It looks like the rumors have come true and Microsoft is selling the part of its mobile business that deals with feature phones. Microsoft is reportedly selling this division to Foxconn’s FIH Mobile for $350 million. The company is also selling its Microsoft Mobile Vietnam arm as part of the same deal. In total 4,500 employees will be switching to Foxconn.
The news originally came from Tim Culpan, a reporter for Bloomberg, but has now been confirmed by Microsoft as well. But rumors of this potential sale started long ago, and have intensified as of late. After Microsoft's complete write-down of the Lumia and smartphone division it had purchased from Nokia, this move to ditch feature phones was not unexpected.
Microsoft has gone through an period where it has refocused its on productivity since Satya Nadella took hold of the company's reins. As part of that, the company moved away from its previous smartphone strategy and instead elected to release only a couple of devices every year. With that in mind it's no wonder that the company is ditching the feature phone business as well, which by all regards, is a business Microsoft never wanted to be in.
As part of the original deal with Nokia, Microsoft also licensed the Finnish company's name to be used on feature phones, a market where Nokia still held sway.
But it's highly likely confirmed that the brand name will also be sold off to Foxconn as part of this latest transaction. Nokia just announced it was buying back the rights for this brand and licensing them to a new company.
The deal is expected to go through by the end of the year.