Microsoft sells off feature phone business, Nokia grants license to newly founded company
Instead of breathing fresh air into a slowly flagging family of mobile devices that was once synonymous with industry innovation and box-office success, Microsoft’s 2014-completed acquisition of Nokia’s phone business appears to have accelerated the downfall of Lumias and Windows Mobile.
Meanwhile, Redmond didn’t even try to revive feature phones, accepting the market moved past the X lineup, Series 40 or Asha roster, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise the recently rumored offloading of that particular department has already materialized.
Pending regulatory approval, of course, and “other closing conditions”, although we don’t see what might stop FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy from wrapping up the $350 million deal sometime “in the second half of 2016.”
The former buyer is a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, while this HMD is apparently a “newly founded company based in Finland” that, surprise, surprise, also just nabbed an “exclusive global license to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years.”
As such, chances are Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contractor manufacturer, will be in charge of the actual building of future Nokia phones, both basic and smart, plus tablets following in the footsteps of the N1, with HMD however holding “full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution.”
The startup’s CEO position is reserved for Arto Nummela, the current head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa and a former Nokia senior exec, with Florian Seiche, the Senior VP for Europe Sales and Marketing at MS, acting as president.
In other words, Nokia and Microsoft’s traditional design and managerial DNA should still be instilled in the licensed-out brands, while Redmond continues to “develop Windows 10 Mobile and support” recently released Lumias, as well as devices from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.