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In news that’s kind of sad, but hardly unexpected, former Nokia CEO and newly minted Microsoft devices head Stephen Elop has revealed that the Redmond-based tech giant eventually plans to kill off the Nokia brand name in its handsets.
In a Q&A on the recently rebranded Conversations blog, Elop stated that “work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand.”
The Nokia brand, he explained, “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”.
Ultimately though, it seems the new name will be dictated by the “One Microsoft” strategy unveiled by Steve Ballmer shortly before announcing his retirement late last year.
Indeed, Elop made quite a lot of noise about how much more innovative the company could be under Microsoft’s control.
“By combining with MSFT,” Elop said, “we will each be able to innovate together in ways that we could not as separate companies. Lots of good things ahead”.
As an example of the apparent surge in innovation that the two companies will be able to achieve together, Elop pointed to what could have happened with the 1020. “The 1020 is consistently rated as one of the best camera phones,” the former Nokia CEO said. “But, we could have gone further if the engineering teams between MSFT and Nokia were not in separate companies. As we come together, innovation will be able to move faster”.
The Nokia name will, of course, not disappear entirely — it’ll live on in Nokia’s infrastructure business, mapping services, and advanced technology group.
Addressing accusations that he was a Trojan Horse, sent by Microsoft to put Nokia in a position where it could buy it, Elop was adamant that he had put his all into making Nokia a stronger company.
“I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia,” he said. “Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member”.
Perhaps the most bizarre answer though saw Elop exulting about how great Uber works on the Windows Phone browser. To be fair though, he did also mention life-logging app Track my Life and ATIS, which he apparently finds indispensable as a pilot.
At this point, it’s unclear how wise a business decision it is to ditch the Nokia name (something Microsoft could perhaps have fought harder to keep) given how strong it still is in emerging market countries.