Microsoft and Nokia are finally making amends to save their mobile businesses after going back and forth with their deals and acquisitions. And the latter (with which Indians have a long fond memory) is finally making a comeback.
Microsoft has today announced that its selling part of the mobile hardware business that it acquired from Nokia back in 2014. Microsoft has finally reached an agreement to sell its entry-level feature phone business to Foxconn Technology subsidiary, FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global,Oy for a meagre sum of $350 million. After the completion of the agreement, about 4500 employees will be transferred to and will have the opportunity to join either FIH Mobile or HMD Global.
HMD Global, Oy is a newly founded company in Finland, the home of the ex-mobile giant Nokia. In another strategic agreement with HMD, Nokia is finally making its much awaited return to the mobile and tablet market on a global scale. The agreement grants HMD with brand rights and intellectual property licensing from Nokia. This news comes in-parallel to Microsoft announcing the conditional transfer of rights to HMD to use the Nokia branding on feature phones and other design related rights.
Microsoft still retains the right to use and build Windows 10 Mobile phones under the Lumia moniker, and support phones from other OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.
As part of Microsoft’s feature phone deal, the company will eventually transfer all of its feature phone assets, including software, brand, services and even the care network. It will also transfer other assets, including customer contracts, and critical supply agreements. So yes, Windows Phones are now virtually dead.
The agreement is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2016, same as Nokia.
There had been rumors previously that Nokia was returning to the mobile business and it did try to make a comeback with the N1 series but eventually failed. Due to agreement complications, Nokia’s hands were tied and it couldn’t return to the mobile business and operate freely. The company even sold its Here Maps division to automobile manufacturers after seeing no use of the service without a mobile handset business.
But now it seems that Nokia is finally ready to make waves in the smartphone market by making a return with help from HMD and FIH. HMD is dedicated to make Nokia-branded phones and tablets using Google’s Android platform, in a bid to unite one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system.
Ramzi Haidamus, the President of Nokia Technologies says that,
Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name. 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.
Under the brand agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobiles and tablets, covering both brand and intellectual property rights for the next ten years. HMD and Nokia Technologies have further signed an agreement with FIH, which holds part of the feature-phone business assets handed over by Microsoft. The two companies together will establish a collaborative framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. It will help in the marketing and sales of the consumer-trusted Nokia brand and bring it back from the dead.
The partnership-venture with HMD will eventually be run by Arto Nummela, who held senior positions at Nokia and Microsoft’s global feature phone business. The designated-CEO of HMD say that the company is focused on creating a unified range of Nokia mobiles and tablets that resonate with customers ideology.
Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, which is why our business model is centered on the unique asset of the Nokia brand and our extensive experience in sales and marketing. We will work with world class providers in manufacturing and distribution to move quickly and deliver what customers want.
Comment down below – Who’s excited to use an Android-powered Nokia phone in the coming months?