Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is not planning on abandoning the entry-level phone market, according to a company executive, and to prove it the software giant has released a new basic phone under the Nokia brand.
Microsoft's Nokia 130. Click here for more information.
In an interview with Re/code, Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for Microsoft's phone unit, said the firm is committed to the entry-level phone business for the long term. "Microsoft doesn't have any other project that can reach these consumers," she said.
Harlow noted that more than 1 billion people around the globe still do not have any kind of mobile phone and that the basic-phone business is "stable and growing," unlike the declining feature-phone market.
"These consumers will create a Microsoft account and become part of the Microsoft ecosystem," Harlow said, noting that with Internet-connected basic phones, Microsoft can introduce consumers to its Bing search engine and OneDrive cloud storage.
Last month, as part of Microsoft's announcement of 18,000 job cuts—including 12,500 from the Nokia devices business it finished acquiring in April—Microsoft announced plans to scrap its Android-based X phones and focus instead on low-cost Lumia phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.
There were reports last month that Harlow indicated in an internal memo that Microsoft would wind down Nokia's Asha and Series 40 feature-phone businesses over the next 18 months to focus solely on Windows Phone devices, but for the time being it seems like Microsoft is at least sticking with basic phones.
The new phone, the Nokia 130, costs just €19 ($25), and although it lacks Internet connectivity, the candy-bar-style phone has a built-in video player and music player, a flashlight and an FM radio. The phone comes in single-SIM and dual-SIM variants and will begin shipping this quarter in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
- see this release
- see this Re/code article
- see this The Next Web article
- see this The Verge article
Analyst: With just 1.3% share in U.S., Microsoft may need to abandon smartphones
Report: Microsoft to wind down Nokia's feature-phone biz to focus on Windows Phone
Microsoft's Nokia job cuts reflect a shift away from devices
Microsoft to slash 18,000 jobs, many of them former Nokia workers
As Microsoft reportedly readies job cuts, Nadella promises to rethink core products
Microsoft's Nadella: There's room for us with Apple and Google in the consumer market