Microsoft dropping “Nokia” brand? Not news, sorry

Yesterday, an independent tech blog, Geek On Gadgets, revealed, according to internal documents obtained by the site, that Microsoft will be dropping the Nokia brand in advertising this holiday season. In addition, according to the site, Microsoft will begin to “shy away from” use of the Windows Phone branding in its advertising this fall, instead using the Windows logo and brand.

091114-1851-Microsoftdr1 News

So, first, a couple of notes on the Nokia brand. Microsoft has never had plans, and more significantly, does not have licensing rights, to use “Nokia” to promote any phones introduced after the acquisition. In the Terms of the Agreement section of the September 2013 press release announcing Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phones businesses, the branding constraints are laid out clearly:

Microsoft is acquiring Nokia’s Smart Devices business unit, including the Lumia brand and products.

Microsoft will acquire the Asha brand and will license the Nokia brand for use with current Nokia mobile phone products. Nokia will continue to own and manage the Nokia brand.

(emphasis ours)

Microsoft closed the Nokia aquisition deal this past April. Now, Microsoft does still own licensing rights for “Nokia” phones released before the acquisition, but it’s not news that Microsoft is not going to advertise the Nokia name in advertisements for new phones. In fact, it can’t.

The apparent move to push “Windows” and move away from “Windows Phone” is a bit more newsworthy, but as much as marketing would like you to believe that there will be “One Windows” running on all types of devices is far more a marketing concept and far from actually happening. No, “Windows Phone”, or “Windows” Phone, won’t be running full on Windows 9, doing the same things in the same way as your desktop. Is Microsoft coming to its senses and moving towards a single underlying operating system for all form factors? Yes, it’s moving that way, but at best we’re at a “threshold”, and not by any means at a “One Windows” level.

Is Microsoft’s marketing moving away from the “Windows Phone” brand?  According to Geek On Gadgets, that is in the works:

In fact we understand, from a source with knowledge of the plans, that this is part of the preparation to leave the “Windows Phone” logo behind, as part of a gradual phase out of the Windows Phone name (and OS) which will merge with the desktop version of Windows in the upcoming updates (i.e. no Windows Phone 9).

Don’t be surprised if you stop seeing the “Windows Phone” branding moving forward, but we’ll still have “Windows” Phones, at least, to kick around for some time to come.