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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.

Elop did note, however, that it will continue to need the assistance of its developer community as well as its hardware partners. Windows Phone partner HTC said last week that its relationship with Microsoft remains unchanged. "It is GOOD for Microsoft to encourage other OEMs to also build [Windows Phone] devices, and there have been some announcements in this direction recently," Elop wrote. "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."

New hardware? No comment

Given that the session took place on a Nokia blog, Elop wasn't publicly asked about — nor did he answer — questions about Microsoft's other hardware efforts, namely the Surface tablet and the Xbox. The closest he came was when he addressed a question about the integration of the various platforms.

"I think that people are looking for and deserve a consistent and continuous experience across their different devices and platforms," Elop wrote. "A good example of this today is OneDrive, where I have consistent access to my stuff across all of my devices. Same thing with Skype."

Elop did, however, endorse the Nokia X, the Android-powered phone which connects to a variety of Microsoft services. Alhough the Nokia X appears to have been a modest success, it will apparently live on. 

"Microsoft acquired the mobile phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next billion people to Microsoft's services," Elop wrote. "Nokia X uses the [Microsoft] cloud, not Google's. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, and OneDrive for the first time. We've already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on [Microsoft] services."

And as for the colorful Nokia Lumia design scheme? That apparently won't go away, either. "I'm pretty sure you will see this colorful' personality transcend into Microsoft," Elop wrote, noting that employees dressed in Lumia colors on Monday morning. 

Left unsaid was whether or not Microsoft's Xbox would be done up in Lumia yellow, the fate of a Surface phone, or how Microsoft plans to further address the post-PC world. On the last issue, Elop issued an arguably more provocative statement about Microsoft's future as part of a press release. 

"The vast majority of people do not have, nor will they ever have a personal computer," Elop said. "They haven't been exposed to Windows or Office, or anything like that, and in their lives it's unlikely that they will. And yet through the mobile phone business we have an opportunity to introduce what we like to call the next billion people, the next billion people to connect to the Internet, to Microsoft, because they'll have an opportunity perhaps to have a first Skype experience, or a first experience with Bing, as an example."


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