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 chat earlier today, 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. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand.”
In the live 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. Today, we are using AOSP to attack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia.”
As for dropping the Symbian and Meego OSs, Elop said that “back in late 2010 and 2011, we carefully assessed the state of the internal Nokia operating system efforts. Unfortunately, we could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped three years earlier!” As for the Meego effort, he said, that effort “was significantly delayed and did not have the promise of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again.”
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.”
Last Friday, Microsoft completed its acquisition of substantially all of Nokia’s devices and services business. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the acquisition would build up Windows Phone smartphone share, enable Microsoft to target the affordable mobile devices market, and advance Microsoft’s transformation.