back to article X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

Microsoft's Android phones are the latest casualty of the company's axe. The X range was only launched in February this year, before the acquisition of Nokia's devices unit had been completed, but the mutant 'droids will soon be phased out, says CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft is getting rid of up to 18,000 jobs as it digests the …

  1. Gordon 10


    Why didn't Elop(e) kill the X phones before birth. Typical ex-CEO - incapabile of making any REAL decision.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: FFS

      Actually, Elop should've canned the WinPhone platform instead and beefed up the X phones. Of course, the mothership would not approve of that...

    2. tmTM

      Testing the water??

      Maybe since they were near the end of development they decided to at least give them a shot at the market and see what the public reaction was???

  2. Piro Silver badge

    It's the right decision, make an android phone or don't, not this mess, but Satya Nadella is turning out to be one depressing CEO.

  3. James 51

    Wow. What did they bother paying for all this stuff if all their going to do is throw it straight in the bin without even looking at it? Can't help but see this as managers in MS protecting their turf by ensuring there is as little change as possible coming instead of trying to accomplish something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why did they bother paying for all this stuff you ask? Maybe they had to find a way to spread out lots of losses or at least big decreases in revenues. So why not blend the mobile divisions into lots of their other divisions so the revenue numbers can be mixed around. Later this purchase can be declared big losses and again spread out across many product lines.

      They have often used restructuring to spread losses around all the while the Windows gravy train kept feeding money into those businesses and help destroy competitors

    2. Lee D Silver badge


    3. Paul Shirley

      It makes sense if you believe Nokia launched the X devices to 'encourage' MS to buy the company sooner, rather than waiting for the price to drop more. They could afford to wait to buy a Winphone business no-one else was likely to want but an Android business couldn't be allowed any chance of reviving Nokia.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge


    >To win in the higher price tiers,

    We don't currently compete in this bracket, or at least not on a serious level.

    >we will focus on breakthrough innovation.

    Up until we were simply focussing on old technology because we had completely lost track of what we were doing..

    >that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences.

    That brings our old technology up to date, we really are that far behind the others.

    >In addition, we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows.

    We realise that an android platform would likely surpass the Windows version so just to avoid the embaressment we will eliminate the android version

    >This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space

    Our cheap shit just managed to pass the break even line.

    >and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps.

    I need to make at least on reference to Windows 8 in order to satisfy the boys....

    Not very positive Mr Nadelle.....

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Translation

      What I don't understand is how is competing in the "higher price tiers" the same as no to cheap Android but yes to cheap Windows Phone. I could understand something like "concentrate resources (and sack the rest…)" but that doesn't sound very much like a services first company. The decision, of course, was inevitable whether for brand or engineering reasons but how did Elop let it get so far?

      And, as Mr Orlowski has pointed out elsewhere: where are the resources coming from to increase the speed of development? 8.1 has been a long-time in the making, breaks existing stuff and has been released buggy.

      PS. you might think about enabling a spell-checker for your posts

    2. Charles Manning

      Buzzword bingo

      It looks increasingly like Nadelle is reading from a pot of simmering alphabet soup.

      The barrage of buzzwords almost sounds plausable and soothing to share holders so long as it is kept up for long periods (3000 word essay/memos). As soon as you pull out individual sentences and apply any analysis them make so sense.

      Windows Univerval Apps is a broken concept. People want their PCs for different purposes than their phones.

      Microsoft already tried this, but the other way around. The early WinCE mobile devices and phones had start buttons.

      Finally the message got through that nobody wanted start buttons on phones, but MS didn't stop there - they tried to make PCs look like phones too.

      Microsoft are so used to setting, nay, forcing, the direction that they have forgotten to consider the most important aspect - what works for the custiomer.

      Until they get the basics right they will continue to slide.

      1. plrndl

        Re: Buzzword bingo

        Nadella probably writes in plain English, then runs it through Bing translate.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Buzzword bingo

          Maybe the new CEO is Scott Adams in disguise playing the world's biggest prank.

        2. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Buzzword bingo


          That dates back to 22 years ago and is no less valid today as it was then. We have mad huge progress in computing but unfortuantely the same can't be said for the meatbags that use them.

  5. bitten

    Hello there and goodbyes here

    1. ratfox
  6. Frankee Llonnygog

    They had to do it

    Linux is a cancer. It could have spread throughout the entire organisation. I'm only surprised they haven't lobbied the US government to drop some nukes. You can't be too careful

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They had to do it

      That's funny. I got collared by a Microsoft recruiter droid only a couple of weeks ago. He promised that Linux was a perfectly acceptable dev environment for them. "Whatever your preference."

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: They had to do it

        Also funny - your mask is smiling but you can't take a joke

        1. Chika

          Re: They had to do it

          But there's a problem with this sort of joke. It's difficult to get it unless you are aware of the context. That's why emoticons were invented, for example. :b

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Nokia X

    The X means eXtremely desperate to get back into Redmond.

  8. fishman

    X customers

    Quite a few of those who bought one of the X phones won't buy another Microsoft/Nokia phone after their phone was killed off so quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: X customers

      Is that the plan? Kill off all mobile phone markets to get people to lug around PCs... um, Tablets... um Xboxes...

      Wait, none of that seems on MS plan, well successful plan. So is it they plan to kill off all markets, then retire to the Good Life?

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: X customers

      It's not like they sold a lot of X phones.

  9. busycoder99

    Typical Microsoft

    Realized they had a chance to get back in the race and decided to lop off both feet.

  10. Anonymous Coward 101

    Was Nokia Android simply a ruse to get MS to buy Nokia? 'Buy us, or watch us pump yet more Android devices out to India'!

    1. Jess

      re: simply a ruse

      Probably not simply a ruse, probably something they though would earn them some money, if Microsoft didn't buy them, but with the bonus of making that far more likely.

      A bit of a poison pill though.

      So Nokia (phones division) have pulled the plugs on or are doing so to:



      WIndows Phone 7



      How many customers and devs will that have pissed off?

      The devs who signed up to X after the previous burnt platforms must now feel like Charlie Brown landing on his back after Lucy pulls the ball away, after yet again promising she wouldn't.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: re: simply a ruse

        - Symbian

        - Meego

        - WIndows Phone 7

        - S40

        - X

        soooooo ... there are no more non-US smartphone OS-es out there, because M$ bought and killed the only and last non-US company able to do it on a large scale. Of course, any coincidence with the NSA spying on everybody is, well, coincidence. And Samsung getting sued over-and-over the other US company - and delaying Tizen - is also coincidence.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: re: simply a ruse

        Most WP7 users don't really care, you just wait to upgrade. Not that there were many of them so probably it's seen as an acceptable loss rather than get sucked into backwards compatibility hell all over again... make the big changes while you can get away with it.

      3. gryff

        Re: re: simply a ruse


        Elop killed Symbian and Meego because Nokia "needed LTE support and North America market share."

        The North America market share is still much so that (Nokia) San Diego is being cut back down. So they are pretty much back where they were 3-4 years ago -> take everyone else's products and certify them for the US market. Poor guys.

        LTE would have been there in an adequate timeframe just like 3G -> be second and be better. How many customers have noticed that LTE is actually data and most voice traffic is still on 3G or even 2G??

        MS and/or Elop has just killed X. Not Nokia.

        Windows 7 wasn't killed by Nokia - that was Microsoft's sole decision. Arguably Elop should have kept his mouth shut and .. well actually just kept his mouth shut, because it seems like every time he speaks market share declines in my opinion...and waited until WinPho 8 was available and then the market with 3-4 great devices like the 500/600/900/1000 series.

        S40 was approaching a critical turning point in 2011 and Nokia knew that a new platform was needed, hence the "Meltemi that we don't talk about", the Smarterphone acquisition and finally the "X platform which looks like what the Finns wanted before Elop started .."

        Frankly the best example of Finnish "Sisu" (guts/courage) I've seen recently is selling the Phones business to MS for several €$billion. They isolated Elop from the negotiations, pursued a Plan B with the X range, cut the layoffs from tens of thousands to ...430 according to my notes, successfully stroked Ballmer's ego and offloaded a management cabal to a bunch of ??? with low experience of how to succeed in the mobile phone market or how to manage a mobile hardware business.

        ...all my opinion, of course...I welcome corrections, criticism.

    2. Fungus Bob

      Re: Was Nokia Android simply a ruse to get MS to buy Nokia?

      Yep, that's the way to light a fire under Microsoft's ass.

      Talk about burning platforms...

  11. Doug 3

    What a long strange trip it has been.

    "Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, executive VP of the Microsoft Devices group....."

    Shouldn't that be Former Microsoft executive who became Nokia CEO who sold Nokia to Microsoft to become the former Nokia CEO and now current Microsoft executive again? It really didn't take that long for Mr Elop to destroy Nokia and sell it to Microsoft so maybe the title should be 'What a short strange trip it has been.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I sincerely hope Elop is one of the one Microsoft is getting rid of. It seems like his only intention when he went to Nokia was to make sure it became part of Microsoft.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well of course they did

    Surely the whole point of X was a stick to get Microsoft to buy Nokia's handset division?

  14. Someone Else Silver badge


    Many expected Microsoft to look for a buyer for the featurephones division, which still generates considerable cash.

    What??? Sell off an up-and-running competitor to the WinPho hegemony-wannabee that has the very real possibility of eating WinPho's lunch and some part of its dinner? Shirley, you jest.

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    is anyone remotely surprised?

    I'm not.

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    "Microsoft knew what they were buying"

    I guess that

    "HP knew what they were buying" when they bought Autonomy.

    It looks like Nokia was not the investment they (MS) might have thought it was.

    But why oh why didn't Elop get his pink slip?

  17. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Microsoft X phones

    Thems is the ones that Plays For Sure(TM)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, Nokia pissed off the Symbian and MeeGo customers by going to WP7. Then Nokia pissed those customers off by selling hardware that was incapable of running WP8 all while the phones were still under their 1 or 2 year warranty at that. So now the Nokia handset division of Microsoft has just pissed of their new X customers by killing it off.

    Does Microsoft have to try this hard to piss people off or does it just come naturally for them?

  19. Colin Ritchie

    Shooting X makes sense to the Win Borg.

    Today M$ celebrates ridding the world of one more Android competitor while retaining all the R&D and patents they wanted. Now they just need to buy up and kill Motorola, HTC, Sony and all the other little league Androids to make it a 3 horse race properly. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft choose your masques.

    Meanwhile the Moto G 4G continues to frustrate their budget ambitions.

  20. chasil

    Microsoft, get this through your thick skull

    The market has no interest in another closed, proprietary general-purpose OS.

    The developers don't want it. The admins don't want it. The users don't want it.

    We aren't going to pay $300 per core for whatever current whimsical design that you decide suits us best. We are no longer interested. Keep it.

    If you want to sell phones, you're going to have to sell Android. There is plenty of opportunity; there are real weakness in this market. Dethroning the regent would not be difficult if you are smart.

    But stop trying to sell us a TRS-80 Model 1. We really just don't have time for it. We aren't feeling retro, we aren't feeling Metro, and we're not paying to downgrade.

    Fix this problem or die. Your choice.

    1. JimtheITguy

      Re: Microsoft, get this through your thick skull

      ever though some of us living in the real world actually use and like WP8 and 8.1? Microsoft have taken Nokia from lagging behind in the world of phones to a company gaining ground every day, but because its Microsoft it must be bad and because you say so Microsoft must start making phones like everyone else....running dull a world you must live in

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft, get this through your thick skull

        Nokia were lagging behind? In which parallel dimension was this? Elop demolished the company!

  21. Denarius Silver badge

    why does this remind me of IBM

    buy something to extend shiny shinies to sell, then smother acquired firm with a layer of suits. I note that marketing to high end of IT market is also not working for any firm. Electronics of all types are commodities and priced accordingly. But then, we all expected this kind of death for Nokia for how long ?

    1. plrndl

      Re: why does this remind me of IBM

      Microsoft(ies) should note that IBM had to lose $7.5 billion, two years in a row, before it came to its senses and started to change into a sustainable business, and it came out on a much smaller scale.

    2. Magnus_Pym

      Re: why does this remind me of IBM

      Hmm. yes. The IBM PC was initially dumbed down so it didn't compete with existing IBM divisions that couldn't keep up. IBM were so self obsessed they thought the only competition was with themselves. The suits said 'yes the PC very nice but it will confuse the customer. They won't know which IBM product choose? make it less powerful'. In the end they chose Compaq.

  22. PaulM 1

    I like smart phones, but the real purpose of a phone is to make voice calls

    Microsoft should not be stopping the production of S40 phones because smart phones are unusable for making voice calls because of their very low battery life. I have recently bought three Nokia 105 feature phones, which have a one month battery life, to guarantee that my family can still phone home even when they have been camping for two weeks. I generally use an Asha 205 as my main phone because I only need to charge it every few days. Also I can answer more quickly by pressing the green button on my Asha 205 than by using a swipe. I do sometimes use my Android HTC CHA CHA as a talk phone because it has a green button but still find I miss more calls than I would on my S40 phones.

    1. Philippe

      Re: I like smart phones, but the real purpose of a phone is to make voice calls

      Although I agree with pretty much everything in your post, I just wanted to point out that the Nokia 105 is not running S40 but S30 , which Microsoft is also killing off unfortunately.

  23. mIRCat

    As any foo' knows.

    "Microsoft will make R&D cuts (or "ramp down our engineering work") in Finnish city Oulu, Beijing and San Diego."

    Because that's how you succeed in a market.

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