Luxury phone maker Vertu, known for incorporating gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and alligator leather, among other expensive material into its designs, is on the verge of completely ending its operations. The company, which has a debt of GBP 138 million, has reportedly gone into liquidation and is shutting down. This has led to its 200 employees finding themselves unemployed.
Started in 1998 as a luxury wing of Finnish giant Nokia, Vertu changed hands multiple times and ended up with its current owner, Mr. Hakan Uzan, earlier this year. Though he tried to negotiate with creditors and put an end to the company's woes, his efforts failed. It is widely speculated that the Turkish business mogul might re-introduce Vertu phones later this year as he'll still be in possession of the company's design, technology, and brand licenses. An agreement Vertu had signed with TCL last month regarding collaboration on technology might also help this revival.
Vertu's market, while already limited, was further severely diminished when Apple completely changed the landscape of mobile phone business with its iPhone. Now, iPhone and its Android counterparts are seen as luxury phones by most users. Even customers who want precious substances like gold and diamonds as part of their phones prefer customized iPhones and Galaxies over Vertu's offerings.
The brand associated with words like 'bling' and 'super-luxury' is winding up due to mounting debts
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