Microsoft to begin killing off Nokia brand, replacing it with Microsoft Lumia

22 Oct 2014

The Lumia 1320 group

Starting with France this month, Microsoft Lumia will be the new brand name for devices that previously carried the Nokia and Windows Phone brands.

Nokia France is to become the first of many countries that will use Microsoft Lumia on its Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts.

The rebranding will be stepped up in the coming weeks.

Indications that the Nokia brand was about to be killed off were noted back in April as soon as Microsoft’s US$7.1bn acquisition of Nokia was completed, referring to its newly acquired mobile division as Microsoft Mobile Oy rather than Nokia.

In September, documents emerged showing vital branding guidelines for the Christmas sales season, whereby Microsoft will drop the manufacturer name Nokia from product references.

New commercials in the US for Microsoft’s mobile products, such as Lumia 930, no longer mention Windows Phone and refer to the OS as Windows. HTC ads for its new Windows Mobile device refer to it as the One M8 for Windows.

In July, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, as part of his strategy to turn Microsoft into a cloud and devices company, revealed Microsoft was eliminating 18,000 jobs – mostly at Nokia. The company announced a streamlining plan will see 14pc of its workforce cut, including 12,500 professional and factory positions in the Nokia Devices and Services business.

This is not the end of the line for the Nokia brand

The Lumia 735

Nokia still exists as its own entity in areas such as network infrastructure with Nokia Networks, its vast patent portfolio and its highly regarded Nokia Here mapping business.

The remaining entity could potentially create Nokia-branded devices following a moratorium which ends in 2016, as Microsoft is licensed to use ‘Nokia’ on smartphones for only 18 months after the deal to sell Nokia’s mobile unit closed this summer.

Microsoft can continue to use the Nokia brand on feature phones for 10 years subsequent to the acquisition, but in 10 years will there be any feature phones left in the world?

The question now is how Microsoft will brand its new smartphones in the coming year. Will it have the brand Microsoft emblazoned on the devices? We’ll have to wait and see.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years