Product buzz has been circling the deal between Microsoft and Nokia, which has spelled the end for Nokia products and ushered in a new, interesting age for Microsoft mobile phones.
With Nokia’s customers, Microsoft now has a sizable portion of the mobile market: What it does with these assets could alter the smartphone landscape and give you, the consumer, new choices.
Microsoft and Nokia
You may recognize Nokia as a mobile phone brand from Finland that stretched back to the first days of cell phones. But after the heyday of the 1990s and early 2000s, Nokia started losing traction to Apple, Samsung and other big phone names. Microsoft, eager to grow its own Windows phone markets, agreed to acquire the mobile giant back in 2013 for around $7.5 billion. The process took a while, and was eventually completed in April 2014.
The results of the completed acquisition can be boiled down to a few facts:
- The Nokia brand is through. You will not see any more Nokia phones on the market. Certain Nokia services, mostly in Europe, will remain active, but this will have no impact on the mobile product world.
- Smartphones will keep being products, but Microsoft will be in charge of them. The latest word from Microsoft headquarters is that it will completely rebrand Nokia phones into a new product altogether, separate from past Microsoft mobile phones.
- Microsoft has the ability to use the names “Nokia,” “Lumia,” and “Asha” for a decade. But Microsoft’s intention appears to be to create an entirely new brand. However, these names may still be used in continued product support for older devices, or perhaps for a select few entry-level mobile devices and accessories.
- The new, once-Nokia devices will tap into Microsoft services, notably Microsoft’s cloud services, Outlook, OneDrive, and similar Microsoft brands.
- The latest phone from Nokia, the Nokia X, will continue to be supported. This is a little strange since the Nokia X uses competitor Android software, but on the other hand it also uses Microsoft cloud services, so Microsoft is chalking that up as a win for now.
What’s in a Name?
So, what products should you be on the watch for? That is a very good question, and one that Microsoft is in the process of answering. A new brand appears imminent, but it probably won’t be “Windows Phone.” Microsoft created a subsidiary called “Windows Mobile” to facilitate the acquisition, but has assured the public that this is not the name of the new phone brand.
This creates a bit of a limbo for Nokia assets. Microsoft is working on product design and marketing and will no doubt release information whenever it comes up with a new name and direction for its products. One thing is certain: Microsoft will NOT simply sell off the assets at this time. It intends to strengthen its position in the mobile by creating new products through its Nokia buy.
What Microsoft Mobile Means for You
For you, this means that Nokia products will soon be no more. However, you do not need to immediately ditch your Nokia devices, especially if you bought a Nokia X: Microsoft will continue support for these products until it can replace them with a new generation of its own devising.
Meanwhile, the Microsoft mobile strategy is two-pronged. It will start selling licenses for Windows software for both smartphones and tablets, allowing other manufacturers to jump and create devices that use a Windows operating system. This is similar to the model that Google has been following for years with its Android licensing.
Second, Microsoft will be marketing its own, once-Nokia phones, presumably using a combination of Nokia assets and its own ideas about product design. This will create a new line of smartphones for those aren’t quite satisfied with the current market, which often seems dominated by Apple and Samsung products. If you are a fan of Nokia or Microsoft products, keep a close eye on the market to note when these new products hit the shelves — and what innovations they might include.