Six months after launching their X family of entry-level smartphones, and barely one month since the launch of the X2, Nokia, now a Microsoft company, is scrapping their line of Nokia X Android smartphones.
Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO, and vice president of Microsoft’s devices unit, says the company will be “shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices… while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.”
The Nokia X family was dead on arrival—built using grossly inadequate technology, suffocated with a bastardisation of Android, and overpriced to boot. And when the X2 showed up it merely carried on the sad legacy of its predecessors. Truth be told, the Nokia X was nothing more than a vainglorious attempt to co-opt Android into the Microsoft collective.
The coup failed, and now the price is going to be paid by those customers who believed in Nokia.
This is not a new story from the company. In 2011, Nokia released its first generation of smartphones using the Windows Phone mobile operating system. It was a canny move by a once-great phone manufacturer to recapture some of its lost glory. Customers who believed in the company, and believed in the new vision flocked to buy the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. And not ten months after those early adopters and brand advocates put their faith in Nokia, they were told their new phone could not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 and so would not have access to a host of new apps and services on the platform.
This wasn’t a mistake. This wasn’t an oversight. It was a cold, calculated move to exploit the customers who most trusted the company, and to rob them in the name of earnings.
Yesterday Microsoft announced that it’s cutting 18,000 jobs, 12,500 of which will be from Nokia that it acquired in April. Are we to believe that Nokia, with only half the people, and a declared intention to consolidate and focus their operations on the Windows Phones operating system, has any intention to truly follow through on Elop’s statement to “support existing Nokia X products?” Or is it just bait to snare just a few more dollars from those glamoured fans that still believe in Nokia until stocks run out?
If Microsoft is sincere in adopting CEO Satya Nadella’s rebranded vision of Microsoft as “the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world” then the company and its components needs to realise that, unlike expendable Borg drones, mobile consumers are thinking and feeling people who are proactively choosing a brand promise through their purchases. Right now Nokia is doing a poor job of keeping its promises.
Kick us once, shame on you. Kick us twice, shame on us. If you’re still going to stick around Nokia, just remember to stand with your feet together.