It would have taken a miracle for Microsoft to turn Nokia around

Microsoft erased another part of its massive Nokia mistake this morning, selling its feature phone business for $350 million to Chinese manufacturer Foxconn. Microsoft had already written off the entire value of the original acquisition, and has scaled back its phone business dramatically in the last year.

As this chart from Statista shows, Nokia’s smartphone business was already on a steep decline when Microsoft bought it in 2014. Nokia’s total phone sales peaked in late 2010 at over 120 million. The company signed its smartphone platform deal with Microsoft the following quarter. But by the time Microsoft bought it, its annual sales had already been cut in half. It would have taken a miracle — or a serious misstep by competitors like Apple or the Android handset makers — for Microsoft to turn that business around.

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