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Jul 17, 2014

Microsoft to Kill Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X in 18 Months




Today, Microsoft announced some major changes in its smartphone strategy moving forth, including a large number of layoffs from the former Nokia Devices and Services division, but it seems that the company did not reveal all on its plans for the future.

The company said that it would streamline production at some factories and that the engineering process would be restructured to only two of Nokia sites in Finland (though others would continue to operate as support), but it seems that there’s more to it. Within the next 18 months, we might see the Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X series of devices completely shut down, as the company is shifting focus on Windows Phone and Lumia devices. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has already said that some Nokia X devices will be re-purposed to Lumia phones, and Stephen Elop has reiterated that, while also saying that current Android devices will continue to be available for purchase and will also receive support. However, an internal memo from Jo Harlow, head of Microsoft’s phone business, clears things up a bit more, revealing that Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X devices are being moved into "maintenance mode" effective immediately, The Verge reports.

Thus, they will no longer receive new features, although support for them will still be offered for the next 18 months. Past that, these handsets will be completely removed from Microsoft’s plans. "This means there will be no new features or updates to services on any Mobile Phones platform as a result of these plans," Jo Harlow reportedly says in the aforementioned internal memo. "Whereas successful hardware was the goal at Nokia; delighting our customers with Microsoft platforms, services and applications through our hardware is our goal at Microsoft,” she also notes. Thus, Microsoft will focus completely on Windows Phone and on increasing its market presence in the high-end and entry-level segments, it seems.

"To drive success in the short term, we plan to focus our high end go-to-market strategy on the Lumia 930, Lumia 1520, and other high-end products that we will be announcing very soon," Harlow says. As part of the restructuring plans, Microsoft will also kill MixRadio, it seems. This service too has been moved to maintenance mode, and the company is said to be looking into transforming it into a third-party service, and is also considering spinning it off. Said memo also reveals that the Redmond-based company will work on the building of new flagship products to be released alongside the next iteration of Windows Phone, which will arrive next year under the codename of Threshold.

Nokia X
Image credits to Nokia/Microsoft

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