Microsoft is selling the feature phone business it acquired from Nokia back in 2013 to a subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer Foxconn for $350 million, it announced today.
At the same time former owner Nokia said it has inked a deal to license its brand to HMD Global, a new Finnish company run by ex-Nokia and Microsoft devices staff, to create a new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets .
Holding onto a diminishing feature phones business clearly did not hold much appeal for Redmond which — despite its talk of continued development of its own smartphone platform — has been focusing its efforts on building up a services offering via apps made for Android and iOS devices.
Last month, for example, it brought its Word Flow keyboard app, originally developed, for Windows over to iOS as an app.
The company had already been testing a brand licensing strategy in mobile devices, working with Foxconn on an Android based tablet, the N1, for the Asian market back in 2015.
Commenting on the impending return of the Nokia brand to the mobile market, Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, dubbed it an exciting new chapter , adding in a statement: Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets.