Is it time to rebrand Windows Phone, too?

By Kip Kniskern | In Featured, Mobile | Posted September 17, 2013 78 comments

This morning, Microsoft unveiled a new logo, a redesigned interface, and a new set of features for Bing. The logo moves Microsoft’s search property away from the controversial (to typographers, at least) extra-kerning old logo and in line with the company’s efforts to create a unified look for “One Microsoft”. Here’s a look at the logo along with its counterparts (image from Microsoft via The Verge):

Interesting, but maybe not overly significant that Bing is one of the four “core” colors comprising the Microsoft logo. But the image got us to thinking about Windows Phone’s place in it all. Currently, Microsoft doesn’t list Windows Phone in its official logo images over at the Microsoft News Center, but it does use a version of the skewed Windows 8 logo (it’s at the top of this page).

But the time may be ripe for more than just a logo makeover. With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, along with a license to use the Nokia name – for current phones only – for 10 years, Microsoft is going to need a name for their new phones moving forward. In announcing the Nokia phone business acquisition, Steve Ballmer alluded to naming issues during a conference call:

We can probably do better for a consumer name than the “Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020,” and yet, because of where both companies are, and the independent nature of the businesses, we haven’t been able to shorten that name.

We would be very surprised if Microsoft moved away from the Lumia brand, which they do hold the rights to use moving forward, and so changing the name from “Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020″ to “Microsoft Lumia Windows Phone 1020″ would actually increase the name by a few letters. With a big new push for Windows Phone once the acquisition finalizes early next year, it might just be the perfect time to roll out a new brand, too.

So was Ballmer hinting at a rebrand? What do you think, should Microsoft drop “Windows Phone”? And for what? Would rebranding the whole Windows Phone line as “Lumia” make sense? (That might not make Microsoft’s other OEM partners, who are apparently still intent on releasing future Windows Phones, too happy). Should Microsoft continue to try to push the “Microsoft” name, as it did when it rebranded Windows Live ID to “Microsoft account”, and the core ex-Windows Live apps to… nothing? Will they become Surface phones? Or should Microsoft launch a whole new brand for their new in-house Windows Phones?

Do you see another rebrand in Microsoft’s future?

Posted September 17th, 2013 at 10:41 am
  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think it’s possible, but it won’t come until Windows Phone Blue, Q1/Q2 2014.

  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think it’s possible, but it won’t come until Windows Phone Blue, Q1/Q2 2014.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P62PZOLAIBC2L6ZJQAOPPHIDMY Tristram

    Microsoft’s name is toxic in mobile telephony. They should come up with something that won’t remind people of this name or Windows.

    • Shaun

      I agree. Windows has had too many mobile failures. I like the idea of using the “Surface” name. They could try to blur the lines between devices by calling it a “Surface Mini.”

      It might also be a good idea to just use Nokia by itself. Maybe have a line of phones named after constellations or stars. Call it the “Nokia Regulus” or “Nokia Vega”.

      • GameCube

        You have the Surface RT and Surface Pro, so Surface Phone is a good name that follows the OS it uses.

      • http://macrosofter.wordpress.com/ quikboy

        Unless Microsoft plans on being totally Apple with its phone OS, I don’t think HTC, Samsung and others would be cool with using Nokia OS.

      • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

        Microsoft has the rights to use the Nokia name, for 10 years, for current devices. Nokia owns the Nokia name, so Microsoft can’t use “Nokia” for any future devices, even if it wanted to.

        • GameCube

          They can use “Nokia” for future Asha and feature phones. They are only unable to use it for Windows Phone devices.

    • rlon47

      Absolute rubbish. Microsoft’s name scores “very good” in the latest RQ score of corporations. They don’t score as high as they once did, but the name isn’t “toxic” or any other nonsense. Tech blogs truly don’t represent the views of general consumers.

      http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/2013%20RQ%20Summary%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P62PZOLAIBC2L6ZJQAOPPHIDMY Tristram

    Microsoft’s name is toxic in mobile telephony. They should come up with something that won’t remind people of this name or Windows.

    • Shaun

      I agree. Windows has had too many mobile failures. I like the idea of using the “Surface” name. They could try to blur the lines between devices by calling it a “Surface Mini.”

      It might also be a good idea to just use Nokia by itself. Maybe have a line of phones named after constellations or stars. Call it the “Nokia Regulus” or “Nokia Vega”.

      • GameCube

        You have the Surface RT and Surface Pro, so Surface Phone is a good name that follows the OS it uses.

      • http://macrosofter.wordpress.com/ quikboy

        Unless Microsoft plans on being totally Apple with its phone OS, I don’t think HTC, Samsung and others would be cool with using Nokia OS.

      • http://www.theforwardist.com/liveside Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

        Microsoft has the rights to use the Nokia name, for 10 years, for current devices. Nokia owns the Nokia name, so Microsoft can’t use “Nokia” for any future devices, even if it wanted to.

        • GameCube

          They can use “Nokia” for future Asha and feature phones. They are only unable to use it for Windows Phone devices.

    • rlon47

      Absolute rubbish. Microsoft’s name scores “very good” in the latest RQ score of corporations. They don’t score as high as they once did, but the name isn’t “toxic” or any other nonsense. Tech blogs truly don’t represent the views of general consumers.

      http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/2013%20RQ%20Summary%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

  • CharlesKGim

    Tiles on a UI are like pimples on a face.

    • publicelement

      Icons on UI are like measles on face
      Widgets on UI are like scars on face…

      • Jeff Chapman

        Yeah, he deserved that.

    • Jackie

      And your UI would consist of what?

      Icons? Widgets? Kinda like a Windows 95 Desktop?

    • SoThenISaid…

      …and derp in a comment is like poopy on a shoe. Or something. ; )

  • CharlesKGim

    Tiles on a UI are like pimples on a face.

    • publicelement

      Icons on UI are like measles on face
      Widgets on UI are like scars on face…

      • Jeff Chapman

        Yeah, he deserved that.

    • Jackie

      And your UI would consist of what?

      Icons? Widgets? Kinda like a Windows 95 Desktop?

    • SoThenISaid…

      …and derp in a comment is like poopy on a shoe. Or something. ; )

  • Marcio Correa

    Most likely Windows Phone is considered Windows, just like the XBOX PC, XBOX Console, XBOX Windows Phone is all part of the same XBOX. It’s silly if they start breaking away when their original goal of rebranding was to bring all teams together in order to create a powerful identity. So if Windows Phone is supposed to work seamlessly with Windows, then it shouldn’t be a separate category, even though it’s a separate “SUB” category.

    • Jerad

      Agreed. The author said, “Currently, Microsoft doesn’t list Windows Phone in its official logo images over at the Microsoft News Center[.]” If Windows Phone is in fact Windows, then the one logo covers it. After all, it is the same logo on the start buttons on both device types.

    • James

      Windows Phone is considered a sub-brand of Windows. They said this before. Just like Windows Azure, Windows Server, etc. One master logo for the sub brands.

    • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

      Agreed. I’ll go a step further and say that the OSes will eventually coalesce into one. Your Windows Phone will be just another device that runs Windows. The OS will be intelligent enough to adapt itself to the unique form factor and all your apps and services will work across both. I’m not saying that WP will go away (or even that it should). I think the best features will be incorporated into Windows, and it’ll just be “Windows.” I guess the same could be said for Xbox, but I think that’s way further down the road.

  • Marcio Correa

    Most likely Windows Phone is considered Windows, just like the XBOX PC, XBOX Console, XBOX Windows Phone is all part of the same XBOX. It’s silly if they start breaking away when their original goal of rebranding was to bring all teams together in order to create a powerful identity. So if Windows Phone is supposed to work seamlessly with Windows, then it shouldn’t be a separate category, even though it’s a separate “SUB” category.

    • Jerad

      Agreed. The author said, “Currently, Microsoft doesn’t list Windows Phone in its official logo images over at the Microsoft News Center[.]” If Windows Phone is in fact Windows, then the one logo covers it. After all, it is the same logo on the start buttons on both device types.

    • James

      Windows Phone is considered a sub-brand of Windows. They said this before. Just like Windows Azure, Windows Server, etc. One master logo for the sub brands.

    • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

      Agreed. I’ll go a step further and say that the OSes will eventually coalesce into one. Your Windows Phone will be just another device that runs Windows. The OS will be intelligent enough to adapt itself to the unique form factor and all your apps and services will work across both. I’m not saying that WP will go away (or even that it should). I think the best features will be incorporated into Windows, and it’ll just be “Windows.” I guess the same could be said for Xbox, but I think that’s way further down the road.

  • SonofSpermcube

    Iphones and almost all Android phones don’t explicitly announce their operating system in the model name. Hell, pre-Windows Nokia phones didn’t either.

    They fucking CAN shorten the name, but they just gotta keep their hopeless brand alive! .

  • SonofSpermcube

    Iphones and almost all Android phones don’t explicitly announce their operating system in the model name. Hell, pre-Windows Nokia phones didn’t either.

    They fucking CAN shorten the name, but they just gotta keep their hopeless brand alive! .

  • cwa

    From a OS perspective, i hope ms will unify Windows and Windows Phone even further. Your PC, tablet and phone just runs with “windows”.
    for me the Lumia and the Surface brand can go hand in hand. Lumia is the more shiny, colorful brand and surface is (at least for me) the more elegant, exclusive brand. Similiar to iphone c and s series.

    (Microsoft) Lumia 1020
    (Microsoft) Surface 1001 (number only if different surface phones are planned)

    both devices run with windows (phone)

  • cwa

    From a OS perspective, i hope ms will unify Windows and Windows Phone even further. Your PC, tablet and phone just runs with “windows”.
    for me the Lumia and the Surface brand can go hand in hand. Lumia is the more shiny, colorful brand and surface is (at least for me) the more elegant, exclusive brand. Similiar to iphone c and s series.

    (Microsoft) Lumia 1020
    (Microsoft) Surface 1001 (number only if different surface phones are planned)

    both devices run with windows (phone)

  • Jackie

    Yeah the Windows part especially needs to be dropped. For the great masses all this does is associate Taskbars, Blue Screens and other things with a Phone, it’s not a good association to have, at least in the eyes of the general non-tech public.

    The trouble with ‘Lumia’, is it’s a name that’s open to being mispronounced (Lum like Gum), which isn’t desirable either.

    If they do change it, which i hope they do, it needs to be short and snappy and a word everyone can pronounce properly.

  • Jackie

    Yeah the Windows part especially needs to be dropped. For the great masses all this does is associate Taskbars, Blue Screens and other things with a Phone, it’s not a good association to have, at least in the eyes of the general non-tech public.

    The trouble with ‘Lumia’, is it’s a name that’s open to being mispronounced (Lum like Gum), which isn’t desirable either.

    If they do change it, which i hope they do, it needs to be short and snappy and a word everyone can pronounce properly.

  • http://questionanswerresponse.wordpress.com/ b4rtw

    If Microsoft would be very bold they would differentiate Windows from consumers and enterprise.
    Enterprise loves Windows, taskbar, desktops etc. They don’t want change.
    Consumers on the other hand like change. New apps, new OS capabilities, new layouts, new everything.
    So, how about Surface as a hardware brand, and Lumia as a software brand for consumers?
    Radical, I know, but that might just need to happen…..

    • bricko

      How about we have a SURFACE Phone….short sweet name….

      • bricko

        Or….how about an XPhone

        • http://questionanswerresponse.wordpress.com/ b4rtw

          I think taking the Windows brand out of the phone does a world of good for consumer perception

  • http://questionanswerresponse.wordpress.com/ b4rtw

    If Microsoft would be very bold they would differentiate Windows from consumers and enterprise.
    Enterprise loves Windows, taskbar, desktops etc. They don’t want change.
    Consumers on the other hand like change. New apps, new OS capabilities, new layouts, new everything.
    So, how about Surface as a hardware brand, and Lumia as a software brand for consumers?
    Radical, I know, but that might just need to happen…..

    • bricko

      How about we have a SURFACE Phone….short sweet name….

      • bricko

        Or….how about an XPhone

        • http://questionanswerresponse.wordpress.com/ b4rtw

          I think taking the Windows brand out of the phone does a world of good for consumer perception

  • Naceron

    Metro was a good name for mobile OS if only Microsoft secure it ! :/

  • http://twitter.com/Naeron Naceron

    Metro was a good name for mobile OS if only Microsoft secure it ! :/

  • uberlaff

    Windows Phone should be rebranded to Windows, because that’s what it will be in the future.

    The hardware line deserves it’s own brand. I like Lumia and I think it was gaining traction. Surface is good too. Pick one and don’t feel that you are required to talk about Windows anymore. Let the product stand on it’s own!

    Apple, Google, and Samsung have built devices that don’t rely on the OS as part of the brand. It over complicates things and confuses the user.

    (as a side note… losing the Nokia brand on phones is going to hurt sales initially as they build the new brand. Nokia brand is too powerful in the mobile space and it was stupid for MS not to license it.)

    • GameCube

      They can use it for 10 years. Why do they need to change the name now? Ballmer is a retarded as the phone isn’t called “Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020″ but “Nokia Lumia 1020. It’s a great brand as it’s simple, easy to remember and passes the point that the 1020 is better than the 920. They should just keep Nokia Lumia for Nokia’s hardware and Microsoft Surface for Microsoft’s hardware. They have different hardware and software. It’s like the difference between Nexus 4 and Moto X. Surface is straight Windows Phone without Nokia apps and Lumia has the Nokia apps that people like. No need for a rebrand now. Wait some 5 years for the transition to start.

      • uberlaff

        From what I have read (and haven’t heard differently) the Nokia brand can only be used on Asha phones.

        • GameCube

          Yeah… been reading about this today and they did say that Nokia would be used for Asha and feature phones but Lumia for smartphones. I still think they should keep the Nokia brand but “Microsoft Lumia” for phones and Microsoft Surface for tablets is not that bad.

    • James

      It’s not too late for them to license the Nokia name, but that would mean Nokia would have to change their own business name for their business/services that Microsoft didn’t buy.

      • uberlaff

        It would be easier for Nokia to change their name than for MS to build a new Mobile phone brand.

        I think it would actually make sense for Nokia to switch to Navteq. It fits better with their vision of being the location services company.

  • uberlaff

    Windows Phone should be rebranded to Windows, because that’s what it will be in the future.

    The hardware line deserves it’s own brand. I like Lumia and I think it was gaining traction. Surface is good too. Pick one and don’t feel that you are required to talk about Windows anymore. Let the product stand on it’s own!

    Apple, Google, and Samsung have built devices that don’t rely on the OS as part of the brand. It over complicates things and confuses the user.

    (as a side note… losing the Nokia brand on phones is going to hurt sales initially as they build the new brand. Nokia brand is too powerful in the mobile space and it was stupid for MS not to license it.)

    • GameCube

      They can use it for 10 years. Why do they need to change the name now? Ballmer is a retarded as the phone isn’t called “Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020″ but “Nokia Lumia 1020. It’s a great brand as it’s simple, easy to remember and passes the point that the 1020 is better than the 920. They should just keep Nokia Lumia for Nokia’s hardware and Microsoft Surface for Microsoft’s hardware. They have different hardware and software. It’s like the difference between Nexus 4 and Moto X. Surface is straight Windows Phone without Nokia apps and Lumia has the Nokia apps that people like. No need for a rebrand now. Wait some 5 years for the transition to start.

      • uberlaff

        From what I have read (and haven’t heard differently) the Nokia brand can only be used on Asha phones.

        • GameCube

          Yeah… been reading about this today and they did say that Nokia would be used for Asha and feature phones but Lumia for smartphones. I still think they should keep the Nokia brand but “Microsoft Lumia” for phones and Microsoft Surface for tablets is not that bad.

    • James

      It’s not too late for them to license the Nokia name, but that would mean Nokia would have to change their own business name for their business/services that Microsoft didn’t buy.

      • uberlaff

        It would be easier for Nokia to change their name than for MS to build a new Mobile phone brand.

        I think it would actually make sense for Nokia to switch to Navteq. It fits better with their vision of being the location services company.

  • James

    Personally, they should just keep it simple:

    OS: “Windows” (i.e. Windows PCs and devices)
    Phone brand: “Lumia” or “Nokia” (if they can get permanent rights)

    Done. lol
    e.g. Nokia 920 running Windows, iPhone running iOS, Samsung Galaxy running Android.

  • James

    Personally, they should just keep it simple:

    OS: “Windows” (i.e. Windows PCs and devices)
    Phone brand: “Lumia” or “Nokia” (if they can get permanent rights)

    Done. lol
    e.g. Nokia 920 running Windows, iPhone running iOS, Samsung Galaxy running Android.

  • jhtanglewood

    Seems pretty obvious that it is much more likely to be “Lumia 1020 Windows Phone” than “Microsoft Lumia 1020 Windows Phone”. They don’t call it a “Microsoft Xbox 360″.

  • jhtanglewood

    Seems pretty obvious that it is much more likely to be “Lumia 1020 Windows Phone” than “Microsoft Lumia 1020 Windows Phone”. They don’t call it a “Microsoft Xbox 360″.

  • eternaloptimist1971

    I liked the previous Bing logo, darn it

  • eternaloptimist1971

    I liked the previous Bing logo, darn it

  • cmwind

    OS/Platform (Consumer Focused Versions) –

    Windows 8.1 – PC

    Windows 8.1 – PC Pro

    Windows 8.1 – Phone

    Windows 8.1 – TV

    ***in ALL marketing they would ALWAYS be referred to simply as “Windows 8.1″

    Hardware –

    Consoles/Future TV products – Xbox

    PC and Phones are tricky now but here are some things to consider:

    -Surface has a bad association (like Zune before it) due to it poor initial reception.
    -Lumia is becoming a well known brand in non-US markets (but has made no impact on the US market)
    -Lumia also does not sound or “feel” like other MS products names: ie Surface, Xbox, Smartglass, Bing, Office, Windows
    -Having a bunch of Surface PCs that span from 4″ phones to 10″ x86 PC/tablets might be too confusing (but I guess it kinda of works for Google’s “Nexus” devices

  • cmwind

    OS/Platform (Consumer Focused Versions) –

    Windows 8.1 – PC

    Windows 8.1 – PC Pro

    Windows 8.1 – Phone

    Windows 8.1 – TV

    ***in ALL marketing they would ALWAYS be referred to simply as “Windows 8.1″

    Hardware –

    Consoles/Future TV products – Xbox

    PC and Phones are tricky now but here are some things to consider:

    -Surface has a bad association (like Zune before it) due to it poor initial reception.
    -Lumia is becoming a well known brand in non-US markets (but has made no impact on the US market)
    -Lumia also does not sound or “feel” like other MS products names: ie Surface, Xbox, Smartglass, Bing, Office, Windows
    -Having a bunch of Surface PCs that span from 4″ phones to 10″ x86 PC/tablets might be too confusing (but I guess it kinda of works for Google’s “Nexus” devices

  • GameCube

    You know what needs a rebranding? MSN. Actually, they already did a ‘rebrand’ but only for the minority using Windows 8 and Internet Explorer (Metro).

  • GameCube

    You know what needs a rebranding? MSN. Actually, they already did a ‘rebrand’ but only for the minority using Windows 8 and Internet Explorer (Metro).

  • frankwick

    I thought from the beginning it should have been called Xbox Phone. Much better brand acceptance and loyalty.

  • frankwick

    I thought from the beginning it should have been called Xbox Phone. Much better brand acceptance and loyalty.

  • RATBURL

    Surface phone! Surface tablet,Surface laptop,Surface PC. Microsoft needs to streamline all their products to have the same look and feel across the board so people will identify with the name and the product.

  • RATBURL

    Surface phone! Surface tablet,Surface laptop,Surface PC. Microsoft needs to streamline all their products to have the same look and feel across the board so people will identify with the name and the product.

  • Boris Mihaylov

    The Surface Lumia 1020 – Surface is associated with MS and Windows, but doesn’t carry the stigma of Microsoft or Windows. I know the bad publicity of Win RT kind of ruined the brand for some people, but it is still a good brand in my opinion. Plus, it would be nice if Microsoft’s tablet/hybrid/phone hardware has the same name, because from what I can see Windows and Windows Phone will become one at some point in the future.

  • Boris Mihaylov

    The Surface Lumia 1020 – Surface is associated with MS and Windows, but doesn’t carry the stigma of Microsoft or Windows. I know the bad publicity of Win RT kind of ruined the brand for some people, but it is still a good brand in my opinion. Plus, it would be nice if Microsoft’s tablet/hybrid/phone hardware has the same name, because from what I can see Windows and Windows Phone will become one at some point in the future.