Nokia may well have a new owner by this time next year, if the banking folk over at Danske Bank are to be believed – they reckon Microsoft will scoop up the Finnish phone manufacturer in the first half of 2012.

The Nokia/Microsoft buyout chatter has been rife ever since the two companies hopped into bed together on Windows Phone, and it hasn't hurt Nokia – its share price slunk up by more than 3 per cent thanks to Danske Bank's speculation.

Stephen Elop, Nokia's current CEO, joined the company from Microsoft which leads some people to suspect that he's been sent in specifically to facilitate the sale of the handset arm.

Yes no maybe

The Finnish company isn't having any of it though; "We put these rumours to rest a long time ago," said Doug Dawson from the company, but it wouldn't be the first time a company has said one thing and done another.

Will Microsoft buy Nokia? We don't know, but we definitely wouldn't rule it out; after all, Google's in the process of buying Motorola and Apple already makes its own iPhone hardware.

There are definite benefits to having an in-house handset creation arm - although let's not forget Microsoft's last attempts at manufacturing a handset using a company it had acquired – remember the Microsoft Kin? No? Anyone? Bueller?

But back to Nokia. The outlook's a little brighter there: the first fruits of the two companies' collaboration were revealed in October 2011, with the Nokia Lumia 800 garnering positive reviews – we ourselves gave it four stars and described it as "the best Windows Phone device out there" in our Nokia Lumia 800 review.