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Elop: Brand Change In Works For Nokia Smartphones

ESPOO, FINLAND — Microsoft’s devices group won’t be using the Nokia name on smartphones “for long,” and “work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand,” said Stephen Elop, the group’s executive VP.

In a live online chat, Elop said Microsoft Mobile Oy won’t be the brand. “Microsoft Mobile Oy is a legal construct that was created to facilitate the merger [of substantially all of Nokia’s device and services business with Microsoft],” Elop said. “It is not a brand that will be seen by consumers.”

The Nokia brand, he said, “is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phones products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones.”

In the chat, Elop also defended Nokia’s decision to drop other smartphone OSs to focus on Windows Phone. “When we made the decision to focus on Windows Phone back in 2011, 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,” he explained. “That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMs from those days pushed to the side.”

As for Microsoft selling its own handsets in competition with other phone makers, Elop said, “Our intent is for the Microsoft devices group to ‘make the market’ so that others can participate, so we will be doing things to facilitate other OEMs as much as possible.”

On April 25, Microsoft completed its acquisition of substantially all of Nokia’s devices and services business.