Last week Satya Nadella addressed Microsoft’s employees, talking about his vision for where the company’s focus needs to lie going forward. This week, that push for change starts hitting closer to home for many, as Microsoft announces layoffs affecting some 18,000 workers. Stephen Elop addresses that difficult decision in a message distributed to the Microsoft Devices Group this morning, but more than just talking about the effect on staff, he also discusses shifting priorities for the business. That won’t be without its casualties either, and the first one on the chopping block looks to be the Nokia X series of Androids.
It’s hard to say from the language used if Nokia X is being killed off altogether, or just being seriously pared down as resources are redirected at Windows Phone. Elop explains, “we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.”
The way he writes about “select” Nokia X devices leaves a glimmer of hope that some could still make it through as Android models, but there’s also an over-arching theme to the letter of “making the market for Windows Phone” being the team’s goal (rather than what Elop describes as the production of smartphone hardware being “an end unto itself”) that suggests extremely low priority for anything like Android.
That’s a shame for those of us who were curious to see how these Nokia X devices might evolve, maybe even competing with Android One this fall.