By Christian Bautista
Today is a sad day for fans of near-indestructible old-school mobile handsets.
Months after acquiring Nokia’s phone business, Microsoft is moving to rebrand its new acquisition. The company is retiring the Nokia brand name for its smartphones, with all new Nokia Lumia models being renamed as Microsoft Lumia. Aside from the Nokia brand, Microsoft is also expected to rebrand its Windows Phone line of smartphones. The name change, which first goes into effect in France, essentially erases one of the biggest brands from the infancy of mobile phone technology.
The rebranding was first revealed through a post from Nokia France’s Facebook page. The company’s French unit announced that it will change the names on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“In the coming days, you will receive a message from Facebook on the renaming of this page. We are about to become ‘Microsoft Lumia!’ Stay tuned to learn more soon,” the Nokia France Facebook page read.
Microsoft, which completed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset business last April, only has a license to use the Nokia brand. The deal gave Microsoft permission to use the Nokia name for a period of ten years. The Finnish company continues to exist, with investments in network infrastructure hardware, software and services.
While the expiration of Microsoft’s rights to the Nokia name is still far off, it seems the Redmond, Washington company is more interested in going with its own brand rather than building on Nokia’s fading legacy. The development is not very surprising. Microsoft had been providing hints that it was getting ready to drop the Nokia name.
Regional Nokia websites had earlier been tweaked to direct users to the Microsoft Mobile page. The Nokia name had also been taken out from advertisements for new devices. The news of Microsoft’s move away from the Nokia brand confirms an earlier report. According to a leaked internal Microsoft document obtained by GeeksOnGadgets, the Lumia 830 and Lumia 730 would be the last phones with the Nokia logo on it. The report also claims that the Windows Phone logo will also be taken out of advertisements in favor of a standard Windows logo.