is set to return to smartphones, two years after the Finnish company sold its flagship handset business and walked away defeated by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.Nokia Oyj said Wednesday it will license its brand to a Helsinki-based company run by former Nokia managers, HMD Global Oy, which plans investments topping $500 million to bring mobile phones and tablets to the market.

FIH Mobile Ltd., part of Foxconn Technology Group, will help to build the devices.HMD will be in charge of designing, making and selling the devices, said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia s IP-licensing business.

If things don t live up to expectations, the company isn t saddled with enormous inventory and expense still on the books, said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC.Nokia and HMD will be trying to crack a tough market with Samsung, Apple and Huawei Technologies Co. dominating smartphone sales with about half of the total 334 million high-end phones shipped in the first quarter, according to data from researcher IDC.

Royal Philips Electronics NV sold its television business to TPV Technology, which kept the Dutch company s name on its sets.For Finns, the deal may restore some national pride in the country s best-known company.

The sale of the business, less than three years after then-Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop joined Nokia from Microsoft, prompted Ilta-Sanomat, Finland s biggest tabloid, to called him a Trojan Horse who assisted Microsoft all along.

HMD is now acquiring the rights for the next decade.Nokia more recently has been getting most of its revenue from wireless network equipment and related software and services.

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