Microsoft is pulling out of the "feature" phones business. But its Nokia-branded handsets - which are powered by the Series 30 operating system, making them less powerful than its Lumia Windows phones - will continue to live on. The division that makes them has been acquired by HMD Global, a new private equity-backed firm, and Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile. Nokia said it had signed a 10-year deal for them to continue using its name. "Feature phones were never a core part of Microsoft's strategic aim behind the purchase of Nokia's devices business," commented Ian Fogg from the IHS Technology research team.
In mid-May, Microsoft announced it would sell its feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn. Yet on September 20, Microsoft launched yet another Nokia-branded feature phone. When Microsoft announced it would sell its feature phone business for 350 million, company officials noted that the deal would be subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions. As far as I know, that deal has not yet officially closed; the expected date, last we heard was the second half of calendar 2016. The same way that LinkedIn bought PointDrive after Microsoft announced its intentions to purchase LinkedIn -- but before the deal has been finalized and approved -- it's business as usual.
Many new PCs used to come with Microsoft Office pre-installed. Microsoft announced it will sell its feature phone business to a subsidiary of Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn. In a statement released Wednesday, Microsoft says it will transfer its feature phone assets including brands, software and services to FIH Mobile and Finnish company HMD for 350 million. The deal is expected to close during the second half of this year. Microsoft says it will "continue to develop" Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia smartphones running the software.
The future of mobile phones in much of the world will look a lot like devices of the recent past, according to a new report. As millions of users come online across the world in India and Africa, 'dumb phones' -- as opposed to the hyper-connected and increasingly sophisticated smart phones -- have found a burgeoning new market. The Wall Street Journal reports that the pared down devices, which look similar to mobile phones of yore from Motorola and Nokia, have become particularly popular due to their accessible price point -- some of them sell for about $25 -- and their cheap access to unlimited data. Smart'feature phones,' also known as dumb phones, are a class of phones with limited capabilities comped to smart phones. The devices often use a physical keyboard as opposed to a touchscreen and are far cheaper than their smart counterparts.
FILE - This July 3, 2014, file photo, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft reports financial results Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Microsoft unveiled what could be one of its last Nokia mobile phones, as it prepares to complete the sale of its feature phone business later this year. On Tuesday, the tech giant announced the Nokia 216, which will be available in India. The device can run two SIM cards, and includes two cameras with LED flash, an FM radio and Bluetooth support for owners wanting to use Bluetooth headsets.