Microsoft’s mobile divisions are no stranger to upheaval. After all, the US company added Nokia’s mobile unit to the stable several years ago and mobile saw plenty of layoffs last year.
Now, there’s more big news as the Redmond company is spinning off the feature phone unit.
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The US company has announced plans to sell the feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of manufacturing colossus Foxconn, and HMD Global for US$350-million.
The deal will also see Microsoft selling its Vietnamese manufacturing facility to Foxconn.
“Upon close of this deal, approximately 4500 employees will transfer to, or have the opportunity to join, FIH Mobile Ltd. or HMD Global, Oy, subject to compliance with local law,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“As part of the deal, Microsoft will transfer substantially all of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements, subject to compliance with local law,” the US company clarified.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.
Microsoft also pledged that it would continue to develop and support Windows 10 Mobile software and hardware.
The return of Nokia – on Android
HMD Global has wasted little time in taking advantage of the sale, also announcing plans to sell Nokia-branded phones and tablets, as part of a licensing deal with Nokia Technologies.
“HMD has signed a strategic licensing agreement with Nokia Technologies, the advanced technology and licensing unit of Nokia Corporation, giving HMD sole use of the Nokia brand on mobile phones and tablets worldwide for the next decade, and cellular standard essential patent licenses,” the company said in a statement.
The plans will also see FIH Mobile (Foxconn) building these new Nokia-branded devices.
“HMD has signed an agreement with FIH and Nokia Technologies to establish, on closing of the Microsoft transactions, a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets,” the company continued.
What kind of devices can we expect from this new partnership then? Well, it’ll be pretty similar to the Nokia N1 Tablet in one way…
“HMD plans for its future Nokia-branded smartphones and tablets to run on the Android operating system, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile software and app development community.”