Further And Further Apart: Microsoft To Drop “Nokia” Name From Future Smartphones As Nokia Gets New CEO

There was a moment when Microsoft and Nokia were married; it was that time period starting when then-Nokia chief Stephen Elop went all-in with Microsoft’s new Windows Phone platform at the expense of Nokia’s homegrown options and ending when Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile business.

As the dust settles, Elop is back at Microsoft at the Executive Vice President of Devices, the “Nokia” name will disappear from Microsoft’s smartphones, and Nokia names a new CEO; the two companies are suddenly far apart and moving in opposite directions.

Stephen Elop Q&A
Elop answering questions

In a Q&A session yesterday (Elop’s first day at the new gig), the first question was about whether or not Microsoft would continue to use the Nokia brand name. “Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones,” replied Elop. “Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand.”

He did note that the Nokia X line will live on, possibly with the brand name intact, and he was bullish on the future of handset and services innovation that Microsoft can explore with these smartphones now that the two companies are no longer separate. Additionally, Microsoft will continue to license Windows Phone to other OEMs.

Nokia, meanwhile, has appointed a new CEO. Rajeev Suri will officially take the helm as of May 1st. Suri has been at Nokia for nearly 20 years, most recently serving as CEO of NSN, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens.

Rajeev Suri
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri

Suri has his work cut out for him. Following the Microsoft acquisition and decidedly uneven financials from Q1 2014, the company is in a delicate transition period. There is a plan, though; it includes a EUR 5 billion capital restructuring plan, as well as technological goals.

"The world of technology is on the verge of a change that we believe will be as profound as the creation of the internet" said Suri in a press release. "With our three strong businesses--Networks, HERE and Technologies [the latter is mostly its IP portfolio and licensing program]--and position as one of the world's largest software companies, we are well placed to meet our goal to be a leader in the technologies for a world where everybody and everything is connected."

Nokia, it seems, has its sights set on that “next billion” technology users, and it will be exploring new mobile technologies, well.

Even so, Nokia suddenly looks like a very different company--and so does Microsoft.