Adding insult to injury, Microsoft will kill some of the Nokia X Android smartphones that Nokia released earlier this year.
“We plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows. This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an email explaining the 18,000 job cuts coming to Microsoft, including 12,500 from the Nokia division.
Microsoft was never really happy that Nokia built and Android smartphone right before the acquisition of the smartphone manufacturer became official earlier this year. Reports said that Microsoft thought the Nokia Android phone was “embarrassing.”
One source was overheard at a Nokia dinner at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February saying, “Microsoft is a Windows company.” Nokia twisted the fork on Microsoft a little bit with the Nokia X announcement, even if Microsoft claims to have known the plan all along. That’s why the Nokia X ran Android in the background but utilized Microsoft’s cloud and core services, instead of Google’s.
At least that was the theory.
In conversations with both Microsoft and Nokia executives at various industry events this year, each and every one said that there were no plans to kill the Nokia X series of Android devices.
“Essentially the story is that Microsoft wants to connect the next billion people to the cloud,” said Jussi Nevanlinna, Nokia’s VP of product marketing for smartphones at Nokia before the acquisition, to ReadWrite in an interview in February. “What we bring is very wide reach. We have access to these consumers … We are a volume platform to connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s cloud and services.”
When asked about what Microsoft thinks of the Nokia X smartphone during Mobile World Congress earlier this year, VP of Windows Phone at Microsoft Joe Belfiore hedged his bets.
“We have a terrific engineering relationship with Nokia. What they do as an independent company is what they do. They will do some things we are excited about and some things that we are not excited about,” said Belfiore.
As recently as Microsoft’s Build developer conference in April this year, Nokia VP of marketing for smart devices Hans Henrik Lund unequivocally said that the Nokia X would continue into a second generation.
“Oh absolutely. Of course they will. Because again, it makes sense. Because we can get consumers onto Microsoft services as opposed than potentially going to Google services,” Lund said in an interview with ReadWrite.
New Nokia X devices are unlikely at this point at Microsoft focuses on its Lumia portfolio. In an email announcing the layoffs to the Nokia team, former Nokia CEO and current VP of devices at Microsoft outlined the strategy for device manufacturing going forward.
We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.
Currently, three sizes of Nokia X Android smartphones running Windows cloud services are on the market around the world.