Nokia makes major IoT and devices move with €170m Withings acquisition

Having sold off much of the family silver over the past few years Nokia is buying again and signalling a strategic move towards IoT by spending €170 million on French digital heath company Withings.

Intriguingly Withings is primarily a device-maker, specialising in things like wearables and other consumer health monitoring devices. The company will be made part of Nokia Technologies, which was originally created to monetise legacy Nokia intellectual property, which included some mobile device technologies not included in the Microsoft sale.

The result seems to be an increasingly twin-track Nokia, with the core NSN/A-Lu networks business on one side and some kind of devices/IoT business rising like a phoenix from the flames of Nokia’s smartphone debacle.

“We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”

“Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well designed and already helping people live healthier lives,” said Ramzi Haidamus, President of Nokia Technologies. “Combining their award-winning products and talented people with the world-class expertise and innovation of Nokia Technologies uniquely positions us to lead the next wave of innovation in digital health.”

Withings was launched in 2008 by Chairman Eric Carreel and CEO Cédric Hutchings and currently has a headcount of around 200. Hutchings will head up the Nokia digital health business when the deal closes on Q3 2016. Digital health has been targeted by tech companies for some time due to the massive growth potential from things like remote diagnostics and chronic condition management.

“Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Hutchings. “We’re excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world.”

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