Microsoft Says Nokia Purchase Means Better Devices, Collaboration

With its $7.5 billion Nokia deal behind it, Microsoft is beginning to explain what the deal means now, and for its future.

Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia's Devices and Services business on Friday, April 25, and with it began the new process of explaining to the world quite what that means.

"As Microsoft and Nokia Devices and Services come together as an expanded family, we will unify our passion, dedication and commitment to bringing you the best of what our joint technologies have to offer," Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO and now the head of devices at Microsoft, wrote in an open letter.

"Together, we can connect and empower people with one experience for everything in their life in a world where it is mobile first and cloud first," Elop added. "From today onwards, the possibilities are endless. As now, we're one!"

On the Conversations blog, Nokia explained that everything its users love will stay the same.

"As Microsoft, we will continue to produce, sell and support the phones and devices you have come to love, including our award-winning Lumia and Asha ranges, feature phones and the Nokia X family of devices," wrote Nokia's Tiina Jaatinen. Imaging, music and location experiences, she added, will all continue to be "supported and enhanced."

Pointing to positives, Microsoft also offered a visual explanation, airing a new commercial playing up the bright colors of Nokia's handsets, set to The Kinks' Not Like Everybody Else. The ad features a handsome guy in primary Nokia colors, walking through a black-and-white world and attracting eyeballs as he goes.

"Everything just became a lot #morecolorful," says the message on the screen at the end.

Elop also made himself available for a live question-and-answer session about the deal April 28.

Regarding rumors around a name change, Elop said that Microsoft Mobile was a name constructed for the purposes of the merger, and that's not a brand customers will see. However, he did add, "Work is under way to select the go-forward smartphone brand."

While Elop gave a lot of expected answers, or apologized for what he couldn't share, he did say that one result of the merger will be better devices, thanks to better collaboration.

When asked whether Microsoft will keep up the pace of innovation Nokia set with the Lumias, Elop responded, "I think we can go even further than that. By combining with MSFT, we will each be able to innovate together in ways that we could not as separate companies."

Answering the next question—about why the Lumia 1020 didn't have better photo processing—he suggested an example of where the separation between the companies had hurt Lumia.

"The 1020 is consistently rated as one of the best camera phones," said Elop. "But, we could have gone further if the engineering teams between MSFT and Nokia were not in separate companies. As we come together, innovation will be able to move further."

Elop also addressed the type of concern that rose after Google purchased Motorola, a company it has since sold to Lenovo.

When asked whether other smartphone manufacturers will feel encouraged to produce Windows Phone-running devices, Elop responded, "It is good for Microsoft to encourage other OEMs to also build WP devices, and there have been some announcements in this direction recently. Our intent is for the Microsoft Devices Group to 'make the market' so that others can participate."

Elop even addressed the rumors that he was a "Trojan horse"—that he originally left Microsoft for Nokia with the intention of bringing back its handset assets.

"As for the Trojan horse thing, I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia," he wrote. "Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member."

In all, the messages were positive ones, about Microsoft embarking on something new.

As Jaatinen most plainly put it, "Today, most things will remain the same."

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