Microsoft has sold off the Nokia brand and its feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, for $350m (£243m). Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights. Earlier today Microsoft announced it was selling off its remaining assets in the feature phone business, in a deal with Foxconn valued at $350 million.
The company expected to complete the transaction in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. After the deal is over, nearly 4,500 employees will have the opportunity to work with FIH Mobile, or HMD Global.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the deal, though, is Nokia's exclusive global branding and licensing deal with HMD, which includes phones and tablets. This is a rebirth of the Nokia brand in the mobile device market. Nokia
The move marks the return of Nokia - acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for more than $7 billion - to the mobile phone business. CEO Arto Nummela held senior positions at Nokia and now leads Microsoft's mobile business for Greater Asia, Middle East, and Africa, as well as Microsoft's feature phone business.
HMD's new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Google Android OS. After being acquired by Microsoft previous year, the Nokia brand has been knocking about in Redmond, with the feature phone business being put into 'maintenance mode, ' the Lumia name being converted to Microsoft Lumia, and the Nokia N1 tablet being produced under license. Some rumors say Microsoft may be focusing on a Surface Phone launch next year and it's unlikely we'll see another Lumia this year.