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'No' to Nokia name's future, 'yes' to the Nokia X: Stephen Elop holds post-Microsoft Q&A

Mark Hachman | April 29, 2014
For better or worse, Stephen Elop, Microsoft's new devices chief stuck to the script in introducing himself and Microsoft Mobile, which rose from the ashes of Nokia upon its acquisition from Microsoft.

For better or worse, Stephen Elop, Microsoft's new devices chief stuck to the script in introducing himself and Microsoft Mobile, which rose from the ashes of Nokia upon its acquisition from Microsoft.

Elop took to the pages of Nokia Conversations to address questions from the legions of Nokia fans in a Reddit-styled "Ask Me Anything" session that reiterated Microsoft's commitment to its customers and Windows Phone platform. One revelation of note: The intriguing Nokia X Android phone will apparently be around for a while.

With the close of the Nokia deal last week, Microsoft will slowly begin integrating the tens of thousands of Nokia employees that the deal brought with it, and begin folding the Lumia brand, plus its development and design teams, into Microsoft proper. And that was Elop's message Monday morning.

Case in point: The branding for the next Lumia. Elop said that, not unexpectedly, the existing branding could not remain the same — though neither "Nokia" nor the rumored "Microsoft Mobile" branding will be used for smartphones in the future.

"Now that we are One company, the marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a consistent brand," he wrote. "While we are not ready to share precise details, I can assure you that it will not be the Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network' ... too many words! That somehow doesn't roll off the tongue..."

Elop declined to address whether the 1020 would receive a true sequel, but said that Nokia's imaging hardware would persist, as expected. "While I can't comment on specific product plans, it is safe to say that imaging will continue to be an important differentiator for us in the future."

Best of Nokia now at Microsoft

Likewise, the apps and services that Nokia offered on the Lumia phone line will transfer to Microsoft. Elop wasn't asked about, nor did he directly answer, what the future will be of the Windows Phone mapping application. Lumia phones use HERE Maps, the map technology that Nokia has licensed to Microsoft for four years

"We have been building a lot of apps that have been specific to Lumia, but now those people and efforts will transfer to [Microsoft]," Elop wrote. " We believe that these types of capabilities are critical to differentiation, so you will see these themes continue."

Likewise, Elop wrote, phones like the well-regarded Lumia 1020 could have been pushed further if Nokia could have drawn on Microsoft's talent. "[We] could have gone further if the engineering teams between [Microsoft] and Nokia were not in separate companies," he wrote. "As we come together, innovation will be able to move faster."

 

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