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Nokia lives to make another mobile phone – but at Foxconn, not Microsoft

Microsoft has announced that it is selling its feature phone hardware arm, which operates under the Nokia brand, to Foxconn.

The $350 million deal will see the American company’s “entry-level feature phone assets,” including 4,500 staff, transferred over to Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Ltd.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will also be transferring the rights to all of its feature phone brands, which would include Nokia.

All of which sounds very dramatic, but actually isn’t at all. Microsoft’s feature phones only really had a presence in select developing markets, and the company hasn’t issued any notable support to its existing devices for almost two years. It’s been exclusively focused on Windows Phone ever since, believe it or not.

It’s worth emphasising the point: this is Microsoft’s feature phone department we’re talking about here, which is completely separate from its Windows 10 Mobile-powered smartphone business.

“Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO,” reads the company statement.

Related: Microsoft Surface phone: 5 features we could see

Which hopefully translates to: “Just hold out for the Surface Phone. It’s coming.”

Last month it emerged that Microsoft had sold just 2.3 million Lumia phones during its last quarter, representing a 73 percent drop from the previous year.

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Are we looking at the beginning of the end for the Lumia brand, and the final traces of Nokia as a mobile hardware company?

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