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Elop Nixes 'Microsoft Mobile' Brand for Nokia Devices
Posted April 28, 2014
Elop Nixes 'Microsoft Mobile' Brand for Nokia Devices
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By Barry Levine. Updated April 28, 2014 11:23AM

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Now that Microsoft has completed its purchase of Nokia's mobile division, one of the big questions is the new entity's name. Microsoft Nokia? Microsoft Mobile? Windows Phone phones?

Ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, now executive vice president of the Devices Group at Microsoft, on Monday nixed the Microsoft Mobile name, which he acknowledged had been used in legal documents. But, he said in a live question-and-answer session from Espoo, Finland, Microsoft Mobile "is not a brand that will be seen by consumers." In Elop's new job, he oversees Nokia's phones as well as Surface tablets and Xbox video game consoles.

That name was first brought to light by NokiaPowerUser.com. Last week, it quoted a letter from Nokia to the existing base of business suppliers to its Devices and Services. "Please note that upon the close of the transaction between Microsoft and Nokia," the site quoted the letter, "the name of Nokia Corporation/Nokia Oyj will change to Microsoft Mobile Oy."

'Will Not Be Used'

Elop said that the Nokia name is available for use -- reportedly through a 10-year license -- but "Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones." He added that the company is now working on a new brand. "I can assure you" he said, "that it will not be the 'Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network'...too many words!"

Of course, Lumia could be a leading contender, since that line of Nokia phones has been doing well. Apparently, Microsoft wants to start fresh or somewhat fresh with its branding, instead of building on the brand equity that Nokia has, especially in emerging markets.

After one questioner noted that Nokia uses color as part of the brand, Elop said that "I'm pretty sure you will see this 'colorful' personality" become part of Microsoft's phone products.

Elop also said Nokia's use of the open-source Android operating system on Nokia phones, such as in the new X line of phones, is designed to "help connect the next billion people to Microsoft's services." Most of Nokia's phones use the Windows Phone OS. He added that the X line uses the Microsoft cloud, "not Google's," and as such is a good opportunity for Android users to be connected "to Skype, Outlook.com and OneDrive for the first time."

'The Right Decision'

"When we made the decision to focus on Windows Phone back in 2011," Elop said in the Q-and-A, "we were very concerned that a decision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course with Samsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android."

On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of the Finnish company's mobile business was deemed completed. Nokia said the final price could be higher than the $7.5 billion originally announced. About 30,000 Nokia employees are expected to move to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Although Microsoft Windows' smartphone market share is about 3 percent worldwide, the Nokia purchase provides the American company with 14 percent of the world market for mobile phones, including both feature and smartphones.

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