While admitting that the last few years were bumpy ones for Nokia, Stephen Elop noted that many people don’t appreciate just what a tough spot Nokia was in when he joined as chief executive.
“I know that there is a lot of emotion around some of the hard decisions that we had to make,” the former Nokia CEO and newly minted Microsoft devices chief said in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Nokia’s website.
“Back in late 2010 and 2011, we carefully assessed the state of the internal Nokia operating system efforts,” Elop said. “Unfortunately, we could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped THREE years earlier! And the Meego effort was significantly delayed and did not have the promise of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again.”
The chat comes as Elop and the Nokia devices team begin the first full week as part of Microsoft, following the closing of the deal on Friday.
As for where Microsoft is headed with the Nokia business, Elop noted that although Microsoft has the right to use the Nokia brand name for a period of time, that isn’t its plan for smartphones.
“The Nokia brand is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phones products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones,” Elop said. “Work is under way to select the go-forward smartphone brand.”
One name that won’t be used is Microsoft Mobile Oy (though it has a certain Yiddish truth to it). Elop noted that name (“oy” is a Finnish word for companies) “is a legal construct that was created to facilitate the merger.”
“It is not a brand that will be seen by consumers,” he said.
Elop also promised something catchier than the multiple brands used when Nokia and Microsoft were separate operations.
“While we are not ready to share precise details, I can assure you that it will not be the ‘Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network’ … too many words! That somehow doesn’t roll off the tongue.”
As for the Nokia X, the company’s Android phone, Elop noted it remains part of the strategy.
“This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, outlook.com and Onedrive for the first time,” Elop said. “We’ve already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services.”
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