An interview with the Head of the Mobile Phones business unit, Timo Toikkanen
Our announcement that Microsoft plans to acquire Nokia’s devices and services division was a historic event. We talked to Timo to find out where that leaves the Asha and feature phone ranges produced by our Mobile Phones unit.
Why is Nokia’s Asha and feature phone business attractive to Microsoft?
It’s important to realise that this is not just big news for Nokia, but this is big for Microsoft, too. It is bringing in a new strategy and creating a family of devices and services designed to succeed in today’s marketplace.
Nokia Mobile Phones is an attractive asset to Microsoft in many ways. It’s a profitable business with substantial global reach – we have a presence in almost every country in the world – and a strong customer base. We can enable Microsoft to extend its services to a far wider group around the world, while also serving as a bridge to Windows Phone.
What has changed?
In the short term, nothing will change for you at all: Nokia will continue to produce the great devices, delivering the same trust and quality and design it’s known for.
Will this be the end of the Asha series and feature phones?
Not at all. Just last week, we launched the Nokia 515, a premium feature phone addressing a crowd that doesn’t want a smartphone. The device has received a very warm welcome by the media and consumers alike. The same goes for the super affordable Nokia 105, which is real hit with consumers; just last month, we sold more than a million 105s in India alone. In the Asha family, devices like the Nokia Asha 201, Nokia Asha 200 and Nokia Asha 205 hold the first three positions in India, Middle-East and Africa. And the Nokia Asha 201 has been the top-selling phone in South Africa for past five months.
This all means that there’s a clear demand for our products around the world. There are currently 1.3 billion people globally that have a Nokia phone, and we’ll of course continue creating devices under the Nokia name also in the future.
Will I still be able to buy a phone that says ‘Nokia’ on it?
Absolutely. Nokia is in fact the word people use to say “mobile phone” in a lot of countries, and Microsoft has purchased the license to the Nokia brand for the ten years.
My colleague Tuula Rytilä already covered this in her interview.
Why developers should continue developing for the new Nokia Asha platform and Series 40?
Today, there are 1.3 billion people using a Nokia phone, many of them benefiting from applications created by thousands of developers around the globe. We don’t plan to change that, as the need for apps will continue. It’s also proven to be successful: in fact, more than 400 apps developers have surpassed the one million download mark through Nokia Store.
This is a fantastic opportunity for developers.
When we launched the Nokia Asha 501 last May, we said it was the first of a family of devices that will come to the market based on a new user interface, based on what we call FastLane. This will continue and we will see more innovation coming from that front, so stay tuned.
Lastly, we have billing agreements with more than 160 operators in over 60 countries. That is a tremendous advantage for developers, where their apps can be bought quickly and simply, charged directly to people’s monthly phone bill. This is particularly important for markets where credit cards are not widely used.