Microsoft is reportedly preparing to drop the Nokia name from the company’s line of Lumia smartphones.
A post on Nokia France’s Facebook page first mentioned the change, according to an Oct. 22 BBC News report.
Here in the United States, Nokia posted the following Facebook update on Oct. 21: “In the next few days you’ll receive a message directly from Facebook about this page changing name. We’re about to become Microsoft Lumia! Watch this space for more news soon …”
The Nokia U.S. home page declares, “We are now Microsoft.” A brief message greets visitors, stating, “Now that Nokia Devices is part of the Microsoft family, we’ve moved to Microsoft Mobile.”
The move suggests that Microsoft is stepping up efforts not only to harmonize its marketing but also to distance itself from the ailing brand. The BBC report noted that the name change arrived nearly six months after the Nokia acquisition was completed, “despite Microsoft agreeing to a 10-year deal to use the Nokia name on mobile products.”
Microsoft announced on Sept. 3, 2013, that it was acquiring Nokia’s mobile handset business for $7.1 billion. Nokia’s telecommunications equipment and navigational software unit continue to operate under the Nokia brand.
The deal was finally completed on April 25. “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 a statement at the time.
“Since then, Microsoft has quietly shifted away from the Nokia brand,” observed the BBC.
On July 17, Microsoft announced that it was cutting 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its global workforce, as part of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant’s reorganization. Nokia would be particularly hard-hit during the first round of layoffs, said Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Devices Group and former CEO of Nokia.
Bringing Nokia into the fold “would result in an estimated reduction of 12,500 factory direct and professional employees over the next year,” he stated at the time.
Days later, on July 22, Microsoft announced that the Nokia Devices and Services unit cost the company 8 cents per share during its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter, causing the company to miss analyst estimates. Wall Street had expected earnings per share of 60 cents versus 55 cents per share on income of $4.6 billion.
The Lumia line of Windows-based phones, despite being generally well-received by critics, has barely made a dent in unseating Android and iOS from the top of the smartphone market.
Last month, analysts at ComScore named Android the top smartphone operating system for July 2014 with 51.5 percent market share. Apple placed second with 42.4 percent, while Microsoft claimed a distant third place with 3.6 percent.