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Nokia sells Digital Health back to Withings (Update: Withings brand will return)
Update 5/31/2018 at 10:53 A.M. EST: Engadget reported today that the Nokia Health Brand – recently purchased back from original owner Withings, as described in the article below – will re-brand back to Withings by the end of the year. Current Nokia-branded products will remain for sale, but by 2019 Nokia Health products and software will fly under the Withings banner.
Withings also stated it will begin developing new products for release soon.
Original Article: Things haven’t gone very well for Nokia’s re-branding of Withings as Nokia Digital Health. Now, it looks like Nokia is selling the Digital Health arm of the company to a surprising buyer: Éric Carreel, the co-founder of Withings.
Nokia didn’t reveal the terms of the deal. But judging from the history of the Nokia-Withings business, Nokia likely gave the brand away for a song.
The French startup Withings made a name for itself by developing health-related tech products that worked well and looked great. Nokia saw an opportunity there and bought the company in 2016 for almost $200 million.
However, since that buy, Nokia has bungled the brand pretty badly. It mostly just re-branded existing Withings products (like the Steel series of smartwatches) and didn’t invest enough in the consumer health business to compete with other established health brands like Fitbit and Garmin.
The writing was on the wall when Nokia announced that it was going to make a “review of strategic options for its Digital Health business” back in February. In so many words, Nokia was saying it wanted to sell off the Digital Health arm. Both Google and Samsung expressed interest in buying, but at some point between then and now, the company struck a deal with one of the original owners of the Withings brand.
With $200 million spent, and millions lost, the Withings buy was a costly mistake for Nokia.
There’s no word yet on what this will mean for Nokia Digital Health products, like the Nokia Steel line of smartwatches and Nokia digital scales. Presumably, those products will be re-branded back to Withings or phased out to make room for newer versions.
Nokia says the sale should be completed by the middle of this year. It also says that the deal is part of the company’s new focus on moving away from consumer goods and becoming “a business-to-business and licensing company.”
Do you own any Nokia Digital Health products? Are you glad that Nokia is selling the brand or were you happy with Nokia’s handling of those products? Let us know in the comments!