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Microsoft smartphones are dead: company fires 1,850 employees, announces focus on software development

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Microsoft smartphones are dead: company fires 1,850 employees, announces focus on software development

Last week, we got the news that Nokia is staging a comeback to the smartphone business and will be licensing its name to newly formed company HMD Global, who will manufacture and sell Nokia-branded handsets. As you may know, this year, Nokia regains its rights to put its name on smartphones, while Microsoft still held on to the Nokia brand for feature phones. However, HMD went ahead and purchesed the rights to the Nokia name for feature phones, while Foxconn bought the facility where said phones were manufactured.

Microsoft, naturally, issued a press release, letting everyone know that it's selling its rights to the Nokia name as well as the factory in question, but the text contained a line that was a bit offbeat and its very existence in a press release that concerned feature phones raised some concerns. The line in question reads:



An odd choice of words there – it made it seem like Microsoft would be scaling down yet again, possibly focusing entirely on software development. Well, to the disappointment of many Lumia fans, it seems that is the case.

Executive VP of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson sent an internal letter to all Microsoft staff, letting them know of some impending changes within the company. Yes, you guessed it, Microsoft will be scaling back on smartphones again, which will, in Myerson's words, “impact up to 1,850 jobs worldwide, up to 1,350 of which are in Finland".

This could be the last high-end Lumia we get to see for a while
The VP then continues to explain how Windows 10 is currently installed on more than 300 million active devices, Surface and Xbox satisfaction is at a record high, and earlybird developers are loving the HoloLens (Microsoft's cool augmented reality, a direct answer to VR). However, the Microsoft smartphones continue to be preferred only by a small group of companies and individual consumers. For this reason, the company has made the decision to "focus" its phone hardware efforts.

Meanwhile, Redmond will continue its software development efforts for multiple platforms. The goal is to reach as many consumers as it can with its services, keeping its name on users' minds. It will also continue to work on the mobile version of Windows 10, looking to turn it into an appealing platform, which more 3rd party OEMs will want to build phones for.

So, in other words, Microsoft smartphones may not be entirely gone, but we can expect much less devices to come out of the company in the following years. The letter and press release shy away from talking about any work on hardware and instead insist that the company will focus on "security, manageability and Continuum". And what of the rumored Surface phone? Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if it will ever exist.

You can find the official Press Release by CEO Satya Nadella, as well as the letter from the Executive VP below.

+- Press Release


source: ArsTechnica

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