Nokia plans possible comeback to cellphone business

HELSINKI - Nokia says it is seeking a "world-class" partner to get back into the cellphone business.

The Finnish company says it hopes to return to designing and providing technology for cellphones but needs a partner to manufacture, market and sell the devices.

Nokia spokesman Brett Young said Tuesday the "right path back to mobile phones ... is through a licensing brand." The earliest it could produce phones would be in the last quarter of 2016, in line with an agreement with Microsoft, which bought its devices and services last year for $7.5 billion.

Nokia was the world's top cellphone maker for 14 years, but was unable to meet the challenges of Apple's iPhone, Samsung and cheaper Asian manufacturers.

Last year, Microsoft (MSFT) began selling Nokia's Lumia handsets under its own brand name.