May 16, 2014 1:50 pm

Microsoft’s One Big Red Book

The closing of the Microsoft-Nokia agreement on April 25, 2014 sparked the transformation of both companies, with Nokia hitching its wagon to Networks, maps and advanced technologies, and Microsoft taking a bold step towards its “mobile first, cloud first” goal by welcoming the Nokia Devices and Services business to the fold.

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The deal brings together two businesses with impeccable technology pedigrees, and during final preparations one of the planning teams struck upon a worthy way to celebrate the union: create a memento outlining the storied history of both companies.

Conversations caught up with the driving force behind the book, marketing lead Carol Soriano.

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Hi Carol, could you tell us how the idea for the book came about?

The concept of a book was borne of a brainstorming session we had in December 2013.  The working team, a mix of people from Microsoft and Nokia, was tasked with ideas for commemorating how the two businesses are coming together. My colleague, Katie Hallen, suggested that we do a “book of firsts” to celebrate our joint history of innovation.

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What did you want to achieve by doing this?

Clearly the acquisition was a big moment for all employees, regardless of whether you were coming over from Nokia or already working in Microsoft. We wanted to give people a lasting memento from a truly historic day. The book proudly looks back at our heritage, shares our current set of beliefs, and leaves space for ideas for the future.

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Thanks for bringing that up – please describe the book for us.

Well, we managed to pack a lot in. We searched through the archives of both companies: from the origins of Nokia as a pulp mill in Finland in 1865, to images of the original group of founding employees of Microsoft. We wanted people to proudly remember world-changing technologies that both companies have introduced, from the vision of putting a computer in every home to putting a mobile device in the hands of a billion people. As two companies, we made those visions into reality. Now, as One Microsoft, we wanted to inspire the readers of the book that they have the ability to change the world again.

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The cover is a wonderful mix of illustrations and color. You weren’t inspired by Mao, right?

I can confirm that Mao wasn’t the inspiration! On a more serious note, as I said earlier, we wanted to create something that left a lasting impression on an epic occasion. A simple brochure would not do; we wanted to create something that people would actually want to keep. Our agency, The Church of London (TCOL), helped us commission illustrators for the original artwork for the cover and the inside pages. The book itself was hand-crafted, with a look reminiscent of first-edition books.

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So who actually received the book? What sort of feedback have you got?

The book was given to the people from the Nokia Devices and Services business on the day that they transferred to Microsoft. We’re really pleased with the positive comments that we received from people, and to see people put the book in a place of honor on their desks (and not in the trash bin!). Plus, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella presented a copy to the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.

What’s that one Microsoft or Nokia innovation that has changed your life? Let us know in the comments below.