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.
When I first pondered leaving Windows Phone behind, I imagined it would be for an Android flagship. It made sense. Android is, after all, much more permissive, has way more apps, and is available in a larger variety of smartphone flavors. And Google is committed to improving the operating system, launching at least one major update a year. Also, I use a Google Nexus 7 as my every day tablet; an Android smartphone would be a perfect fit. But things change.
Apple finally came up with bigger iPhones last year, and the prospect of ditching Windows Phone for a new iPhone suddenly became irresistible. It didn't hurt that iOS 8 dropped some of the annoying restrictions of its predecessors. Ultimately, I ended up with an iPhone 6 Plus. And, after two years of Windows Phones, using Apple's phablet as my daily driver can only be described as liberating.
If you want to get your hands on a new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone without spending too much money or signing up for a two-year contract then Amazon might have just the thing for you.
Amazon is now offering Nokia Lumia 635, which is basically a low-end Windows Phone, as its Gold Box Deal of the Day, for just $29.99, which is $70 less than the usual $99.99 asking price.
When Nokia announced the availability of HERE on Google Play, it also announced that an iOS version will follow in early 2015. And today's the day when HERE is finally available on Apple's App Store.
Apple's iOS becomes the last of the major mobile platforms to get HERE, following Microsoft's Windows Phone and Google's Android. I've been waiting for this moment since I switched to iPhone 6 Plus from Windows Phone. Sure, there's always Google Maps, but its inability to work as well as HERE without an Internet connection is a major downside for me.
I can attest firsthand to the rising health-care costs everyone talks about. My mom went to hospital on January 30th for outpatient surgery. Still woozy from anesthesia, she left her Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone in the bed's blankets. The hospital ships the linens to Canada for cleaning, and, well—cue the violins—that handset is gone to cellphone heaven or into someone's greedy, grubby hands. Wouldn't you know, Medicare won't cover the cost of replacing the phone.
Neither will Asurion pay up. The nerve. When reporting the phone lost, Verizon suggested adding insurance to the phone line and later filing a claim. The Lumia could be replaced for $99 deductible. I must admit to a little apprehension, but, hey, cost was just 10 bucks. Damn, three attempts to file a claim all failed, with Asurion insisting that the phone was lost before insurance was applied. Either these insurers are smartypants, or this is a popular scam. Whichever, mom's hospital visit was an unexpected, health-care cost.
In less than a week, HERE has seen two major updates. The first brought more accurate maps to Android and Windows Phone users, making way for turn-by-turn navigation in more countries. And the second brings a slew of improvements to HERE for Android as the app finally drops the beta label.
Having used HERE on Android right from the start, I have to say that there is little that I miss compared to what the app suite has to offer on Windows Phone. Still, this hasn't stopped Nokia from making some tweaks here and there. Here's what the latest update brings to the table.
HERE Maps users on Android and Windows Phone are being treated to a major map update today, which expands the list of regions where turn-by-turn navigation is available, improves map quality in a number of regions, and increases the accuracy of public transit information in more cities, among other things.
In fact, Nokia claims that there are too many changes in this update to list individually, but says that they impact users all over the globe. Let's take a look at the biggest changes.
Nokia Lumia Icon is among the last Windows Phones to receive a software update to Windows Phone 8.1, despite its flagship credentials. But this shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, Lumia Icon features Verizon's logo. And we all know that big red is not exactly quick with updates.
In fact, despite being a Verizon exclusive, Lumia Icon is long gone from the carrier's portfolio. Talk about support there! The only Windows Phones Verizon sells now are HTC One (M8) for Windows and Samsung ATIV SE. Still, Lumia Icon will at least get Lumia Denim, which is based on Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, quite possibly before any other high-end Windows Phone in US.
Nokia’s best decision might have been selling its mobile division to Microsoft for £5 billion, removing the sinking division and giving the Finnish company enough capital to re-invest in networking and mapping technologies.
The results are already noticeable; Nokia reported £2.84 billion in revenue and £331 million net profit in the fourth quarter, compared to £2.60 billion in revenue and £17 million in net loss last year.
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.