Nokia has entered negotiations to sell its Digital Health business to its original owner, Withings co-founder Éric Carreel. The move is part of the company's plan to exit the consumer market and "focus on becoming a business-to-business and licensing company," it said. The company paid $191 million for Withings back in 2016 but recently announced that it had written off $175 million in goodwill, and would do a strategic review of its wearable businesses.
Nokia originally bought Withings to take on Apple's HealthKit, in what seemed at the time like a lucrative consumer market that could crossover to the business-oriented health industry. Nokia's idea was to collect key health data like heart rate, blood pressure and weight from users and use it for its own medical business, WellCare. Once it had purchased the French company, Nokia re-branded all the products, despite the fact that Withings did have some cachet in the digital health wearable business. Nokia effectively handed control of its health business to Withings. "We're paying for the company, but in reality, it's Withings that's going to be running the entire digital health business at Nokia," Nokia President Ramzi Haidamus told Engadget at the time. Fitbit, for one, has recorded four consecutive losses, despite having sold some 70 million devices to date. Nokia rebranding and clearing the marketing strategies to grow up.
Nokia said previously that up to 425 people might be laid off from its Digital Health business. Prior to Nokia's purchase, Withings employed around 200 people, mostly in France, but also in the US, the UK, and Hong Kong.