Farewell Asha, We Hardly Knew Ye…

Asha, interrupted.
Asha, interrupted.

As mentioned in my prior post, Microsoft’s new CEO has announced big layoffs and cost reductions, and amongst those cost reductions are tombstones for various former Nokia products.

That includes the Asha and Series 40 lines, built on Nokia’s own platform, and the X series, which was based on Nokia’s fork of Android, running on Asha hardware.

Ironically, the name Asha was picked because it means “Hope” in Sanskrit. So much for hope. Maybe they will name their next series “Muutos”, which means “Change” in Finnish. :D

So while it’s no big surprise that Microsoft has terminated all the Nokia products that aren’t built on a Microsoft OS, it doesn’t lend a particularly high degree of confidence to those who may consider a Microsoft mobile device in the future. I’m reminded of the games that Microsoft likes to play with older desktop products and OS’s, ie their tendency to “disappear” important technical documents on prior OS versions like XP and Vista. Clearly there is no particular cost associated with keeping those documents online, and they serve as an important resource for those who for various reasons are still using those products and cannot yet upgrade them. But Microsoft seems more intent on arm-twisting people to buy new things than in simply trying to be helpful to its existing customers.

Microsoft has gained a bit in the smartphone market as BlackBerry has been in the process of restructuring itself and shifting to more emphasis on enterprise software and services. But if history is any guide, expensive acquisitions of hardware businesses by large software companies tend not to go so well, so the tables may be turned soon enough. Certainly if a pattern of alienation of former customers is set, that won’t help.

As John Chen might say: “More for us, then.” :D


I.T. Consultant/CIO in San Francisco, CA USA