Chris is Nokia’s EVP for Sales and Marketing. Given last week’s news, he’s been spending a lot of time reaching out to distributors, operators, retailers and other partners to explain the changes.
We asked him to explain it all to us.
Nokia Conversations: We read in some blogs that Nokia is gone now?
Chris Weber: That’s wrong in every way. For a start, the proposed deal for Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s Devices and Services business won’t be fully confirmed until next year. For now, and for perhaps six months, it’s business as usual. New phones, support, apps – all of it. I can promise you, we have some fantastic stuff in the pipeline.
Second, the people who design, make and support Nokia phones would transfer to Microsoft. They respect and admire our expertise, quality and skill in those areas. Microsoft knows as well as we do that there’s absolutely no point in producing second-rate phones: be the best, or get out.
Third, Nokia as a company will remain. Microsoft isn’t buying the whole company, just a part. The combination of the networks, location and advanced technologies divisions stands to reinvent itself as a profitable company creating lots of new innovation and will go on to be very successful, I’m sure.
NC: So what has changed right now?
CW: Nothing. Nokia will continue to produce great devices, apps and software updates.
NC: And in six months?
CW: We expect our smartphone, mobile phone, industrial design, support and all the related teams to be doing their same job to the same standards, but working for Microsoft. This is really important: this acquisition is about bringing over expertise in making fantastic, top-quality and innovative products.
Working with Microsoft we can increase the awareness and growth of Windows Phone, Asha and our feature phones. We can build upon the success of Lumia and create a stronger, faster, more innovative route to driving this portfolio and the exciting ecosystem around it. It will also mean faster innovation in our Asha and feature phone range – with the backing of Microsoft – a real boost to our goal of connecting the next billion people to the Internet.
NC: We are getting a lot of questions about customer support for phones that were purchased before this announcement…
CW: Nothing changes. All of our guarantees and warranties and promises stand. And yes, that includes support for Symbian until 2016, as we promised. Nokia Care points, the whole customer support network, also moves over and we will continue to deliver world-class customer service to people who use a Nokia device now and in the future.
NC: How about the Nokia brand on the phones. Having it printed on there? A lot of readers care about that.
CW: In factual terms, Microsoft intends to buy the right to use the Nokia brand on its phones for ten years.
There’s a commitment now that this will happen for the Asha and feature phones business going forward.
On smartphones, it’s more complicated and we’ll be seeking to create a unified brand across Lumia and other Windows based devices. But we’re still a long way from when that decision has to be made.
NC: So, Chris, why would one buy a Nokia Device right now?
CW: All the things you love about Nokia devices haven’t changed – design, durability, apps and support. All of that is still there and we plan to keep it that way.
And in the light of this deal, it gets even better. The Windows Phone ecosystem gets more investment. Your support and updates for the lifetime of the phone is guaranteed. Then, more of everything because of that investment – innovation and better products faster.