Stephen Elop confirms Nokia brand to be phased out on smartphones

Nokia’s former CEO Stephen Elop, currently executive vice president of Microsoft’s mobile devices group, has confirmed the Nokia brand will be phased out from future smartphones.

Nokia brand to be phased out from future smartphones now the company has been acquired by Microsoft, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop confirms.

Responding to a question from Marketing Week during an online “ask me anything” session on the Nokia Conversations blog to answer questions about Microsoft’s acquisition of the Finnish company’s handset business last week, Elop confirmed that while the Nokia brand name is available for Microsoft to use for a period of time under license, it “will not be used for long going forward for smartphones”.

He continued that now Microsoft and Nokia are “one company”, the marketing and product teams will now lay the plans for the shift to “a consistent brand”.

Elop joked: “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.”

It had previously been rumoured that Nokia could be rebranded to “Microsoft Mobile” once the acquisition was complete, following the leak of a letter to the Nokia Power User blog. However, Elop said the “Microsoft Mobile Oy” name was a legal construct created to facilitate the merger and that it will not be a brand seen by consumers. 

Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft has acquired the “Lumia” and “Asha” brand names that Nokia has used for its most recent smartphone and feature phone ranges respectively. Microsoft has also licensed the use of the Nokia brand name on current products and on feature phones under a 10-year agreement, although the remaining parts of the Nokia company – which include the HERE mapping division, Nokia Systems Networks and Advanced Technologies – will retain ownership of the brand.

Apps and other services specific to its Lumia range of smartphones – such as Nokia Mixradio – are also being transferred to Microsoft as part of the deal. Elop said these types of capabilities are “crucial to differentiation”, so it is likely these themes will continue, but he did not provide further details about branding.

Analysts have previously denounced the decision to drop the Nokia brand name as “risky”. 

UK consumers prefer the Nokia brand over Windows Phone, according to the latest data from YouGov’s Brand Index (27 Apirl). Nokia’s Index score – which includes six measures of consumer perception including reputation, impression, recommendation, quality, satisfaction and value – scores 23, lower than only Samsung and Sony across the entire list of 29 handset manufacturers and mobile operators. Windows Phone on the other hand is in 14th place in the table, scoring 2.6, according to the latest data.

Today (28 April) Nokia launched a marketing push designed to showcase how to retain its points of difference after being acquired by Microsoft. The first video in the series focuses around colour, a personality Elop said he believes will “transcend into Microsoft”. 

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