Microsoft Lumia Smartphones Are Official, Nokia Not Quite Gone

Microsoft drops the Nokia name from future Lumia smartphones, but reserves the brand for entry-level devices.

Microsoft Lumia

New Lumia smartphones will carry Microsoft's branding, not Nokia, confirmed Tuula Rytila, the company's senior vice president of marketing for phones.

As indicated in earlier reports and Microsoft's own posts on Facebook, the company is moving away from the Nokia brand. "Our global and local Websites are going through a transition as we speak and in the coming days our social channels will get a new name too—they will be called Microsoft Lumia," said Rytila in a statement.

"This work continues across our devices, packaging and retail, to name a few," she continued. "It's all going as planned, and we're excited that our integration in to Microsoft continues to be on track."

Those efforts are coming at a cost. On Oct. 23, Microsoft's fiscal 2015 first-quarter earnings report revealed that integrating the Nokia Devices and Services unit carried a steep $1.14 billion price (11 cents a share) during the quarter. The impact can also be measured in jobs.

On July 17, Microsoft announced it was eliminating 18,000 jobs. Nokia's handset unit was particularly hard-hit. Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Microsoft's Devices Group and former CEO of Nokia, announced that the action "would result in an estimated reduction of 12,500 factory direct and professional employees over the next year."

While its name will be absent from future Lumias, expect the Nokia brand to stick around, added Rytila.

"Microsoft will continue to sell Nokia-branded, entry-level category of phones, such as the Nokia 130," she said. "We have licensed the Nokia brand for such devices." Microsoft has a 10-year deal with Nokia—the telecom and software units were not part of the acquisition—to use the brand.

The move comes nearly six months after the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant completed the acquisition of Nokia's handset business in a deal valued at $7.1 billion. "Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an April 25 statement, referencing the company's shift toward a "mobile-first, cloud-first" business strategy.

Product plans are under wraps, but the executive teased that her group was working on "unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon." She described the forthcoming reveal as "a natural progression as all devices that once came from Nokia now come from Microsoft."

For current owners of Nokia Lumia devices, it's business as usual. "Microsoft continues to sell and support the Nokia Lumia phones that are out in the market, such as the recently announced Lumia 830 and Lumia 730/735," Rytila said.

Rytila's remarks indicate that Microsoft is ramping up efforts to incorporate smartphones into the company's ecosystem of software, cloud and hardware offerings. She described Lumia as "part of a compelling family of Microsoft products like Xbox, Windows and Surface along with a range of services such as Skype, Office and Bing."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...