LEAKED: Redmond not allowed to sell 'Nokia' smartphones after 2015
WP will be even more finished when it's finished - Belfiore
Microsoft has 18 months left to use the Nokia brand name on its smartphones and mutant Androids, according to leaked notes prepared for internal marketing guidance.
Microsoft bought Nokia's phones business in April. Ironically, Redmond can continue using the Nokia brand longest for the part of Nokia it bought but didn't really want - the dumbphones. Reports from the negotiations that culminated in a deal suggest that Microsoft (sensibly) wanted Nokia's HERE maps division, but not the legacy Series 40 feature phone business. Nokia, meanwhile (sensibly) wanted to get shot of the dumbphones, and keep HERE. In the end Microsoft was saddled with a high volume, low margin business.
According to the leaked notes, the Nokia trademark will disappear from Lumia and X (Android) ranges sold by Microsoft next December 2015, but Redmond can keep using it on Series 40 feature phones. It's likely that the Lumia brand will continue - but you never know.
The info is contained in guidelines that appear to have been prepared before the deal closed, and published by blogger Evan Blass, better known as Evleaks, here.
On Twitter, Microsoft's corporate VP for Windows Phone Joe Belfiore has been justifying the decision to remove deeply integrated social network support from the operating system.
One of Windows Phone's unique features when it was launched was system level support for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but now Microsoft uses third party APIs - so it's as badly integrated as iOS or Android, and throws the user into the social network's own app. Belfiore says this allows Microsoft to update the support for social networks more often. Why this couldn't be done by rolling out platform updates more frequently - say, every few months, which is how often Apple updates iOS - is a mystery.
Business users will hardly care - Windows Phone 8.1 is a huge improvement over its predecessor - but the loss of deep integration means Microsoft can no longer run its "Smoked By Windows Phone" campaign, in which common tasks could be completed much more quickly than on Windows Phone's clunkier, older rivals.
In reality, it's probably a consequence of the huge rewrite undertaken since the first version of WP in 2010 - which was really a quick hack of lightweight code knocked together for Microsoft's Zune player. Almost everything has been rewritten since then, although the transition was so well executed that nobody noticed.
Belfiore also confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 was still a work in progress. He tweeted that 8.1 was "finished" for the already-shipping Lumia 630 but, um, would be even more finished once it received an update. Then it would be done finished with all the finishing. Presumably.
The leaked guidelines also confirm the end for the award-winning Nokia font Pure™, whose "generous, rounded characters seem almost to flow into each other, as if there's no beginning and no end," Nokia said when it unveiled the font in (where else?) Hoxton back in 2011. "Their movement is gentle and pleasing, like ripples on a pond." ®
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