Some have called Microsoft smartphone branding transition frustratingly slow. Microsoft prefers the term "patient".
After acquiring Nokia Devices from Nokia in a deal that wrapped up in April, Microsoft had legal rights to use the "Nokia" brand name on its smartphones. But facing criticism that its brand was too fractured, it decided to unite all its devices -- including smartphones and tablets -- under a consistent brand: "Microsoft Windows".
Microsoft's branding transition began earlier this year with Microsoft Stores switching some of the signage to "Microsoft Lumia" and advising employees to use the new terminology. However, Microsoft's last round of Lumia smartphones -- launched at the IFA 2014 mobile electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany last month -- still carried the same old "Nokia Lumia" branding.
But earlier this month it stepped up its branding transitioning shedding more layers of its "Nokia branding", transitioning websites and advertising to "Microsoft Lumia".
Microsoft's Tuula Rytilä, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Phones, highlights the recent and ongoing changes, stating:
Our global and local websites are going through a transition as we speak and in the coming days our social channels will get a new name too – they will be called Microsoft Lumia. We would like to invite our Lumia fans to continue to follow us and always be up to speed with the latest device news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This work continues across our devices, packaging and retail, to name a few. It’s all going as planned and we’re excited that our integration in to Microsoft continues to be on track.
But what about handsets? Asked when the first Microsoft Lumia branded device would land, Rytilä states:
I can say is that that we are looking forward to unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon. This is of course a natural progression as all devices that once came from Nokia now come from Microsoft... And, the Lumia promise of great phone experiences will remain the same as our customers have come to know and love. What’s more, Lumia phones will also showcase the best of Microsoft’s services such as Office, OneDrive, Skype and Bing to help customers with their work and personal lives.
Microsoft drops a hint in the post revealing press renderings of an unreleased Microsoft-branded Lumia device. The posts show Microsoft brand language on the back of the phone including the new Windows logo, plus Microsoft embossed on the top bezel of the front-face.
Rytilä says that the Nokia branding will be preserved, however, on lower-end Symbian based devices. She states:
Microsoft will continue to sell Nokia-branded, entry-level category of phones, such as the Nokia 130. We have licensed the Nokia brand for such devices.
Rytilä says that Windows smartphones -- while struggling to establish a strong third-place position in market share -- have seen increasing success through their strong portfolio of cloud-connected services and through Microsoft and its Nokia Devices unit's history of pushing technological boundaries.
Microsoft was founded with the vision of putting a computer in every home and on every desk. With Lumia phones, Microsoft delivers the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone. We’ve introduced innovations such as advanced camera features, wireless charging, industry-leading design – and have worked to bring across our portfolio. All of that will continue. Microsoft remains committed to bringing amazing Lumia experiences with a strong portfolio of phones that offer something for everyone. Lumia is now part of a compelling family of Microsoft products like Xbox, Windows and Surface along with a range of services such as Skype, Office and Bing.
The interview was performed on "coversations.nokia.com", a Nokia Devices blog with the lingering legacy branding. But at the end of the blog post, Microsoft notes, "As Tuula mentioned, our online channels are going through some changes and this applies to the Conversations blog, too. In the coming weeks, we will move to our new home at Microsoft."