Steve Ballmer Needs a Better Example of the Virtues of Integration

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Sept. 4 2013 7:31 AM

Ballmer Promises Merger Will Lead to Shorter Names

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Nokia CEO, Canadian Stephen Elop, unveils the Nokia Lumia 1020, a Windows Phone with a 41-megapixel camera during an event in New York City July 11, 2013.

Photo by TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer explains the synergies involved in a Microsoft/Nokia merger—shorter names:

“I think we can probably do better for consumer names than ‘Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020,’” Ballmer said. “Yet, because of where both companies are and the independent nature of the businesses, we haven’t been able to shorten that. … Now, we can simplify the overall consumer branding and messaging gets much simpler. That is an efficiency of being one company.”

It is true that Microsoft is bad at naming things (Windows RT, for example, does not feature any windows) and that "Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020" is an example of a bad product name. But if this is really the best example Ballmer can come up with of the benefits of tighter hardware/software integration then Microsoft's problems are worse than I thought.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.