Microsoft still undecided about using the Nokia brand

Microsoft has confirmed yet again that it will be keeping the Lumia brand, but is unsure what it would be doing with the Nokia brand name which it has the license to use for 10 years.

According to the deal between Microsoft and Nokia, Microsoft will be acquiring Nokia's devices division, and the Lumia and Asha brands, while Nokia would retain the "Nokia" brand name which it would license to Microsoft for use on feature phones for a period of 10 years. 

Now, a new report from CNET suggests that Microsoft is unsure whether it would use the Nokia brand at all, as Greg Sullivan, Director of Windows Phone, declined to confirm whether the brand will survive. The once iconic brand gave Windows Phone the much needed boost in markets which were traditionally ignored by Microsoft but now it seems that we may not see another Nokia phone unless the company re-enters the market in 2016 after certain terms of the deal between the two tech companies expire.

The Microsoft-Nokia deal is set to close soon and we will hear more about the plans of both the companies at the announcement. With new OEMs joining the Windows Phone bandwagon, it will be interesting to see what Microsoft does with the devices division as well.

Source: CNET | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

San Francisco woman captured footage of her attackers with Google Glass

Next Story

Nokia: Our MixRadio service will be key to "revitalizing the Microsoft brand"

49 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I'm guessing Microsoft will do something similar to the old Sony Ericsson deal. You could call the Phones in the first few years for example, "The Microsoft Nokia 920" or similar.
Nokia labelling will be on the front of the phone while Microsoft will emboss the lower rear of the case. The Nokia brand is big outside of the US and has recognition. I don't see MS throwing it under the bus for another name in the early part of their deal.

There was no such deal between Sony Ericsson, both were 50-50 partners. Later Sony bought out Ericsson in 2011. Lenovo is going to use the Motorola brand in the US is what we know right now.

I can see both sides of this article but when I search for a phone I usually type "Nokia 520" and usually skip the Lumia brand but I would do the opposite for a Samsung Galaxy phone, I just search for "Galaxy S4". Oh swell its a toss up

I'm pretty sure MS will not do this, but releasing specialty phones may greatly improve sales. An Xbox branded Windows phone, loaded with 64-GB of RAM and decent playing games would be the envy of many casual gamers. A Surface phone that plugs into a Surface dock, morphing the phone into a full Surface with larger screen and keyboard, would be wanted by many a business person. I want one.

aviator189 said,
they should keep the nokia name, it's still pretty huge among people in europe

I agree. Nokia has excellent goodwill, especially in Europe and Asia.

They are fully retarded if they keep that Nokia X project but don't use the NOKIA brand.
How the f**k do you plan to sell in emerging markets w/o the NOKIA brand ?
(yeah I know they will keep it for Asha )

There's so much good-will associated with the Nokia Brand around the world (and not so much with the Microsoft Brand at the moment, unfortunately) that it seems like a no-brainer that they should continue to use the Nokia Brand for the Lumia line for at least one more generation. For a transition period at the very least.

They need slow transition. Good example is AMD/ATI GPUs: first they moved "ATI" to model name so consumers could see "AMD's ATI Radeon HDxxxx" in price lists, then changed it to AMD so full name was like "AMD Radeon HDxxxx".

Also double names were not rare in phones. Sony Ericsson, BenQ Siemens...

Personally I think they should stick with the Nokia name for feature phones, low end phones, and the colorful fisher price looking phones even on the high end... i.e. consumer oriented phones.

On the other hand they should use Microsoft with a more sterile looking (blacks, metals, etc.) corporate oriented phone line.

I had a very similar response for all those clamoring for a Surface phone. Use Nokia and Lumia for the sexy models and the Surface name for the boring models with an emphasis on enterprise features.

But perhaps this may further segment the WP lineup and risk confusing consumers even more.

They have to keep the Nokia name. It is well known over seas. Removing it will be detrimental to all the growth they have achieved.

They should use Nokia as a brand name.

So instead of the Nokia Lumia series becoming the Microsoft Lumia the series should be named: Microsoft Nokia.

You can have a Microsoft Surface device, which has a proffesional appeal or you can have a Microsoft Nokia device, which is aimed at consumers.

Perhaps because Surface sounds like (is) a generic word and Nokia is so strongly associated with a brand, "Microsoft Nokia" to me sounds really, really bad.

Romero said,
Perhaps because Surface sounds like (is) a generic word and Nokia is so strongly associated with a brand, "Microsoft Nokia" to me sounds really, really bad.

I don't think people would go around calling it that. Just like people don't go around saying ''I'm going to Microsoft Skype my friend abroad''. The point is that Nokia is indeed such a strong brand that throwing it away to go for the weaker Lumia brand would be beyond stupid. If they dont like using multiple brands then throw away both Lumia and Surface. I like my Surface but from a business perspective I would name all devices 'Nokia'. It brings up nostalgic feelings and it stands for quality.

Ronnet said,
The point is that Nokia is indeed such a strong brand that throwing it away to go for the weaker Lumia brand would be beyond stupid.
Oh I agree, but they have to use and bolster the Lumia brand for the inevitable a decade later when they have to give up on the Nokia brand. But "Microsoft Lumia"? No, just no.

Romero said,
Oh I agree, but they have to use and bolster the Lumia brand for the inevitable a decade later when they have to give up on the Nokia brand. But "Microsoft Lumia"? No, just no.

I would first find out how much value the Lumia brand really has. if it's all still 'Nokia' then they might as well kill it off in favor of Surface (if that has more value of course). But they have a decade to build up another brand while the Nokia brand power helps them with the innitial growth needed to hit critical mass.

They should, Nokia is synonym of quality and durability.

I'd rather buy a "Nokia" phone than a "Microsoft" phone personaly... Nokia phones have a good reputation, "Windows" phones don't because of the Windows Mobile era

I'd go with Surface, then build the name up to mean something with a quality product and ad campaign. This would give them consistency with the phone and tablet.

So they already cannot use Nokia name for smart phones, only feature phones.

Instead of just lumia, a surface phone would be great for the flagship

I think the only place Microsoft shouldn't use Nokia name is in North America. The rest of the world could be useful.

If they had an ounce of sense, they'd keep the "Nokia" name. It was Nokia that drove 90% of the progress WP has had, not MS.

Wapoz said,
If they had an ounce of sense, they'd keep the "Nokia" name. It was Nokia that drove 90% of the progress WP has had, not MS.


they are not allowed to keep it for the smartphones

Then they should just spend a few more billion to license the name. It's a better option than WP going tits up a few years down the road and completely wasting all the billions they've pumped into it.

I dont think they will have a problem dropping the Nokia name and using their own. It is the Lumia name that stands out more. I dont ever hear anyone say the company name when talking about their phone. Its normally, I have a Lumia 520 not a Nokia Lumia 520.

techbeck said,
I dont think they will have a problem dropping the Nokia name and using their own. It is the Lumia name that stands out more. I dont ever hear anyone say the company name when talking about their phone. Its normally, I have a Lumia 520 not a Nokia Lumia 520.

I hear people mention Nokia and Windows Phone interchangeably. No one mentions Lumia, although they are somewhat aware that the name has something to do with the particular model of phone. Though even then, they usually just refer to the number.

techbeck said,
I dont think they will have a problem dropping the Nokia name and using their own. It is the Lumia name that stands out more. I dont ever hear anyone say the company name when talking about their phone. Its normally, I have a Lumia 520 not a Nokia Lumia 520.

Actually everyone I know refers to them as Nokia 520. No one uses lumia much as Nokia is much more known name!

Depends on your location and who you talk to I guess. Either way, I dont think anyone would be confused if they switched from Nokia to MS. Lumias have a very distinct look.

techbeck said,
I dont ever hear anyone say the company name when talking about their phone.
Actually I always hear people saying Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia and so on. Maybe they can consider a country-specific naming strategy, retaining Nokia where the name would help.

So because he decided to comment whether the brand will survive that means they are undecided??
I agree with the above comment that a Surface phone would be a fantastic move and unite the 2 devices even more.

I think they need to bring out a Surface phone, The Surface name is a new, fresh brand and is starting to take off and become more recognised. People still associate Nokia with the old dumb phones and are unaware of their smart phones which is one reason Windows Phone 8 isn't doing so well.

can we stop it with the whole "Surface Phone" idea? The Surface brand isn't that much more established than the Lumia brand, and besides, Lumia phones already represent the signature Windows Phone experience, it's pretty much already the best hardware, a Surface Phone is only going to look boring and unnecessary in comparison.

I do agree that most people still associate "Nokia" with their massive legacy which is part of why their Lumias haven't been selling well, but I still maintain that a Surface Phone would be seen as unnecessary. It might be a wet dream for some fanboys out there but that's about it.

This, its completely useless to release a Surface Phone. It will only compete with Lumia, there is no other competition.

So Microsoft moving into the hardware market and starting the same situation they have on the software market... The biggest competition of Windows is Windows.

I disagree. I've been in retail for quite some time and far more people are aware of the Surface brand vs the Lumia brand. Microsoft could keep the Lumia brand around for low and medium end Windows Phones and reserve the Surface brand for a high end device. That way there would be no overlap or competition with their own devices.

I'd extend that to tablets like the Lumia 2520 too. Lumia phones and tablets (hopefully with a 8" Lumia tablet) & Surface phones & tablets would provide more options to vary the hardware specifications and offer new and innovative products.

scorpian007 said,
I disagree. I've been in retail for quite some time and far more people are aware of the Surface brand vs the Lumia brand. Microsoft could keep the Lumia brand around for low and medium end Windows Phones and reserve the Surface brand for a high end device. That way there would be no overlap or competition with their own devices.


this is only true for the US. In the markets where the 520 (the best selling Windows phone) is selling like fast the Nokia brand means something.

scorpian007 said,
I think they need to bring out a Surface phone, The Surface name is a new, fresh brand and is starting to take off and become more recognised. People still associate Nokia with the old dumb phones and are unaware of their smart phones which is one reason Windows Phone 8 isn't doing so well.

the Surface device aren't selling that well anywhere, but you want a Surface phone? They need to stick to the strategy that Nokia has in place, which is a race to cheaper phones. Just take a look at the best selling windows phone. Everyone loves seeing "hero phones" but they don't sell as well as cheap ones do.

I feel they need to keeep the Surface name confined to tablets and use whatever name for the phones. I know that Surface is a big brand, but it isn't necessarily a good one.

A lot of people hate Windows 8, and are luke-warm towards the surface tablets. It get's even more confusing when you try to tell someone (who doesn't know anything about PCs) what the differences are between the Surface RT and Surface Pro (which is a REAL computer) So the definition of what a 'Surface' tablet is, is even muddled within just 2 products.

scorpian007 said,
I think they need to bring out a Surface phone, The Surface name is a new, fresh brand and is starting to take off and become more recognised. People still associate Nokia with the old dumb phones and are unaware of their smart phones which is one reason Windows Phone 8 isn't doing so well.
The Nokia brand has a lot more weight than the Surface. If anything, the Surface name is more "unrecognizable".

I don't agree. Lumia is a great brand but the way Nokia has expanded it to meet lower specs and lower prices, its best to split Lumia from high-end devices. Devices like the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 best fit the description of what a Lumia device is.

A Surface phone, while sounding like a Zune phone, isn't some fanboy wet dream. It's time Microsoft create a phone that has their signature quality. Whether its an aluminum build or polycarbonate. Their devices carry unique features. Like the 720p output on the Zune HD hence the name Zune HD. Or the Surface having a kickstand and a snap-in keyboard.

They need to expand their Surface form factor to phones. Whether that means a kickstand or kinect or HDMI-out, we need a high-end phone straight from Microsoft with their signature quality. Not a Lumia under the Nokia brand now owned by Microsoft.

red hook said,

this is only true for the US. In the markets where the 520 (the best selling Windows phone) is selling like fast the Nokia brand means something.

Agreed. Lumia is building up outside the US, although it's mostly Nokia that people are buying more than Lumia phones. I don't think Surface has much cachet anywhere yet (sadly).

To me they just need to keep things as they are now; don't even make it obvious that they are Microsoft phones. Keep it Nokia Lumia. not Microsoft Lumia, not Microsoft Nokia. ie. keep MS out of the names as the brand isn't strong. Why did Xbox do well, because MS was in small print hidden away; it seemed like a separate brand.

So just Nokia, Lumia or Nokia Lumia as if nothing has changed.

scorpian007 said,
I think they need to bring out a Surface phone, The Surface name is a new, fresh brand and is starting to take off and become more recognised. People still associate Nokia with the old dumb phones and are unaware of their smart phones which is one reason Windows Phone 8 isn't doing so well.

Here's a suggestion for branding how about "Microsoft" rebuild the name and really it doesn't have a bad rep. Windows, Zune, Kin, have a bad connotation but Microsoft is still a powerful name. MS Phone, MS Surface, MS Radio, MS Video, MS Xbox, etc. Its simple but if done correctly the brand commands power behind it. Windows is what drags everything down but place Microsoft in front of it the Windows gets turned into a product not the company. That's just my opinion.

TheShark said,
To me they just need to keep things as they are now; don't even make it obvious that they are Microsoft phones. Keep it Nokia Lumia. not Microsoft Lumia, not Microsoft Nokia. ie. keep MS out of the names as the brand isn't strong. Why did Xbox do well, because MS was in small print hidden away; it seemed like a separate brand.

So just Nokia, Lumia or Nokia Lumia as if nothing has changed.

MS is a very strong brand (in the recent Forbes list it was #1 in consumer perception while Apple was a surprisingly low #11, although they were #2 and #1 respectively in terms of brand value which is not a surprise). It's just that it attracts a lot of negative attention too that WP can do without, and "Microsoft Nokia Lumia" just sounds silly and a precursor to one of those insanely long product names they're infamous for. It's for these reasons and not the supposed MS brand weakness that I agree with your conclusion that continuing with "Nokia Lumia" is fine (and will be well received by all those places that love Nokia). A decade gives them enough time to build on the Lumia name, slowly de-emphasizing the Nokia part in preparation for it to be dropped entirely when they eventually lose the branding rights.

TheShark said,

Agreed. Lumia is building up outside the US, although it's mostly Nokia that people are buying more than Lumia phones. I don't think Surface has much cachet anywhere yet (sadly).

To me they just need to keep things as they are now; don't even make it obvious that they are Microsoft phones. Keep it Nokia Lumia. not Microsoft Lumia, not Microsoft Nokia. ie. keep MS out of the names as the brand isn't strong. Why did Xbox do well, because MS was in small print hidden away; it seemed like a separate brand.

So just Nokia, Lumia or Nokia Lumia as if nothing has changed.

Exactly said.. Keep thing as and keep moving at the pace that Nokia has.. Hell, I would even say to develop a 420. Keep pushing the price down.

"1st world" people will buy the expensive phones but lets face it, there is China, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. If Android has proven anything is that people want cheap phones.

More and more people want a "smart" phone that is also disposable. Surf the web, check email, games, movies and if you lose it...get a new one without having to sell a kidney

red hook said,
"1st world" people will buy the expensive phones but lets face it, there is China, Africa, South America and the Caribbean
Only China? What happened to the rest of Asia?

Romero said,
MS is a very strong brand (in the recent Forbes list it was #1 in consumer perception while Apple was a surprisingly low #11, although they were #2 and #1 respectively in terms of brand value which is not a surprise). It's just that it attracts a lot of negative attention too that WP can do without, and "Microsoft Nokia Lumia" just sounds silly and a precursor to one of those insanely long product names they're infamous for. It's for these reasons and not the supposed MS brand weakness that I agree with your conclusion that continuing with "Nokia Lumia" is fine (and will be well received by all those places that love Nokia). A decade gives them enough time to build on the Lumia name, slowly de-emphasizing the Nokia part in preparation for it to be dropped entirely when they eventually lose the branding rights.

And today Forbes say they have slipped to 24th:-

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/...ivals-take-spots-1-2-and-3/

Depends who you ask, and where you are. I just know there's a lot of people who dislike MS these days. Bad memories from Netscape days, IE6, Vista, getting a virus, there's a thousand reasons, none of them particularly fair or justifiable. #### happens, MS haven't always done the right thing - to me nowadays they are a great company with strong values and ethics, I much prefer them to Apple or Google and it upsets me to see them ranking so highly on such lists. But there are millions of people who don't think like me and hold grudges against MS and for that reason I think they need to work much harder on their branding, building a new image and in the meantime to help that (especially outside the US) the should capitalise on the Nokia brand which on the whole is stronger. I do know plenty of people who've said "never again" to Nokia as well, so it's far from clear cut, but on the whole Nokia has a better image in mobile than MS.

TheShark said,
And today Forbes say they have slipped to 24th
FYI Fortune is not the same as Forbes and who knows how differently these two calculate their rankings. But I agree that the MS name does attract a lot of negative attention that WP can do without, and definitely Nokia has more goodwill in the mobile space than MS.