Light Reading

Microsoft Does About-Face, Debuts $25 Phone

Sarah Thomas
8/11/2014
50%
50%

Microsoft is doing away with Nokia's low-end feature phones, but it still sees life left in the ultra low end, as evidenced by its new product launch Monday.

The software-giant-turned-phone-maker introduced the Nokia 130, a €19 ($25 US) phone aimed at first-time phone buyers in emerging markets. The device lacks an Internet connection and will run Nokia's own operating system, not the Asha OS that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) said it was scrapping in favor of the Android variant Nokia X. (See Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees.)

The device also includes a video and music player and, impressively, battery life of up to 36 days standby for the single SIM version, or 26 days for the dual-SIM version. See the video below for a quick look at the device in its red, black and white glory.

The Nokia 130 will begin shipping in the third quarter in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Unlike Nokia, which focused on hardware sales, Microsoft is all about selling its services. With these low-end devices, it's hoping to bring on board first-time device users and eventually get them using Microsoft services such as Bing and OneDrive. The strategy makes some sense, although it is a bit hard to follow, given that the 130 is very much a Nokia-branded device and (in this version, at least) doesn't even connect to the Internet.


Want to know more about the mobile device market? Check out our dedicated smartphone content channel here on Light Reading.


The move also represents an about-face for the company, as it recently told employees (those it didn't axe) that it would focus entirely on Windows Phone and stop updating its basic feature phones. The newly married Microsoft-Nokia is still clearly working out what its focus will be and just how low it will go. (See Microsoft Poaches Top Qualcomm Exec.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/17/2014 | 11:53:52 PM
Re: branding
Actually it is a reasonably smart move considering what Mozilla is trying to do and what other players especially in India are trying to do because of how saturated the US Market is :-)
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 11:40:45 PM
Re: Branding
In two words, this is: acquisition blues. Can't believe it's Microsoft doing this. Having a good experience of these countries in developing world, I have one prediction: Failure.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 8:14:35 AM
Disposal of low end feature phones
The fact that Microsoft is doing away with some of Nokia's low end feature phones is quite encouraging. I agree with the fact that the white space broad band initiatives aims at targeting the low income developing areas. I also agree with the fact that it is not really a bad strategy to target some of the first time phone buyers in the upcoming markets. The only strange fact is that the newly developed services focused phone comes without an internet connection. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:38:46 PM
Re: Branding
@SachinEE, I totally agree.  It appears to ignore the logic of why the customer would want it when there are other options.  It appears to be a bridge to nowhere.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:32:53 PM
Re: Branding
Why would Microsoft design a phone without any internet connection? Even if their target is first time buyers, i don't see how this particular device will help market Microsoft programs because I don't think anyone will even want to buy a phone with no internet. the best guess is that they are just trying too find something lucrative to  do wit h Nokia's left overs and make some money on the side but lets give it a try and see how it goes.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 12:29:06 PM
Re: Branding
@SReedy, great question.  Two parts to my answer:  number 1, they don't have the expertise that Nokia had initially to understand how to make money on low-cost phones, number 2, as everyone is pointing out, if it tied in with either a Microsoft designed platform, operating system, etc., in staged transition to a long-term strategy, that would make sense.  The $25 phone could be a "module" that fits into whatever new business strategy and platform/systems Microsoft is building. 

I don't see them as a strong service company and just trying to get people "hooked" on Microsoft does not seem like a solid business proposition to me.  I think they are treading water to find out which way to go.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 8:11:55 AM
Re: branding
I suppose -- as with their white space broadband initiatives -- they hope to target lower-income developing areas with cheap tech, get them hooked, and then hit them with ads -- but yes, like you and the others note it never feels like Microsoft's business strategy is entirely coherent. Still seems like a company that has a lot more streamlining to do before it begins to understand how to do one or two things well, instead of seventy things fairly badly.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/11/2014 | 8:50:39 PM
Re: branding
@danielcawrey, I totally agree.  There doesn't seem to be a clear direction on this and they don't have the expertise to create a new business model.  It appears they are just "chasing dollars", which isn't going to take them far.  Not an impressive move.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/11/2014 | 8:14:03 PM
Re: branding
Strange – the idea of a services-focused phone not coming with an internet connection.

But I suppose this is Microsoft trying to accomplish something with the remnants of Nokia hardware. I'm sure that going forward Microsoft will figure out how to cash in on deploying cheap phones. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
8/11/2014 | 4:46:38 PM
Re: branding
I don't see where Microsoft is going with this, unless it's looking to pick up market share, incremental revenue, or it hopes people will graduate to higher-end phones. But without Windows running on these phones, there's no clear upgrade path.
More Blogs from Que Sera Sarah
This week in WiC: Bloomberg debates the merits of women's conferences; Europe's 1,000 woman boardlist goes live; Glassdoor outlines some unique job perks; and more.
Enterprises crawl, walk, run into the Industrial Internet of Things as US service providers look to secure their role in this market worth potentially trillions of dollars.
For our inaugural WiC weekly roundup: Facebook's leaders set good examples; the brogammer fashion debate; Intel's Africa outreach; and more.
Deloitte's survey of 7,700 Millennials suggests that their motivations and priorities are different from those of their older colleagues, as is their sense of loyalty to their employer.
Company increases its commitment to hiring and retaining more women and underrepresented minorities, as well as to improving the pipeline for the entire industry.
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ericsson CTO on the Changing Telecom Market

1|21|16   |   10:26   |   (0) comments


At CES 2015, CTO of Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson, sits down with CEO of Light Reading, Steve Saunders, to discuss the changing telecom market, the new partnership with Cisco and the future of the telecom industry.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Did Juniper Pay 'Peanuts' for BTI?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/2/2016
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
WiCipedia: Faulty Feminism, Worthy Women & Peculiar Perks
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/5/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Happy Groundhogs for Technology Day! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.