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Nothing stirs up the rumor mill quite like a major corporation purchasing another major corporation shortly after the first corporation's CEO announces his retirement. With this morning's announcement that Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Nokia's Devices and Services business, reports are starting to come in that Nokia boss, Stephen Elop, could land in the CEO chair when Microsoft's Steve Ballmer departs from the company sometime in the next 12 months.
During an interview with the Seattle Times, Ballmer said that Elop will be moved from an external list of possible candidates to an internal list that could fast-track him into becoming the CEO of Microsoft. Ballmer did note that the board will continue to consider all appropriate candidates through the process and that Elop is still merely a candidate. So at the moment, it is still up in the air about who will fill Ballmer's seat when he leaves, but I would say the chances are high that Elop will take the helm and guide Microsoft for the years to come.
Microsoft's early morning announcement of its pending acquisition of Nokia has the entire tech world talking this morning, with many speculating about what the future may hold for both companies. Shortly after the official announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued a statement to Microsoft employees in the form of a company-wide memo.
The memo mentions that the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia over the last two years has yielded some incredible work and cites the recently released Lumia 1020 41-megapixel Windows Phone as its greatest achievement. Ballmer says that he believes that now is the time for Microsoft to build on this momentum and capitalize on Windows Phone's growing popularity on the Lumia platform.
He goes on to say that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia is a good deal for both companies in that Microsoft is on the receiving end of some incredible talent, technology, and intellectual property. In an article I posted earlier this morning, Ballmer alluded to the fact that he feels that Microsoft can take the Lumia line of smartphones to an entirely new level that was unachievable with Nokia.
Maybe this is one of the driving forces behind Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's Services and Devices division today, in that the Redmond-based company isn't even making $10 per Windows Phone-based Nokia device sold.
Part of it's "rationale for the deal", Microsoft revealed that under its current deal with Nokia, it receives less than $10 per phone in software royalties. This would mean that if Windows Phone were to overnight, somehow, with maybe a wish from a genie, become the number one mobile OS in the world and sell millions of handsets through Nokia, it wouldn't exactly equal huge money for Microsoft.
So while people might be looking at Microsoft taking a big risk acquiring the Services and Devices division from Nokia, in the long run it obviously hopes it'll help them. Microsoft has also said that Nokia's Windows Phones have a gross profit margin in the range of $40 per phone. The Redmond-based software giant is also signing a rather large cheque to Nokia for "platform support", which is kinda like a bribe so that Nokia goes all-in with Windows Phone instead of Android.
I'm sure that most, if not all of Microsoft's Windows Phone partners were calling emergency board meetings today when the Redmond-based giant announced it had acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division, but what does this mean for the future of Windows Phone?
Well, apart from writing an article about it (which you can expect in the coming days, as well as a new surprise addition to the site), Microsoft's EVP of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, has said that Microsoft won't be cutting ties with other WP partners. He has been quoted as saying: "Acquiring Nokia's Devices group will help make the market for all Windows Phones, from Microsoft or our OEM partners. We collaborate with our Microsoft hardware teams in the same way we partner with our external hardware partners... We look forward to building new products together that will provide valuable business opportunity for the ecosystem and enable OEMs."
Without going into much detail, I don't think we'll see anything big from the acquisition. By then, Google would have put its foot right down to the metal with Android 5.0 "Key Lime Pie", Google Glass, and enjoying its partners pushing out countless devices. Apple is going to be the underdog going into 2015 with the iPhone, and Microsoft, well, they could surprise us, but they haven't so far.
In an unexpected turn of events, Microsoft has announced its intentions to purchase Nokia's Devices and Services divisions for a reported $5 billion dollars. Additionally, the Redmond computing pioneer will also license all related patents from the Finnish telecom giant for an additional $2.2 billion.
The transaction is expected to be under review until 2014 and is expected to finalize sometime during the first quarter. Nokia Executives expected to transfer to Microsoft in the deal include Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber. Stay tuned to TweakTown for full coverage of the acquisition as news begins flowing in.
Apple is hosting an event on September 10, where we should be introduced to the iPhone 5S. Now there's news popping up that the company is restricting vacation time of AppleCare employees between September 15-28.
This falls right in line with the rumored launch date of the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones, hitting consumers on September 20. iOS 7 is expected to drop in the same week. The above photo is an internal document leaked to AppleInsider which reportedly shows the amount of time off available to AppleCare employees during September, which drops heavily once September 15 hits.
This is just more confirmation that Apple will unleash the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones on September 10 with a September 20 release.
Vodafone and Verizon's business relationship might just improve if a report from Reuters is correct, with the company's working on a deal over the weekend. As usual, people "familiar with the matter" say that the firms' respective boards are voting on a $130 billion buyout.
This would see Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon back in its own hands. Verizon will finance half of the deal with bonds and bank loans, with the other half of the deal seeing suitcases filled with cash being handed over. The Wall Street Journal has chimed in, stating that the deal was finalized behind closed doors, and we should expect an official announcement on Monday morning.
Today a report surfaced that says Microsoft is in talks with Foursquare over a deal that could see the Redmond, Washington based company investing in the social check-in service. Unfortunately for Microsoft Foursquare, American Express is also interested in investing in the company which could see massive gains and profit over its new advertising business model.
Recently Foursquare was valued at $600 million after it raised $41 million from venture capital firms to aid in the company's expansion. Its new advertising business model would allow companies to place targeted ads directly to the consumers when they check-in at an establishment where an advertisers products may be served. The company has dubbed this new business model "Geo-Aware Advertising."
Some people are not a fan of targeted advertising, but I have to say that honestly I don't mind it that much. I would much rather see ads about products that I'm interested in over products I could care less about. This new advertising model actually excites me a little because I feel that it may help introduce me to new things in establishment I frequent.
Big news for the Mountain View-based giant tonight, with its VP of Android product management leaving the company and headed for Chinese cellphone maker Xiaomi.
Barra has been with Google since 2008, but get ready for the juicy part: Barra was rumored to be in a relationship with a Google employee who is now seeing Google co-founder Sergey Brin. AllThingsD is reporting that the relationship issues are not part of why Barra left the company.
You might be thinking 'just who in the hell is Xiaomi?' but they are quite the force in the Chinese market right now, recently shipping more handsets than Apple did iPhones in the country, according to Canalys' latest numbers. Google has released a statement regarding Barra's departure, where it said: "We wish Hugo Barra the best. We'll miss him at Google and we're excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem."
It's no secret that Apple would like to own the IP rights to everything ever created, and a recent trademark filing seems to affirm this. Today, website TMwatch spotted a recent trademark application filed by the Cupertino giant in which the company wishes to obtain exclusive rights to the word "startup."
The trademark was filed with the Australian legal firm Baker and McKenzie at the company's California headquarters. If the trademark is granted, it would prevent future new companies from using the term "startup" to describe their business ever again. It would also prevent the phrase being used in retail stores, being used in literature to describe what your computer does when you press the power button, and even educational settings such as classes and workshops.
Fortunately, trademark applications usually take a couple of years to process which leaves plenty of time for individuals and other companies to protest the filing. However, if the trademark application is approved, it could spell major issues for the tech industry as a whole. On a lighter note, could you imagine a world in which Robert Scoble could not use the term "startup" anymore?