Microsoft has always had trouble communicating clear product names for its consumer brands, but when it makes a branding decision, it usually sticks to it. The latest naming shift is Microsoft will stop using the “Windows Phone” name as well as the “Nokia” brand for its mobile handsets, according to an internal document obtained by GeeksOnGadgets and confirmed by Tom Warren at the Verge.
It’s not surprising that [company]Microsoft[/company] would stop using the Nokia moniker — it only purchased the handset division from the Finnish company, which, by the way, is still using the Nokia name. Instead, Microsoft will use the Lumia brand to describe its hardware business.
Microsoft dropping the “Phone” from Windows is also not a surprise. Microsoft started to use the “Windows Phone” name back in 2010 to clearly delineate its then-new touchscreen-oriented operating system from Windows Mobile, which was a popular smartphone platform pre-iPhone. But as evidence continues to mount that Microsoft plans to combine Windows RT and Windows Phone into one version as soon as next year, it’s the right time to start de-emphasizing the “phone.”
As CEO Satya Nadella continues to mold Microsoft into his image, there’s still the question of whether the device business fits into Microsoft’s new cloud-oriented outlook. The best bet for Windows Phone success still seems to be making cheap smartphones for developing markets — and unfortunately for Microsoft, customers in those markets likely already know the Nokia brand but have no idea what a Lumia is.