Microsoft Mobile Devices Sales rumored to disappear, Nokia feature phones license sold off
Cellphones have been difficult for Microsoft to not only get into, but to maintain its presence in. The acquisition and subsequent disposal of Nokia’s mobile hardware division was characterized as sad, mismanaged, misguided and inevitable, depending on who you talked to. Still, taking a $7.6 billion hit on the balance sheet and emptying 7,800 cubicles had to be addressing a weakness somehow.
It may prove to have been not enough as VTECH out of
ChinaMalaysia is reporting from its sources that Microsoft will sell its license to make Nokia-branded feature phones over to Foxconn this month. The license runs through 2024. Microsoft is currently promoting eight feature phone models on its site.
Redmond is also to make some major HR moves as it is rumored to be merging the Microsoft Mobile Devices Sales unit into its general Microsoft Devices Sales department. The group will be overseeing the future Surface Phone launch. Following that event, it’s also said that half of the original MMDS employees will be laid off. Others will be transferred while the rest may be “fired” in one way or another.
Since the Nokia write-off, several rounds of layoffs have hit MMDS while the company itself has been clear that its work on Windows 10 Mobile isn’t the focus now. The operating system has seen its market share continue to fall against established ecosystems Android and iOS and even a few upstarts like Samsung’s Tizen.
Will workforce cuts this deep heavily affect the software unit? Or will downsizing get handled properly to avoid tiffs with manufacturing partners and enterprise clients? We’ll have to see if all this comes to light first.