Microsoft’s handsets won’t be called Microsoft Mobile, but they won’t use the Nokia name for much longer either – and not even Stephen Elop knows what they’ll end up being called.
The former Nokia CEO has revealed that it’s not yet clear at Microsoft what brand the company’s phones will use, following Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset division.
After the deal closed on Friday, Microsoft documents indicated that the division was being called Microsoft Mobile, but Elop has suggested that this is merely a holding name.
“Microsoft Mobile Oy is a legal construct that was created to facilitate the merger,” he said in an online Q&A session. “It is not a brand that will be seen by consumers.”
“The Nokia brand 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,” he added. “Work is underway to select the go-forward smartphone brand.”
Asked for more details, he said “the marketing and product folks” were laying plans for a “shift to consistent brand”.
Keeping Nokia X
Elop also revealed that Microsoft plans to keep the Nokia X line of Android handsets, despite their being based on a rival platform.
“Microsoft acquired the mobile phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s services,” he said. “Nokia X uses the [Microsoft] cloud, not Google’s. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, Outlook.com and OneDrive for the first time. We’ve already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on [Microsoft] services.”
Elop moved from Microsoft to lead Nokia, before signing the deal with his former employers that saw the mobile division acquired. In the Q&A, he batted aside accusations that he was a “trojan” sent to work for Nokia to ready it for takeover: “As for the trojan horse thing, I have only ever worked on behalf of, and for the benefit of, Nokia shareholders while at Nokia.”