Nokia Opts To Phase Out Ovi Name

Nokia is to phase out the use of the Ovi name and instead to use its own name for all the same services

Nokia’s Stephen Elop continues to ring the changes at the Finnish handset giant with the news that in an effort to “reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia” and “unify” its brand architecture, all Ovi services will be rebranded as Nokia services.

The transition will begin in July, and Nokia hopes to see it completed across all countries and all services by year’s end, Jerri DeVard, Nokia’s executive vice president and CMO, said in a 16 May statement. New phones will arrive without Ovi branding, and current Nokia owners will eventually see the branding phased out through software updates.

“The reasons for this decision includes the fact that Nokia is a well-known and highly loved brand the world over. Our mobile experiences are tightly integrated with our devices – there is no longer a differentiation,” DeVard said. “These last few years, and moving forward, our mission remains unchanged: we will continue our work to deliver compelling, unified mobile service offerings and next-generation, disruptive technologies.”

Nokia Changes

The greatest change to the Nokia brand, however, since Stephen Elop left Microsoft to take on the CEO role at the mobile phone vendor in September 2010, has been the redirection of its operating system priorities from Symbian to Microsoft.

In February, Elop warned that it would require some previously unthinkable measures to save the company, which for a number of quarters has lost market share to the Apple iPhone and Android-running smartphones. Days later Elop, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, announced the new deal, which will bring Windows Phone – running Nokia smartphones to market by 2012.

Elop has said that, more than creating an iPhone killer, Nokia’s comeback plan entails offering handsets for every price category – a strategy that some analysts believe will pay off.

“We believe that Nokia and Microsoft are a very powerful tandem, and that will show in its full force by 2013,” Stela Bokun, senior analyst with Pyramid Research, wrote in a 9 May report. “Lower price of the devices will be the crucial prerequisite for the expansion of WP models. Nokia knows it and Microsoft knows it, and I am sure they will act on it quickly.”

Symbian Future

In April, Nokia nonetheless followed through on plans to introduce two new high-end Symbian phones – the enterprise-geared E6 and the entertainment-rich X7 – both running a revamped, not-quite-open-source version of Symbian, nicknamed “Anna.

Nokia has promised additional Symbian devices in 2012, which will likely be its last, and in April shifted responsibilities for the OS to Accenture – along with approximately 3,000 Nokia employees, who will eventually be retrained to support Windows Phone.

Over at the Ovi Blog, where the irony of the name change was not lost, Editor-In-Chief Pino reiterated that Nokia is changing the name of its services, not closing them.

“This space,” the single-named Pino said, “will continue to be an important source for news, trends and tips for mobile experiences enjoyed by millions of the Nokia faithful. We will keep you posted as we evolve our presence to fit our new direction.”