Nokia had this grand goal of connecting the next 1 billion, and that goal was being executed by shipping basic feature phones to low budget

Microsoft disconnecting those that Nokia connected?

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Microsoft Disconnecting

Nokia had this grand goal of connecting the next 1 billion, and that goal was being executed by shipping basic feature phones to low budget smartphones by the droves mostly in emerging economies. Then came along Microsoft and acquired Nokia’s mobile phone division. And now, shortly after the acquisition, Microsoft says it is discontinuing Nokia’s feature phone and budget smartphone lines. Yes; the basic Nokias that everyone in the rural areas and artisans on the street use, the Ashas, and the new Nokia X range are being discontinued.

A few quotes from Microsoft:

“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.”


“We plan to immediately begin ramping down developer engagement activities related to Nokia X, Asha and Series 40 apps and shift support to maintenance mode. We are committed to supporting our existing Mobile Phones customers, and will ensure proper operation during the planned controlled shutdown of services over the next 18 months”

Microsoft says it is immediately moving all mobile phones-related services being immediately moved into “maintenance mode”, and shutting them down completely over an 18 months period. If what happened with Symbian is any indication, the shut down will come faster. During the maintenance period, there will be no new features or updates to services on any mobile phones platform. From now on, its all about Windows Phone alone.

Do you get how huge this is? My first thoughts:

  1. Microsoft killing off Nokia’s feature phones looks like a suicide mission. There is no way Windows Phone is capable of filling the resulting gap at the bottom of the pyramid now or in the immediate future. A N3,500 Windows Phone smartphone, anyone? Even Android is yet to achieve that. Basically, Microsoft has given emerging markets the middle finger.
  2. I can understand Microsoft shutting down Asha and Nokia X. I expected them to do it eventually. But I think it is foolhardy to do it so soon. But what do I know?
  3. In my opinion, Microsoft is about to throw away whatever hold Nokia had in emerging markets.
  4. This is an opportunity for other manufacturers e.g. TECNO to take advantage of the vacuum at the bottom of the pyramid to sell cheap feature phones.

How Microsoft hopes to convert Nokia’s feature phone, Asha and Nokia X markets to Windows Phone in such a short time is beyond my comprehension. This is a disaster in the making. Microsoft is disconnecting everyone that Nokia wanted to connect. Disappointing. Very.

It is almost as if Microsoft’s actions are yelling at us, “Hey! We are very unpredictable and undependable. Just stick with Android or iOS.”


  1. I laughed when I heard the news. Am not surprised at all. Microsoft is fond of playing catch up and when they fail to sell much or even catch up with competitors they back down and abandond ship. Zune any one? Zune was a wonderful mp3 player that would have beaten ipod if only microsoft was calm enough, but no they abandond it for windows phone. I won’t be surprised if they abandon xbox soon and if windows phone doesn’t catch up soon am sure they will abandon it to. Microsoft just has too much money to waste. They should just focus on windows for mac and pc and stop trying to follow they crowd. Windows phone users beware…

  2. Microsoft keeps shooting itself in the foot in the mobile industry. They keep making poor decisions. No surprise there.

    It’s NOKIA that I weep for. It’s just so sad. In less than 5 years, this great organization is being squeezed out of existence.

    Elop and Balllmer must be related to those politicians that ruined Nigeria in the 70s and 80s.

  3. Yes 3,500 Nokia phones will be missed, I hope Microsoft knows what they are doing and I hope they succeed bcos Microsoft made the Windows we use on our PC 7 or 8 and I have brand loyalty to them. Also the way WP will be connected to Windows PC which 98% of us use Android cannot be that connected to Windows, Think iOS 8 and Yosemite. Connected devices are the future and tecno will hold the 3500 phone market.

  4. please don’t blame Elop or Balmer for Nokia’s demise, Nokia was already terminal, that’s why they needed Microsoft’s $1B/year to keep afloat. the Meego disaster was the beginning of their doom. in fact if not for Microsoft Nokia would have gone under by the end of 2012

  5. yes, smartphone-desktop synergy is the future of computing. iOS 8-Yosemite and Android L-Chrome are examples, but I think Microsoft’s Threshold/Universal apps strategy for Windows 9 is more wholesome. we’ll have to wait till 3Q 2015 to see. and that’s been Microsoft’s problem in the past 7-8 years they’ve been chasing the competition, something they’ve had little practice with in the past

    lol, the basement for connected phones even for Firefox OS is $50. don’t think any other OEM has the hardware expertise to replicate Nokia’s entry level offering

  6. i used one small tecno phone (non-touuch, alphanumeric) recently and to my greatest surprise, it has a heap size of 4MB which is beyond dat of asha 503 nd x2. tested it by browsing with opera with 5 tabs open, no application error, no tab has been cleaned to save memory… Nokia deserves to die …painfully

  7. Well, there is wholesale banking and retail banking.

    You can decide to focus on the lower of upper stratum of any market. Your choice.

    MicroSoft has obviously decided that there is very little money to be made in the lower end of the smartphone market. The Lowest End of Emerging Markets can take a plunge somewhere deep …

    I tend to think so too.

    It’s not how many phones you sell that matters; it is the final profit that your shareholders want to hear about.

    While you are busy, running around selling twenty low _end phones, a single phone sold by Apple makes them the same profit.

    Who is smarter?The important question is if there is enough space for a deluge of Lumias in the crowded Middle to Upper Stratum of the Smartphone Market…

    I doubt that..

    Tomi Ahonen predicted that Microsoft’s WindowsPhone would progressively lose market share and MicroSoft would eventually sell off the carcass of the “Old Nokia.”

    The recent massive layoff of 18 ,000 employees (which predominantly affected the Old Nokia Staff), and this axing of the entry level devices over eighteen months, cound be the first important steps in actualizing that Tomi Prophetic Doom.

    I just hope the brash rashness of the Burning Platforn “Sermon on the Podium”… that precipitated and accelerated the Fall and Fall of Nokia … would not be carried over into decisions by Elop at his New Table ….

    Speed is Nothing Without Deep Thought..

  8. Microsoft’s not actually ditching the low end smartphone market, they’re just leaving the dumb phone, feature phone and pseudo-smartphone markets Nokia was king in. and those are very low margin markets (otherwise Nokia’d still be relatively buoyant).
    i don’t share Tomi Ahonen’s view, I think Windows Phone is growing steadily and 8.1 (and later iterations before 9) will push it to 7-10% global smartphone share. after that it’s up to Threshold to keep them in the game

  9. I think Nokia stopped connecting a long while ago, it’s just the fans didn’t notice.

    I’m curious how much profit Nokia gets from the sale of an Asha or feature phone compared to a Lumia 520. I can bet it’s marginal. So the feature/Asha/Series 40 in favour of Windows Phone isn’t totally a surprise.

    Again, Elop simply stated the obvious with the “burning platform” comment. I just wondered what took Nokia so long to acknowledge the obvious. Nokia had become complacent, and other people were simply putting better phones out. Then along came the iPhone and that effectively killed Nokia’s market and left them on the back foot.

    I’m going to watch this space.

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