MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that Nokia's Android-powered X handset lineup is no more, with the firm instead planning to deliver the devices with its own Windows Phone mobile operating system.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement on Thursday in a company-wide letter announcing the biggest job cuts in Microsoft's history, with 18,000 staff facing the chop. 12,500 of these job cuts will be made across the firm's recently acquired Nokia devices division.
Nadella said, "We are working to integrate the Nokia Devices and Services teams into Microsoft. We will realise the synergies to which we committed when we announced the acquisition last September. The first-party phone portfolio will align to Microsoft's strategic direction. To win in the higher price tiers, we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft's digital work and digital life experiences.
"In addition, we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows. This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps."
Stephen Elop, likely now Finland's most unpopular man, said in a seperate letter, "It is particularly important to recognise that the role of phones within Microsoft is different than it was within Nokia. Whereas the hardware business of phones within Nokia was an end unto itself, within Microsoft all our devices are intended to embody the finest of Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences, while accruing value to Microsoft’s overall strategy.
"Our device strategy must reflect Microsoft’s strategy and must be accomplished within an appropriate financial envelope.:
This news will likely come as a surprise to many, with Microsoft reportedly haven given Nokia the green light to launch the low-end Android smartphone line, which debuted five months ago at this year's Mobile World Congress.
Nokia had high hopes for its Nokia X lineup, too. Earlier this year, Elop said that he expected the affordable handsets to "damage" the low-end Android smartphone market, with Google's mobile operating system arguably appealing to more buyers than Microsoft's alternative.
The Nokia X handset range was also seen as a gateway to Microsoft's apps and services, with the firm likely to benefit.
Elop said, "Nokia X gives people a gateway to Microsoft, which is a key part of our strategy and it represents a very deliberate strategy to leverage Microsoft services. I am personally so excited about the next chapter in this journey as we go on with the introduction of this new family, and do some damage to other low-cost Android devices." µ