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Microsoft to Put Its Mark on Future Smartphones

It's now Microsoft Lumia devices, not Nokia Lumia devices, that represent a fragment of the market dominated by Android and iOS.

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Hello, Microsoft Lumia. Goodbye, Nokia Lumia.

Microsoft confirms that all future Windows Phone models it makes will bear its own brand, rather than the Nokia name, as expected.

“We want to simplify and unify our smartphone branding,” Microsoft phone unit marketing chief Tuula Rytila said in an interview. “We are really using Lumia as connective tissue.”

This has basically been the plan all along (Microsoft has only had temporary rights to use the Nokia name with its smartphones). However, Microsoft did all sorts of brand studies to validate its choices.

As we’ve said before, the name issue isn’t the real challenge confronting Microsoft. The Lumia, by any name, still occupies just a fraction of a smartphone market dominated by the iPhone and Android-based devices.

During its earnings report Thursday, Microsoft said it sold 9.3 million Lumia phones last quarter, a slight bump from a year earlier, with total phone revenue of $2.6 billion.

Phone revenue for the current quarter is forecast to drop to somewhere between $2 billion and $2.2 billion, but most of that decline is from the feature phone segment. Microsoft said it expects both a sequential and year-over-year increase in Lumia smartphone sales for the quarter.

Microsoft isn’t totally out of the Nokia name game, either. The software giant will still use the Nokia name on its basic phones (and it has a 10-year license to do so). However, it will start transitioning its products (as well as the associated Facebook and Twitter pages) over to the Microsoft Lumia brand.

Microsoft has also been operating even though there is a still-existing Nokia company focused on network equipment and mapping technology. By next spring, Rytila said, Nokia will reassume control of its Web page, with a friendly handover to take place and phone customers still to be sent Microsoft’s way.

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