Microsoft reportedly plans to ditch Surface brand; phone range to be "Nokia by Microsoft"

Ever since Microsoft completed its takeover of Nokia's devices business, questions have remained unanswered over how the company would integrate its acquisition, particularly when it comes to the thorny issue of branding and marketing. A few tiny bits of info were clarified in documentation leaked earlier this month, but much still remains unclear. 

The source of that information, perennial leakster @evleaks, has now revealed some more juicy info about how Microsoft plans to brand its devices in the future. He says that Microsoft is "reportedly in the final stages of licensing the Nokia brand", and that the ultimate aim of this is for its future smartphones to be marketed under the "Nokia by Microsoft" brand. 

Far more shocking is the claim that the company plans to ditch its Surface tablet brand completely, extending the Lumia brand to its own tablets instead. Nokia previously released a Lumia-branded tablet, the 2520, last year, but two brand in its tablet portfolio is one too many to efficiently manage, and the decision has apparently made to 'streamline' the range at the expense of the Surface brand.

Nonetheless, this is a particularly surprising claim given how much Microsoft has invested in the Surface brand, most recently with the launch of its well-received Pro 3 tablet

Now, we know this information seems a bit out there, considering Microsoft's investment in Surface, but they also spent a huge sum acquiring the rights to Lumia as part of the acquisition deal. And when you consider that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is now in a key position to drive this decision, it doesn't seem that far-fetched. Elop was also reportedly behind the decision to suspend the launch of the Surface mini at the eleventh hour. 

Source: evleaks.at  

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It's not a Microsoft device/service unless it gets rebranded every few years just to throw people off! We mustn't have any consistency now.

I highly doubt they will ditch the Surface brand. It's gaining lots of traction and doing well now. I think what they meant was the Lumia brand will be used for RT tablets, phablets and phones and Surface will be used for full Windows tablets. On the Surface Facebook page recently, I saw them reply to someone's post saying "Most tablets run apps, Surface runs full programs." I found it odd they would say that, but I think my speculation is correct based on that.

For now I'm going to take this with a grain of salt. I can't believe they'd do something as stupid as ditching the Surface brand for their tablets.

I said it before and saying it again. Naming isn't MS' strong side... They need to,

Lumia = Phone
Courier = Surface RT
Surface = Surface Pro

I know the courier has some baggage but people will get over it.

I'd suggest that the Surface brand and associated products has not lived up to expectations and MS wants to start fresh.

Nokia by Microsoft is dumb.

I agree. Someone over at Redmond is trying to make the brands they bought work, and I hope they get their money's worth, but Surface has gotten traction in a way Lumia has come nowhere near to. It's taken all this time for the 2520 to hit a store here just last week, and interest is next to zero. Then again, Surface banners at the moment only flying at megastores, and the high street ones all dumped them..

Like someone else said, go with Lumia for the RT devices, stick with Surface for the Pro devices. That's neat, clean and everybody wins.

Considering how well established the Surface brand is at this moment, it would be a terrible mistake.
In less than 2 years, Microsoft put the Surface brand on the map as a significant and recognizable product. Lumia, for tablets, means almost absolutely nothing.

Elop would be a fool to ditch the Surface brand just because he helped establish the Lumia brand. Both brands have a different appeal. Lumia is aimed at consumers and has a cool appearance. Whereas Surface is aimed at producers (business/students) and has a proffesional appearance.

I understand Microsoft wants to simplify their branding but 'Nokia by Microsoft' is almost as bad as 'Windows Phone 7 Series'. If they feel so strong about having one branding then why not just go for 'Nokia'? Do away with the Surface and Lumia branding and go all out 'Nokia', a brand that has both consumer and proffesional appeal and stands for quality.

Product names:
Nokia 640, 940, etc (successor to the Lumia phone series)
Nokia Tab 3 (successor to the Surface RT series)
Nokia Mini (rebrand of the Surface Mini)
Nokia Pro 4 (successor to the Surface Pro 3)

Makes sense. Why have two competing brands in the same space? I'd hazard a guess and say that Lumia is the better known of the two.

Can't see this rumour being true, they aren't going to throw away the surface brand like that. I agree they might not make a surface phone but no way the tablets are changing names.

- create a nearly perfect name for a tablet device: Surface
- get some traction with the name and the branding
- just as the ball gets rolling decide "Nope, let's change the name to Lumia..."
- if they thought things were bad before or even now, they were wrong

I mean really, what the hell are they doing in Redmond, seriously? Have all the brains just headed out for an extended (perhaps permanent) hiatus or something?

I understand why Microsoft wants to consolidate under one brand but I don't think they should do it with the Lumia name. And I know that people's opinion of this will be colored about how you feel about Nokia or Microsoft.

I feel like for larger devices and for anything PC the Surface brand is better than using Lumia. I've grown to appreciate the Lumia brand, but I associate it with smartphones. My other issue is while Lumia has become synonymous with Windows Phone, its never bend stamped on a Nokia phone. The Surface has its name on the device which brings another dimension.

What I would love to see is both brands continued use.

I don't buy into this exactly, I think this rumor might have a bit of fact in it but is crossing it's signals and making guesses.

What I expect, and what makes the most business sense, is that MS keeps the Lumia name for phones AND, later on, ARM based mini-tablets. It's a page out of the Samsung playbook with the Galaxy branding. Lumia phones and Lumia 8" tablets plus the 6" phablets we have now.

Keep Surface for x86 10" and the new 13" devices, real PCs, and maybe a future 15" ultrabook if they listen to fans but who knows about that one.

As for the Nokia licensing, they'll use it for a bit but I think they'd do fine with just branding things "LUMIA" later on and leaving it at that.

Microsoft® Nokia® Lumia® Windows® Phone® Series featuring Windows® Phone® 8.1® and enhanced Microsoft® Cortana® NT® 2014

rfirth said,
Microsoft® Nokia® Lumia® Windows® Phone® Series featuring Windows® Phone® 8.1® and enhanced Microsoft® Cortana® NT® 2014

lol

Well that sounds absolutely terrible. The name "Surface" just makes sense for a tablet, and Microsoft invested billions in promoting it. And on the "Nokia by Microsoft front," that goes against the claims they made of trying to make their brand names less confusing and wordy.

The patents Nokia hold are worth at least 5 billion. Plus the brand and the software Nokia is working on.

Also after Elop is gone I doubt Nokia's new board is ever going to let that happen.

Nokia is already in talks with Alcatel and Nokia owns the whole of NSN (which MS has no use for)

xchaser said,
I agree going forward they should call the phones Nokia Lumia and the tablets Nokia Surface.

Or Windows Phone/RT based computers (tablets/phones) will be Lumia and Windows 8 based computers (tablets/laptops?) will be Surface.

That's really the only way to reliably distinguish a Surface and Surface Pro product in a way consumers will understand and accept.

That's not what the article says nor does it make any sense for a manufacturer to use another manufacturer's name forever... specially when said manufacturer has not created the specific product line.

I think Surface is a much better brand for tablets, it's a rather clever name. If they are allowed to continue using Nokia, they should retain that for phones, as it's a massively established brand.

* Surface and Surface Pro for tablets
* Nokia Lumia by Microsoft for phones

I see it a bit differently

Lumia phones from "Nokia by Microsoft" for 18 months, then transition to just Lumia by Microsoft. (Windows 9 on ARM SKU, the merged RT/WP SKU that we know will be free)

Lumia tablets (Windows 9 on ARM SKU that we know will be free, desktopless)

Surface Pro tablets (x64 Windows 9 with desktop, laptop "replacement")

If the Lumia brand is to be retained for (what are now, RT) tablets, then they can drop the 'Pro' branding on Surface, since there is no other type.

However I think Surface and Surface Pro are a better fit for tablets, and keep Lumia for phones. IMHO.

You don't have to. This won't happen since Nokia still can use its own name after 2016 on every device the make.

While evleaks has a good record he clearly does not understand that MS didn't buy Nokia brand but the rights to use it for a while.

It seems like you don't understand. The Nokia by Microsoft will be used only in phones for 18 months. The Surface tablets will be replaced by Lumia branding, because Microsoft now owns Lumia.

Xabier Granja said,
It seems like you don't understand. The Nokia by Microsoft will be used only in phones for 18 months. The Surface tablets will be replaced by Lumia branding, because Microsoft now owns Lumia.

I actually understood that but imo it's an mistake. They will use it for 18 months and after that Nokia might start using their name again and it will just confuse people even more. Nokia phone and then Nokia from Microsoft...that's not a good plan if you ask me.

maybe they delayed the surface mini launch because they might name all windows RT based tablets as lumia and all Windows Pro based tablets as surface thereby removing all the confusion between the two!

That's exactly what I was thinking. There's no way they'd kill the Surface brand now...the Surface pro 3 looks like it's going to be really successful.

Guaranteed that they'll make the Surface RT lineup as Lumia's.

coolmob said,
maybe they delayed the surface mini launch because they might name all windows RT based tablets as lumia and all Windows Pro based tablets as surface thereby removing all the confusion between the two!

That...would actually be really smart.

coolmob said,
maybe they delayed the surface mini launch because they might name all windows RT based tablets as lumia and all Windows Pro based tablets as surface thereby removing all the confusion between the two!

That's the exact thought that crossed my mind too.

It would actually make sense, considering that MS might apparently combine WP and Windows RT.

Yeah, I thought that too, it makes perfect sense. When people think Surface, it's the Pro version that is more popular, plus they just released SP3 and a name change doesn't make much sense at this point... In the same way, Lumia Pro makes NO sense at all. This way you'd have Lumia tablets for work/play and Surface Pro tablets for serious work. Lumia even sounds more playful than Surface, it's a good fit. And as eddman said, considering one of the new SKUs for Windows 9/Threshold will be Windows on ARM, without a desktop and free for all ARM devices, it makes plenty sense that both Lumia phones and tablets will use the same SKU, making the Surface Pro line very, VERY different and hard to confuse with the Lumia line since Pros will have a desktop and Lumias will not, released with the metro version of Office.

This seems like a very solid branding strategy.

That make sense! What I still don't get is why MS needs the Nokia brand when they have the Lumia name which is more popular than the Nokia brand right now, MS please forget about Nokia brand and use your MS logo and Lumia period. I'm tired of seeing the Nokia brand on my Lumia 928 and I don't want to see it in future phones or tablets. This makes me think that MS don't trust themselves if they think their brand is not popular enough.

This makes way too much sense for them to be doing. I love me some MS products but they are NOT great at marketing sometimes. That would be ideal so lets hope that's the route they go.

coolmob said,
maybe they delayed the surface mini launch because they might name all windows RT based tablets as lumia and all Windows Pro based tablets as surface thereby removing all the confusion between the two!

never crossed my mind, but that is a great idea.

I tought Microsoft said that the Nokia brand won't be used any futher within a given time frame?

Also, for the past couple of days, Microsoft has been releasing updates to a couple of Nokia-branded apps to remove the Nokia brand.

Studio384 said,
I tought Microsoft said that the Nokia brand won't be used any futher within a given time frame

They did. But it seems they might be changing their minds after all. I'm all for it. Long live the Nokia brand.

Studio384 said,
I tought Microsoft said that the Nokia brand won't be used any futher within a given time frame?

Also, for the past couple of days, Microsoft has been releasing updates to a couple of Nokia-branded apps to remove the Nokia brand.

Apps don't need the Nokia brand. Phones do. If this is true, it's awesome.

Well not necessarily. They can use Nokia for 18 months, so it would make sense to transition from Nokia to Nokia by Microsoft and in 18 months, to just Microsoft.

It stated in the article is that MS is in the final stages of licensing the Nokia brand, so if the rumor is true, MS will be using the Nokia name to their advantage longer than 18 months.

Studio384 said,
I tought Microsoft said that the Nokia brand won't be used any futher within a given time frame?

Also, for the past couple of days, Microsoft has been releasing updates to a couple of Nokia-branded apps to remove the Nokia brand.

It could be short term even if it is licensed, then everything could be manufactured by Microsoft Mobile

Maybe in the future, what if Lumia = Phones and RT tablets, with one being called the Lumia Surface (currently Surface); While the Surface brand is kept and Surface runs Windows 8.1, while the Surface Pro keeps running 8.1 PRO?

Studio384 said,
I tought Microsoft said that the Nokia brand won't be used any futher within a given time frame?

Surface was an ill thought out name, so no loss. Anyone who didn't come down in the last shower, remembers the "Surface" was a coffee table type touch device that Microsoft said was going to conquer the world. Consumers announced it DOA tho.

ummm no, the surface table is anything but DOA. it is however NOT and never was a consumer device. it uses a different name now since the started using surface for the tablets, pixel sense I think. But it is a product aimed at enterprise meeting rooms and stores to use for showroom demo stuff.

'Surface' is at least a name that doesn't get mispronounced..unlike the numerous ways i've heard both 'Nokia' and 'Lumia' said.