Satya Nadella is a man with a formidable challenge. Microsoft CEO's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, squandered the company's mobile fortunes. From smartphone platform leader a decade ago, the software-and-services giant is a category also-ran in 2015. Microsoft has no independent mobile platform future. The war is over. There remains this: Making alliances with old enemies to preserve existing territory, while using the foothold to reach into new frontiers.
Made available August 5th, Outlook for Apple Watch is a very smart move and metaphor for what went wrong on Microsoft mobile platforms and what has to go right to preserve and extend the legacy applications stack. While Windows 10 makes its way to Lumia devices, the future is Android and iOS and how the company supports them with contextually meaningful cloud-connected apps and services.
It's finally official. Nokia today announced the sale of its HERE division to German car makers Audi, BMW and Daimler. The mapping and location services business is probably best known for powering products offered by major tech companies like Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft.
Audi, BMW and Daimler have agreed to pay €2.8 billion ($3.07 billion at the time of writing this article) to gain ownership of HERE, with Nokia expecting to receive "slightly above €2.5 billion", after factoring in "certain defined liabilities" coming in at just under €300 million. Not too shabby, but well below the rumored asking price of $4 billion.
Nokia’s event in Los Angeles wasn’t a smartphone, but instead a 360-degree film camera for virtual reality projects. Named OZO, it is intended for Hollywood and other video makers who intend to use virtual reality in the future.
The eight sensors that cover the spherical camera will collect film in 360-degrees, with playback stitched together within minutes. Nokia claims this is the first of its kind, with playback through VR normally taking hours in post production.
Nokia has agreed to a deal with a consortium of German car manufacturers for the sale of Here Maps, for $2.71 billion (£1.73 billion). The deal would see Here Maps turn into an open platform, which all car manufacturers can use for navigation and mapping inside vehicles.
Volkswagen (Audi’s parent company), Daimler (Mercedes-Benz parent company) and BMW are the main buyers. The three German manufacturers managed to worm their way out of paying upwards of $4 billion (£2.56 billion), which is what Nokia was apparently looking for when all of the interest started surging on Here Maps.
Nokia is no stranger to the smartphone market. Once an iconic player in the game, the Finnish-based company sold its devices and services business to Microsoft last year. The company, however, plans to get back in the smartphone business, it confirms today.
Weeks after its CEO Rajeev Suri revealed company's plan to return to the smartphone business, in a blog post, it notes today that it will be establishing brand licensing model with partners that can be "responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product."
Just over a week on from Microsoft's announcement that it was getting out of the display advertising business with the loss of 1,200 jobs, the company's CEO is wielding his ax again.
This time up to 7,800 jobs are set to go in the company's phone hardware business as it says that the future prospects for the segment are, "...below original expectations".
If you are in the market for a new Windows Phone now is the time to pull the trigger. Microsoft is running an attractive promotion, giving customers a free pair of Nokia headphones with the purchase of any Windows Phone from its online store.
And I mean any Windows Phone. This promotion applies to all Acer, BLU, Microsoft and Nokia-branded Windows Phone devices that Microsoft sells, so you are not limited to a certain brand or, most importantly, a certain price bracket.
Finnish navigation and mapping giant Nokia is planning a return to the mobile industry in 2016, but it will not manufacture any smartphones.
Instead, CEO Rajeev Suri plans to find partners capable of working on the manufacturing and distribution parts, while it designs and licenses its brand name.
You don't get much for $20 these days, but you can pick up a Nokia 105. This is the latest budget phone offering from Microsoft which sees the company trying to get more people around the world connecting with each other.
Of course, for $20 expectations should not be set too high -- this is an extremely basic phone, but that is very much the point. This is a handset designed as an entry point into phone ownership, and it harks back to the halcyon days of the likes of the Nokia 3310.
Ride-sharing company Uber and Chinese search giant Baidu have teamed up to acquire Nokia’s Here Maps division for £2.2 billion. The partnership is the second of its kind, with Baidu investing £387 million in Uber late last year.
The two will look for an all-cash acquisition, but Uber and Baidu are not the only partners trying to acquire Here Maps. Tencent Holdings, NavInfo and EQT Partners have partnered as well, bringing a Chinese rivalry into the mix.
Microsoft could face a ban on importing handsets into the US after a ruling by the International Trade Commission. The ITC found that Microsoft had used technology for which InterDigital owns the patents without obtaining the relevant permission.
Microsoft plans to challenge the ruling, saying "we have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards". It is not the first handset manufacturer to have been hit with legal action from InterDigital, and it could severely hamper future handset sales.
Wouldn’t it be great if Nokia started manufacturing phones again? If the recent reports are to be believed, the Finland-based company is planning to do just that. Citing its sources, Re/code earlier this week reported that the company will be returning to the phone manufacturing business by 2016, and would launch a couple of Android smartphones. Too bad, that’s not happening. Nokia announces today that it doesn’t intend to return to the smartphone manufacturing business, squashing all the recent reports that claimed otherwise.
On its website (via Reuters), the company notes that the recent news reports that claimed that Nokia expressed its intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of an R&D facility in China “are false". "Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.", it further says.
It is no secret that Nokia is pondering the sale of its HERE division. The Finnish company wants to focus on the telecommunications market, and HERE, which offers location services, mapping and navigation software, seems to be nothing but extra weight to lug around. Seeing as a sale is inevitable, the question is, who is going to buy it?
A rumor that's floating around now suggests that Nokia has pitched the sale of HERE to Apple, among other companies. The Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation would certainly stand to benefit from acquiring the technology that powers HERE, as its own attempt at offering navigation software to iOS users has not gone particularly well. Such a purchase, while extremely interesting for Apple, would have deep implications for HERE's current clients, which will most certainly not be favored by it. Here's what it could entail.
Following on from yesterday's confirmation that Nokia was in talks with Alcatel-Lucent regarding a possible buyout, the Finnish company has now gone ahead with the purchase. Nokia is paying €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) for the French telecoms equipment manufacturer. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2016, subject to shareholder approval.
The coming together of forces is very much a forward-looking venture. Nokia says that the combination of Nokia Technologies and FutureWorks with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs will allow for "unparalleled innovation capabilities". Nokia also announced that it has initiated a strategic review of its HERE business, but it is not yet clear whether this will ultimately result in its sale.
At the beginning of the week rumors started to creep out that Nokia was interested in buying Alcatel-Lucent. The story started with a report on Bloomberg and -- rather surprisingly for such rumors -- Nokia decided to not only comment on the rumor, but confirm that it is true.
Details are still rather thin on the ground and there's no hint at a possible timescale for a buyout of the French telecoms firm. What the statement does do, however, is open up the interesting possibility that Nokia could be on the verge of re-entering the smartphone market after offloading the handset side of its business to Microsoft.