On his first day as an Executive VP of
Microsoft Devices, Stephen Elop sat down for a forty minute open chat
session. During the time, Elop reflected on his past at Nokia, the
present “identity crisis” which dwells on Nokia and Microsoft
following the successful acquisition of the former's mobile business,
and the future of both companies as one.
We also sat down and picked the former Nokia
CEO's most interesting answers. In short, Elop feels no remorse for
his tenure at the Finnish company, confirmed that “work is
underway” on coming up with a new smartphone brand, and admitted
his favorite Lumia phone is the upcoming 930. Nothing groundbreaking,
but we definitely appreciate the insight.
On the rumors and uncertainty
surrounding the Nokia trademark post-Microsoft merger:
"Microsoft Mobile Oy is a legal
construct that was created to facilitate the merger. It is not a
brand that will be seen by consumers. 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
On whether Nokia will continue to
innovate mobile technology as it did with the Lumia line:
"I think we can go even further
than that. By combining with MSFT, we will each be able to innovate
together in ways that we could not as separate companies. Lots of
good things ahead."
On the future of the much hyped, and
rather disappointing Nokia X line:
"Microsoft acquired the mobile
phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next
billion people to Microsoft's services. Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud,
not Google's. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to
Skype, outlook.com and Onedrive for the first time. We've already
seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services."
On when will we get the first Microsoft
branded smartphone and more branding issues:
"Now that we are One company, the
marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a
consistent brand. While we are not ready to share precise details, i
can assure you that it will not be the "Nokia Lumia 1020 with
Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network" ... too many words!
That somehow doesn't roll off the tongue..."
On the future of Nokia Mixradio, Nokia
TV, Nokia Camera apps, and other Nokia apps in Lumia phones:
"We have been building a lot of
app's that have been specific to Lumia, but now those people and
efforts will transfer to MSFT. We believe that these types of
capabilities are critical to differentiation, so you will see these
On Elop's favorite Windows Phone
"It's no secret that i enjoy
"track my life". I travel a ton, and it is fun to see how i
have traversed the world. Also, i enjoy a simple app called ATIS
because I am a pilot, and it essential. Finally, it is great to see
UBER working within the browser of Windows Phone ... i got hooked on
UBER just the other day when visiting an unfamiliar city."
Asked bluntly whether Nokia phones
running Android is a good idea:
"When we made the decision to
focus on Windows Phone back in 2011, we were very concerned that a
decision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course with
Samsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android.
That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMs
from those days pushed to the side. Today, we are using AOSP 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."
On whether he has any regrets after
serving as Nokia's CEO:
"During a speech I gave today to
the gathered employees of Nokia, errr, Microsoft, I said that the
last few years had been both the most challenging and rewarding of my
career. Like virtually everyone at Nokia, we worked harder and
committed more of ourselves to this mission than anything before.
Now, we have the opportunity to take it to the next level within the
context of MSFT."
On the possibility of Microsoft
products becoming as colorful as Lumia devices:
"You may have seen a video today
on youtube that celebrated Nokia's arrival within Microsoft, and the
theme was "more colorful". Here in Espoo today we are all
wearing the bright colors of our devices. I'm pretty sure you will
see this "colorful" personality transcend into MSFT."
On being accused of "killing
"Thanks, I know that there is a
lot of emotion around some of the hard decisions that we had to make.
Back in late 2010 and 2011, we carefully assessed the state of the
internal Nokia operating system efforts. Unfortunately, we could not
see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with,
for example, the iPhone that had shipped THREE years earlier! And the
Meego effort was significantly delayed and did not have the promise
of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful
decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again."
On his favorite Lumia phone:
"While I love all of our children,
I must say that I am totally loving the new 930 (and yes, you can get
one soon as well). The quality of the screen is fantastic, audio
rocks, and of course the new WP version makes a huge difference."
On being "awarded" a
Microsoft Trojan at Nokia:
"As a result of the work that we
have done, we have transformed Nokia into a stronger company with
NSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies. At the same time, our Devices
and Services business has a new opportunity within a stronger
Microsoft. As for the Trojan horse thing, i have only ever worked on
behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia.
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."
On adding more languages to the WP 8.1
"You are right - it's a great
feature, particularly with the predictive text included. I can't
announce specific timing for languages, but you will see this and
other capabilities like Cortana pushed out widely."