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April 29, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:21am

5 things we learnt from Stephen Elop’s AMA

Nokia's former CEO spills the beans on Microsoft partnership.

By Vinod

On Friday, Microsoft completed its $7.1bn deal to buy Nokia’s handset division, marking the end of an era in the mobile industry.

Under the deal, Microsoft will gain 25,000 former Nokia staff (meaning its workforce now tops the 100,000 people mark), as well as a number of Nokia manufacturing plants around the world.

But what will the effects of the deal be on Nokia’s customers?

To try and allay any fears concerning the deal, Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO and now executive VP of the newly formed Microsoft Devices Group yesterday took part in a wide-ranging Ask Me Anything (AMA) interview on

Here are the five key things we learnt from his answers….

He’s still very much a Nokia fan

Due to his Nokia heritage, it was assumed by many that Elop had played a major part in facilitating the Microsoft deal, and he was accused as being a "Trojan Horse" by one questioner in the interview. Unsurprisingly, Elop denied this label, stating that the deal was the right opportunity to grow Nokia’s handset business. "I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia," Elop said.

"Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member."

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Nokia -branded smartphones are not long for this world

Under the terms of the deal, the Nokia brand name is available for Microsoft to use for its mobile phone products for a period of time, Elop confirmed. However, he said he believed that Nokia as a brand "will not be used for long going forward for smartphones".

"Work is underway to select the ‘go forward’ smartphone brand," Elop stated, as legally speaking, Nokia’s Devices and Services business is now the property of Microsoft’s newly-formed subsidiary, Microsoft Mobile Oy.

But we may see a Microsoft-branded smartphone at sometime in the future

"Now that we are one company, the marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a consistent brand," Elop said, in response to another question concerning future branding. Whilst not sharing any precise details, he didn’t rule out a Microsoft brand being used in the future, only saying that an amalgam of multiple brands (e.g. ‘the Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network’) would definitely not be used, saying that such a name "somehow doesn’t roll off the tongue".

There may be more Android-based Nokia phones coming in the future

As the world’s leading Windows Phone manufacturer, Nokia sprung a major surprise at Mobile World Congress earlier this year by announcing that it would be launching the Nokia X line, its first Android-based phones, later this year.

Elop revealed that Nokia initially decided to use Windows Phone over Android as such a move would have put them on ‘a collision course’ with Samsung, which had already established a strong presence around the latter.

"That was the right decision," Elop stated, "as we have seen virtually all other OEMs from those days pushed to the side. Today, we are using AOSP (a version of Android that still redirects many services to Windows Phone) to attack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia."

Microsoft’s products are about to get a lot more colourful

In an attempt to allay customer fears that the vibrant and colourful Lumia devices would soon be swallowed up by Microsoft’s corporate mnachine, the company released a new advert on YouTube highlighting that this would definitely not be the case.

This viewpoint was backed up by Elop, who said he was "pretty sure" that users will see this colourful personality transcedning into Microsoft, adding that,"Here in Espoo (Nokia’s Finnish HQ) today we are all wearing the bright colors of our devices."

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