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Microsoft sends out mixed messages about Nokia Lumia brand

Microsoft has discussed the survival of the Nokia and Lumia brand names after it completes its Nokia acquisition.

BARCELONA, Spain -- Lumia lives! Microsoft will continue the Nokia and Lumia brands when it takes over Nokia's phone business, although the company is sending out mixed messages on the details of the transition.

I chatted about the future of Nokia today with Greg Sullivan, Director of Windows Phone, at industry shindig Mobile World Congress. He confirmed that Lumia as a brand would continue under Microsoft, but refused to confirm whether the Nokia name would survive on phones too. But a Microsoft spokesperson has since told me that the handset division of Nokia will continue to make phones under Microsoft, phones with Nokia logos on. 

Microsoft's acquisition of the phone section of Finnish manufacturer Nokia is due to be completed in the first three months of 2014, and a definitive answer on Nokia's fate will have to wait until then. 

For a minute there I started to wonder if we were looking at the end of the legendary Nokia dynasty of phones, replaced perhaps by a Microsoft Lumia brand of Windows Phone.

What's next for Windows Phone?

Microsoft is discussing details of the next Windows Phone update here at MWC, trumpeting several new manufacturers who will make new, cheaper Windows Phones, such as LG, Lenovo, and Foxconn. Sullivan argues that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia won't threaten other manufacturers -- "quite the opposite, in fact." He highlights how Microsoft will soon allow manufacturers more flexibility, including support for soft keys in future phones.

Regarding Windows Phone's place in the market, Sullivan is keen to emphasise growth. "If you're in a race and you're in third place and you want to pass the cars in front of you, then you have to drive faster than them," he says. "If we keep accelerating, eventually we'll pass them."

But there's still some way to go before Windows Phone can challenge Android and Apple. "The place where we have some work to do is in the app platform."

Discussing Windows Phone's greater success outside of the US, in countries such as Italy and Great Britain, Sullivan suggests, "There's no one reason why. It's a combination of differences in the way networks go to market... and, excuse the shameless pandering, but Brits are smart."

For more on Windows Phone and the rest of the coolest phones, tablets and wearable technology, check out our in-depth coverage of Mobile World Congress 2014.