The trip of Nokia has been a long one. Once a leader in the cell phone market, other companies were eventually able to topple Nokia with new devices. Then a few years ago, Microsoft (MSFT) purchased Nokia's handset division in what ultimately turned into a multi-billion dollar blunder.
Now, Nokia has licensed its name to HMD Global -- run by some of the same people in the Microsoft/Nokia business before Microsoft shut it down.
So HMD will be the company behind the phones, while Nokia is the name on the device. But it won't be HMD or Nokia making the devices. Instead, HMD will be responsible for designing and marketing the phones, while third party manufacturers in Asia build the devices.
For now, the company is sticking to simplistic feature phones. Although these devices have little traction in the U.S., they can still be found in many other parts of the world. And while growth is slowing, as this market is shrinking by 15% per year, according to CEO Arto Nummela, it still kicks out enough cash flow for the company to work with.
At least, that's the plan for now as HMD looks to get develop both smartphones and tablets that run on an Android-based operating system.
Will HMD/Nokia succeed? It's unlikely that the device maker will overthrow Apple (AAPL) or Samsung (SSNLF) in the global phone market. But it is possible for the company to dominate certain parts of the world, particularly with its feature phones. Since Nokia is such a well-known global brand, perhaps its smartphones will have traction too.