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Microsoft's Transition Plans for 'Nokia' Brand Allegedly Leaked

Microsoft has until late 2015 to rebrand the smartphones it acquired in its purchase of Nokia, according to an internal document leaked online.

Microsoft in late April finalized its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia's devices and services business, formerly called "Nokia Oyj." At the time, Microsoft said that the acquired assets would become part of the new "Microsoft Mobile Oy" subsidiary, but did not detail any of its branding plans for the Nokia Lumia and Nokia X smartphones, nor the Asha feature phones.

Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft's Devices group and former CEO of Nokia, said in an online Q&A shortly after the acquisition's close that Microsoft does plan to eventually drop the Nokia name, but did not say when. He also said that future phones will not bear the "Microsoft Mobile" name, which he described as "a legal construct that was created to facilitate the merger."

According to Elop, "The Nokia brand is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phones products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand."

A more specific timeline of Microsoft's plans for the Nokia brand surfaced on Wednesday by way of prolific online leaker "@evleaks," who posted an undated document alleged to be a Microsoft-issued FAQ for Nokia employees transitioning into the company.

According to the document, Microsoft's rights to use the Nokia brand on the Windows Phone-based Lumia devices expire 18 months after the acquisition's close. That would suggest a deadline of Oct. 25, 2015, given the acquisition's April 25 closing date.

Additionally, Microsoft has until Dec. 31 2015 before it must change the branding on Nokia X smartphones, which run a forked version of Android, and until 2024 on Asha phones. Nokia-branded services and apps will remain unchanged "until further guidance is received," according to the document.

The FAQ also suggests that Microsoft intends to change the branding on Nokia retail stores and Care Centers, but not any time soon. "We are carefully planning how, when and where to introduce the Microsoft brand [to these assets], over a significant period of time," it reads. "As new guidance is developed, we will proactively reach out to relevant teams."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.

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