Microsoft to continue using Nokia brand on entry-level phones

A company executive said the first 'Microsoft Lumia' device will be announced soon

Microsoft will continue to sell low-end phones with the Nokia brand and has licensed the brand for these type of devices.

The company is meanwhile rolling out its new Microsoft Lumia brand, Tuula Rytilä, senior vice president of marketing for phones at Microsoft, said in an interview posted late Thursday on the Conversations blog, which will also move to the Microsoft website.

"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," Rytilä said. "This work continues across our devices, packaging and retail, to name a few."

Microsoft completed in April this year the acquisition of Nokia's smartphone business for over US$7 billion.

Besides continuing to offer Nokia-branded entry-level phones like the Nokia 130, the company will continue to also sell and support Nokia Lumia smartphones that are in the market, such as the recently announced Lumia 830 and Lumia 730/735, Rytilä said. Nokia 130, a mobile phone that does not have an Internet connection or apps, was unveiled in August.

The executive said that Microsoft was looking forward to unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon, without giving a specific date. She described the change in brand as "a natural progression" as all devices that once came from Nokia now come from Microsoft.

The new Microsoft Lumia brand is likely to be aimed at clearing the confusion that arose from the continued use of the Nokia brand even as a company by the same name continues to operate, after the sale of the devices business to Microsoft. Nokia in Espoo, Finland, is now focused on networking gear, its Here navigation service and a technology development and licensing business.

Microsoft is likely to have decided to retain the Nokia brand for the low-end market as it "resonates with this segment of users," said Vishal Tripathi, a principal research analyst at Gartner.

The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

The transition to the new Microsoft Lumia brand was first announced on Nokia France's Facebook page.

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John Ribeiro

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