While today’s deal was largely about Microsoft divesting themselves of their feature phone business, it seems besides the 4,500 manufacturing employees they will be losing to Foxconn they will also be losing some key Microsoft Mobile executives to the new holding company HMD, which has licensed the Nokia brand from Microsoft and will be assisting Nokia in re-entering the smartphone market.
The new company, HMD, is to be headed by Florian Seiche, Microsoft Mobile’s Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing. The executive, who will be President of HMD, previously worked at HTC and Nokia, oversaw the massive growth of Windows Phone in Europe prior to Microsoft’s “retrenchment” from the smartphone market, and is a real win for Nokia and a loss for Microsoft’s mobile sales in Europe.
Microsoft will also be losing Arto Nummela, Vice President for Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business, who will become CEO of HMD upon closure of the Microsoft deal.
The impact of these losses are mainly mitigated by the fact that Microsoft has already largely withdrawn from these markets and from retail sales for Lumia handsets in general, and will be relying on OEMs to carry the flag.
The only question which remains is how far Microsoft’s dismantling of their manufacturing and retail network will go before they eventually release the Surface Phone next year, and if this will negatively impact the distribution of the device. Going by global availability of Surface tablets it seems likely the rumoured handset will only roll out slowly around the world.
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