Microsoft sends out mixed messages about Nokia Lumia brand

BARCELONA, Spain -- Lumia lives! Microsoft will continue the Nokia and Lumia brands when it takes over Nokia's phone business, although the company is sending out mixed messages on the details of the transition.

I chatted about the future of Nokia today with Greg Sullivan, Director of Windows Phone, at industry shindig Mobile World Congress. He confirmed that Lumia as a brand would continue under Microsoft, but refused to confirm whether the Nokia name would survive on phones too. But a Microsoft spokesperson has since told me that the handset division of Nokia will continue to make phones … Read more

Nokia Mix Radio will be a 'key contributor' to Microsoft, says Nokia exec

BARCELONA, Spain -- Nokia's Mix Radio service will be a "key contribution in revitalising the Microsoft brand," after the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia is complete, explained Jyrki Rosenberg, Nokia's vice president of entertainment, in an interview with CNET.

The importance of the music streaming service, Rosenberg said, lies in the lack of financial or technical hurdles to use it. The Mix Radio service is included as standard on all Nokia phones, including the sub $100 Asha range and newly-unveiled Android-powered X phones. There's no required subscription fee and there are no adverts to interrupt your … Read more

'The map comes alive': Nokia Here boss dreams of drones, self-driving cars

BARCELONA, Spain -- "Mapping 1.0 is done," says the head of Nokia Here. He envisions a world of constantly-updating, infinitesimally precise maps guiding us on through the world on our smartwatches and smartphones, as self-driving cars zoom past and delivery drones soar overhead.

"First we had paper maps with lots of colourful lines," says Christof Hellmis, head of map platforms at Nokia Here, "but now the world is moving to the next generation of maps, which will be 3D, and will include Augmented Reality, like our CityLens app."

I met with Hellmis at … Read more

Microsoft in talks to take stake in Dailymotion, report says

Microsoft might soon have some stake in Dailymotion, a new report claims.

The company is in talks with French telecom Orange to help Dailymotion expand in the US, Orange CEO Stephane Richard said Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Richard cautioned, however, that the talks might not lead to a deal between Microsoft and Orange, which has a majority stake in Dailymotion.

Dailymotion was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest competitors to YouTube, providing user-generated content to viewers. Dailymotion has a strong presence internationally, but has been trying to improve its standing in the US. Last … Read more

Microsoft's hardware chief changes roles before Elop return

Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green announced Monday she is leaving her role as leader of hardware development to lead the My Life & Work team inside the Applications and Services Group.

Larson-Green, who announced the move in an internal memo obtained by GeekWire, also will serve as chief experience officer for the division, which oversees online services such as Bing,, MSN, and SkyDrive. She will report to Qi Lu, who runs the Applications and Services Group.

Before taking over development of hardware such as the Xbox and Surface last July, Larson-Green was tapped to lead all Windows software and … Read more

BlackBerry said to be replacing Microsoft in Ford's new cars

Ford has partnered with Microsoft for its Sync in-car infotainment system for years, but it's looking like the car giant may be switching to BlackBerry.

The automaker is swapping out Microsoft for BlackBerry for its next-generation in-car entertainment and communications technology, according to a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources. Apparently, the car maker believes BlackBerry's system could be cheaper and more reliable.

Ford partnered with Microsoft in 2007 to create a fully integrated, flash memory-based system to enable drivers to call hands-free and to control a range of digital audio via voice commands and buttons mounted on the … Read more

Nokia's Elop on selling an Android phone that's not an Android phone

BARCELONA, Spain -- Nokia will have to walk a fine line when it comes to selling its recently unveiled Nokia X family of smartphones.

While Nokia X and its brethren will run on Android, they are far from Android phones. That could lead to customer confusion as the company has largely focused on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating for its primary line of smartphones, and its older Symbian operating system for its Asha line of starter smartphones.

"We're going to have to be deliberate," said Stephen Elop, head of devices for Nokia, in an interview with CNET … Read more

Why the Android-powered Nokia X is great for Microsoft

BARCELONA, Spain -- You would think that Nokia's first Android smartphone would make for the start of a tense relationship with soon-to-be parent Microsoft.

Well, you'd be wrong.

The Nokia X, alongside its brothers the Nokia X+ and the larger Nokia XL, may turn out to be a boon to both companies. The Android phones can be held up as a symbol of Microsoft's continued neutrality, even in the face of the pending acquisition of Nokia's devices business. Nokia, meanwhile, gets an even more competitive budget phone that it can serve up to emerging markets, an … Read more

Microsoft's OK with Nokia using Android. Kind of

BARCELONA, Spain--Things got awkward for short moment on stage when Microsoft executives were asked about the possibility of Nokia using Android.

Joe Belfiore, vice president of operating systems for Windows, looked to Nick Parker, who runs the world original equipment manufacturer group. Parker looked back, with both wanting to defer to the other.

Finally, Belfiore spoke up, reiterating Microsoft's strong relationship with Nokia. As Microsoft hasn't yet finalized its deal to buy Nokia's device business, he couldn't add too much, but he did offer up this amusing nugget:

"Some things we're excited about, some … Read more

Next Windows Phone update will allow for more low-cost devices

Microsoft wants Windows Phone to go global in an even bigger way.

The company spilled a few of the details from its upcoming update to Windows Phone, which will be released later this year. With the update, Microsoft is loosening the restrictions for devices, allowing manufacturers to create more affordable products for the emerging markets.

Microsoft also announced a number of new partners who will be supporting Windows Phone, including high-profile names such as LG, Lenovo, and Foxconn.

The update underscores Microsoft's attempt to go after the emerging market, the fastest growing area in the industry. Even as the … Read more