Light Reading

Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name

Sarah Thomas

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is rebranding its Ovi service strategy aptly as "Nokia," in an effort to unify the brand, the handset maker announced Monday in a blog post.

Nokia isn't changing its strategy or its level of support for developers, the post stressed. It's just changing the name on its four-year-old Maps, Mail and Ovi Store mobile apps businesses as "there is no longer a differentiation" between its devices and mobile experiences.

Nokia will begin the name transition in July and expects it to be complete by the end of 2012.

Why this matters
Nokia doesn't mention the real impetus for the change in its blog post, but it clearly has to do with its adoption of the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) operating system for future smartphones. As part of the deal, Nokia will use nearly all of Microsoft's software products, with the exception of Maps, so there is little need for a third brand name in Ovi.

Interestingly, rumors sprung up Monday that Nokia could be set to sell its mobile phone business to Microsoft soon. Blogger Eldar Murtazin, who has a track record of accurate Nokia intel, reports that the negotiations will begin next week, although the results will not be made public immediately.

Even if the acquisition doesn't come to fruition -- and many doubt it will -- changing the Ovi name makes sense to simplify the merged brand for customers.

For more
Read up on the Nokia/Microsoft chronicles in the following stories:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:17 PM
re: Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name

Why exactly would Nokia sell its mobile phone business?

Why would Microsoft want a huge hardware business when it has to sell Windows Phone to Samsung and others? 


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:16 PM
re: Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name

Okay, well everybody has ignored you.

Part 1 - Why would Nokia sell?  For enough money any company will sell anything. Maybe Nokia believes there is a better way to invest its money than in handsets. 

Part 2 - Why would Microsoft buy?  Better question.  Apple might be the answer.  I listened to your Podcast and I still don't buy Stela's viewpoint.  There is a presumption that good devices will be created running Windows Mobile OS.  Not an obvious thing.  They might be wonderful phones but neither Nokia nor Microsoft have done that well in this smartphone thing.

So back to the question, maybe Microsoft has decided that having devices that are integrated with the OS are really important things.  Google made its own phones (which have failed and I am a G1 user), but has done better selling to others.

Maybe they have decided that this is the next gaming platform...who knows?

Most of these "talks" go nowhere even if they do occur.



User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:15 PM
re: Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name

I don't think Stela was assuming they'd make great devices as much as she's betting that the ROW gives the Nokia brand a lot more leeway than we in the US (especially the business press) do. And Nokia's market power is tough to beat and good for MSFT.


I like your point about Apple and I do think the integration between devices and software is an underplayed story, especially in telecom.

But this raises a question: What would an acquisition give MSFT that a close partnership can't in the short term? I don't know that investors of either company would be easily convinced that a marriage is better than friends with benefits.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:14 PM
re: Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name

Not sure I agree:

Google made its own phones (which have failed and I am a G1 user), but has done better selling to others.

Actually Google never actually made the leap into entirely delivering a phone under its own name like Apple did. The Nexus phones are delivered by HTC and Samsung and they never made a secret of that.

Of course, a phone of its own was never the point for Google. They needed a platform to continue to serve ads as computing and search went mobile. They succeeded incredibly well with Android when looked at that from that perspective.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:13 PM
re: Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name


I understand your point Dan.  I would point out that Apple phones are made in China by a 3rd party.  So, it all depends on your perspective of "made" or manufactured.  Perhaps branded would have been a better choice.  Even designed would be a tough one as I suspect there was a joint design process.

Phil to your comment.  To buy a new phone means that somebody is switching.  Windows phones (from the research I have seen) are poorly regarded by their users.  I don't care who you are, get a rep for bad products and you will lose any brand credibility.




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