Partners: Nokia Name Change Shows Nadella Serious About Making Smartphone Gains


Microsoft’s decision to rename Nokia as Microsoft Mobile shows that new CEO Satya Nadella is determined to make gains in the mobile market.

That was the word from solution providers Tuesday after news website Nokiapoweruser.com reported that Microsoft intends to change the name of Nokia to Microsoft Mobile.

Microsoft is expected to finalize its $7.2 billion acquisition of the Finnish smartphone behemoth on Friday.

[Related: Samsung Partners Concerned About Mobile Network Knockout]

“This is in direct alignment with the strategy and vision that Satya Nadella has for the company,” said Ric Opal, vice president at Peters & Associates, a Microsoft partner in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. “It’s absolutely a positive step for both Microsoft and Nokia. Partners should be embracing these devices. I think the acquisition is important because devices drive experiences.”

Opal said there is no other vendor, including Apple, that is driving a better mobile experience for users. “Microsoft  has a strength in software and bringing value to customers that no one else has,” he said. “You can’t find another vendor that has scale and range of mobile offerings that they have.”

Nadella, who took the helm at Microsoft  in February, has repeatedly emphasized his intent to push the software behemoth more aggressively into the mobile and cloud computing markets.

The name change shows that Microsoft intends to put the full weight of its brand as a nationwide partner specializing in mobile solutions with its Anyplace Workspace. He said the it's a plus for solution providers looking for Microsoft to step up its mobile game. “They are trying to compete head to head with Apple in the handset business,” he said. “It makes perfect sense.”

Grossman said he sees the name change as signalling the potential for  increased margin opportunities for telecom agents selling Microsoft Mobile handsets.It’s a very distinct channel that are selling handsets,” he said. "Those pure-play mobile partners are the ones most affected. If it allows those partners to make margins on the handsets, then it's a good move. Apple has not made it very lucrative for channel partners."

The letter that Nokiapoweruser.com obtained also states that Nokia does not plan to make any changes to its supplier base. “Under the terms of the sale, Microsoft will assume all rights, benefits and obligations of the Nokia Devices and Services business, including Nokia’s agreements with suppliers, customers and partners that pertain to the Devices and Services business,” the letter states.

Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President Brad Smith confirmed in a blog post that Microsoft had completed the steps necessary to finalize the Nokia acquisition on Friday.

"The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration,” said Smith. “This acquisition will help Microsoft accelerate innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones. In addition, we look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones.”

The two companies have agreed that Microsoft will “manage the Nokia.com domain and social media sites for the benefit of both companies and our customers for up to a year,” Smith said.

PUBLISHED APRIL 22, 2014