On his first day as an Executive VP ofMicrosoft Devices, Stephen Elop sat down for a forty minute open chatsession. During the time, Elop reflected on his past at Nokia, thepresent “identity crisis” which dwells on Nokia and Microsoftfollowing 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 NokiaCEO's most interesting answers. In short, Elop feels no remorse forhis tenure at the Finnish company, confirmed that “work isunderway” on coming up with a new smartphone brand, and admittedhis favorite Lumia phone is the upcoming 930. Nothing groundbreaking,but we definitely appreciate the insight.
On the rumors and uncertaintysurrounding the Nokia trademark post-Microsoft merger:
"Microsoft Mobile Oy is a legalconstruct that was created to facilitate the merger. It is not abrand that will be seen by consumers. The Nokia brand is available toMicrosoft 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 forsmartphones. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphonebrand."
On whether Nokia will continue toinnovate mobile technology as it did with the Lumia line:
"I think we can go even furtherthan that. By combining with MSFT, we will each be able to innovatetogether in ways that we could not as separate companies. Lots ofgood things ahead."
On the future of the much hyped, andrather disappointing Nokia X line:
"Microsoft acquired the mobilephones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the nextbillion people to Microsoft's services. Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud,not Google's. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers toSkype, outlook.com and Onedrive for the first time. We've alreadyseen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services."
On when will we get the first Microsoftbranded smartphone and more branding issues:
"Now that we are One company, themarketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to aconsistent brand. While we are not ready to share precise details, ican assure you that it will not be the "Nokia Lumia 1020 withWindows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network" ... too many words!That somehow doesn't roll off the tongue..."
On the future of Nokia Mixradio, NokiaTV, Nokia Camera apps, and other Nokia apps in Lumia phones:
"We have been building a lot ofapp's that have been specific to Lumia, but now those people andefforts will transfer to MSFT. We believe that these types ofcapabilities are critical to differentiation, so you will see thesethemes continue."
On Elop's favorite Windows Phoneapps:
"It's no secret that i enjoy"track my life". I travel a ton, and it is fun to see how ihave traversed the world. Also, i enjoy a simple app called ATISbecause I am a pilot, and it essential. Finally, it is great to seeUBER working within the browser of Windows Phone ... i got hooked onUBER just the other day when visiting an unfamiliar city."
Asked bluntly whether Nokia phonesrunning Android is a good idea:
"When we made the decision tofocus on Windows Phone back in 2011, we were very concerned that adecision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course withSamsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android.That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMsfrom those days pushed to the side. Today, we are using AOSP toattack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful todo it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia."
On whether he has any regrets afterserving as Nokia's CEO:
"During a speech I gave today tothe gathered employees of Nokia, errr, Microsoft, I said that thelast few years had been both the most challenging and rewarding of mycareer. Like virtually everyone at Nokia, we worked harder andcommitted more of ourselves to this mission than anything before.Now, we have the opportunity to take it to the next level within thecontext of MSFT."
On the possibility of Microsoftproducts becoming as colorful as Lumia devices:
"You may have seen a video todayon youtube that celebrated Nokia's arrival within Microsoft, and thetheme was "more colorful". Here in Espoo today we are allwearing the bright colors of our devices. I'm pretty sure you willsee this "colorful" personality transcend into MSFT."
On being accused of "killingNokia":
"Thanks, I know that there is alot 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 theinternal Nokia operating system efforts. Unfortunately, we could notsee a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with,for example, the iPhone that had shipped THREE years earlier! And theMeego effort was significantly delayed and did not have the promiseof a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forcefuldecision 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 getone soon as well). The quality of the screen is fantastic, audiorocks, and of course the new WP version makes a huge difference."
On being "awarded" aMicrosoft Trojan at Nokia:
"As a result of the work that wehave done, we have transformed Nokia into a stronger company withNSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies. At the same time, our Devicesand Services business has a new opportunity within a strongerMicrosoft. As for the Trojan horse thing, i have only ever worked onbehalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia.Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions weremade with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors,of which I was a member."
On adding more languages to the WP 8.1swipe keyboard:
"You are right - it's a greatfeature, particularly with the predictive text included. I can'tannounce specific timing for languages, but you will see this andother capabilities like Cortana pushed out widely."