Nokia lineup will see some changes, but some things will hold steady for now

Out with the old, in with the new -- sort of.  That's the message of a leaked roadmap of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) plans when it comes to the crucial branding and integration of its newly acquired devices unit, which it purchased from Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V).

The Microsoft-Nokia tieup took a new turn last September when Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Nokia Devices for €3.79B ($5.24B USD) and licensing Nokia's patents and software services (e.g. HERE maps) for €1.65B ($2.28B USD), in a deal initially worth $7.2B USD.  Adjusting for current exchange rates, the deal at its close was worth just slightly more -- around $7.5B USD.  The purchase wrapped up in April, after receiving regulatory approvals.

It was well known that as part of its purchase Microsoft received the right to use the "Nokia" brand on new and existing devices until 2016.  The leaked documents adds a bit more detail to that timeline:
  • New Lumia devices can use the "Nokia" name until November 25, 2015 (18 months)

    Nokia Lumia 930
  • New Nokia X devices (which use a branch of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS) can use the "Nokia" name until December 31, 2015 (19 months)
    Nokia X screens
  • "Other" new phones (Asha/feature phone brands) can use the "Nokia" name until April 25, 2024

    Nokia Asha
  • Strategy & Planning:
    "Microsoft brand will only replace the Nokia brand in product, applications and experiences when Microsoft has launched a new product into the market."
The latter point is particularly interesting and relatively new news -- that Microsoft will be able to continue to use the Nokia name on basic (Symbian) handsets for developing nations for nearly a decade.  Further, according to Neowin's interpretation of the text about branding replacement,  the branding switch may occur well before the deadline to give Microsoft room to switch its marketing efforts.  It's possible we could see the switch in branding as early as the 2015 Mobile World Congress at the end of Feb. 2015 or at Microsoft's own 2015 BUILD conference, in April 2015.

The document is dated from Jan. 2014, so while much of the details are new and intriguing, it may be a bit dated.  It refers to "Day One", which actually was April 25, 2014, the day the Nokia Devices acquisition wrapped up.

Nokia Microsoft branding
[Image Source: Microsoft via]

Other highlights from the document include:
  • Strategy & Planning
    • From "Day One", current handset families -- "Nokia Lumia, Nokia Asha, Nokia X" -- should continue to use the "Nokia".
    • Future devices will likely be dubbed the "Microsoft Lumia, Microsoft X, etc."
    • Store rebranding will be slow:
      "[Microsoft is] carefully planning how, when and where to introduce the Microsoft brand [to Nokia retail stores] over a significant period of time."
    • No clear plan is in place (as of Jan. 2014) as to how to rebrand the Nokia Care Centers
  • Marketing
    • The Nokia "Pure" font family will immediately be dropped for store and marketing efforts and replaced with Microsoft's official Segoe font family.

      Nokia Pure vs. Segoe
      Nokia's "Pure" font vs. Microsoft's "Segoe" [Image Source: Neowin]

    • Microsoft has not acquired:
      • The iconic "Nokia ringtone"
      • Nokia's trademarked slogan "Connecting People"
      • Nokia's hands logo

        Nokia hands logo
    • However... "All Nokia branded products must carry the Nokia tune as default, and logo as it does today. We are evaluating the impact of this decision on future product releases."
    • So Nokia owns the rights to these items, but Microsoft gets a very limited license to them.
    • The slogan will eventually be swapped for a Microsoft alternative:
      "tools for unleashing innovation in everyone on the planet"

As we've discussed, there's a fair likelihood that Nokia is planning a return to the market a few years down the road with either Windows Phone or Android handsets of its own, given the legal language in the sales document.  However, the longer license for Nokia Asha and feature phone branding suggests that if Nokia does make a return, its efforts will be confined to the smartphone space.

Sources: EVLeaks, via Neowin

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