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Microsoft now officially owns Nokia's devices and services division

As announced earlier this week, Microsoft has finally closed the deal on its acquisition of Nokia's devices and services division. Todays finalization sees Microsoft take full ownership of the Nokia Lumia line of smartphones, something the company says is pivotal in taking Windows Phone to the next level. Microsoft says that it will continue to support the Nokia Asha and Lumia X line of non Window's phones, but it is still unclear if they will release any new non windows phone models.

 

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"Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation. Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world," Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella said.

Continue reading 'Microsoft now officially owns Nokia's devices and services division' (full post)

Google rumored to minus Google+ from its lineup

Rumors are flying that Google will soon shut down, or at least dismantle its Google+ service. The rumors suggest that Google would remove Google+ as a product, but continue it flowing in the background as a service instead.

 

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TechCrunch has said: "What we're hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform - essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter". According to one of TechCrunch's anonymous sources, Google+ would no longer compete directly against Facebook and Twitter, and would end the forced integrations of Google+ into Google services like Gmail and YouTube.

 

Another source, as well as the Financial Times' anonymous source has said: "One person familiar with Google said the company planned to refocus its social media efforts soon. Its Hangouts messaging and video-chat app will be given greater prominence, alongside photos, while the Google+ branding may take a back seat, this person said".

 

Of course, Google is in damage control mode, stating that there are no such plans to shut down its social network. A statement that a Google spokesperson gave to Marketing Land: "Today's announcement has no impact on our Google+ strategy - we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos".

Amazon Prime Pantry might let you skip the grocery store

Amazon has made no secret over the years that it wants to earn all your business. You can get just about anything you can think of from Amazon and you can now buy your groceries there. Amazon has announced Prime Pantry, a grocery delivery service available anywhere in the lower 48 states.

 

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With Prime Pantry, you can go and find all the snacks, dinner stuff, drinks, toiletries, personal hygiene, and other items you need. Add them to your cart and Amazon keeps a running total of how full your Prime Pantry Box is.

Continue reading 'Amazon Prime Pantry might let you skip the grocery store' (full post)

Verizon posts $21 billion revenue for Q1 2014

Verizon has enjoyed a massive Q1 2014, seeing a total of $30 billion in revenue, with $20.9 billion of that coming from Verizon Wireless - its cellular-based business. This is an increase of close to 7% compared to the same quarter of 2013, but growth in Verizon's retail stores was slightly lower.

 

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Verizon Wireless has had a profit margin of 35%, which is an increase of 2.1% year-over-year. This represents a nice $7.3 billion. The increase can be attributed to Verizon's $130 billion purchase of the remaining 45% of Verizon Wireless that Vodafone had. A lot of the increased revenue and profits were from the new 549,000 subscribers that Verizon Wireless added this year.

Tim Cook says 'Android Switchers' made up 60% of iPhone 4S, 5C sales

Apple has quite a few iPhones under its belt now, but why exactly does it keep its low-end iPhone 4S and not-so-great iPhone 5C on its roster? Well, Apple CEO Tim Cook has something to say about that.

 

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He said that 62% of iPhone 4S consumers, and 60% of iPhone 5C buyers were switching from Android. Cook said that this is why Apple keeps its lower-end devices available, as it drags in the lower-end Android consumers. Personally, I have no idea what Cook was on when he said that, considering a "low-end" smartphone like the iPhone 5C is close to double the price of the Nexus 5 - or even the just-announced OnePlus One smartphone - which has flagship hardware at just $299.

Facebook made $642 million this quarter, with $2.5 billion in revenue

The numbers are in for Facebook's Q1 2014, with the social networking site posting $2.5 billion in revenue, beating analysts' expectations, with an operating income of 43%.

 

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Net income reached $642 million, with earnings per share of $0.25, representing a 70% gain in profits in twelve months. Advertising delivered revenues of $2.27 billion, which is an 82% increase year-over-year. Mobile advertising was also big business, which made up 59% of advertising revenue for the first three months of 2014, up from 30% of the advertising revenue of the first quarter of last year.

 

Costs and expenses to Facebook for Q1 2014 sat at $1.43 billion, which is a 32% increase year-over-year. This is mostly for the headcount and infrastructure Facebook requires. Income tax expense for Q1 2014 was $433 million, delivering a 40% effective tax rate.

Apple's Q2 2014 results: $45.6 billion revenue, $10.2 billion profit

Apple has just posted its fiscal Q2 2014 earnings, with a massive $45.6 billion in revenue. From that, there is $10.2 billion in net profit, providing $11.62 per share. When comparing it year-over-year, Apple is up 4.6% in revenue, and 15.2% in EPS.

 

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Analysts have said that the company has faced a flat quarter, with flat revenue, flat gross margin, flat net profit - flat everywhere. This is due to a slump in iPad sales, but it would've been worse if it wasn't for increased iPhone sales - a slight increase at that. But, even then, Apple performed better than analysts' expectations. Why? China.

 

During the three-month period, Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones, 16.4 million iPads and 4.1 million Macs. Compared to the same quarter of last year, iPhone sales increased by 16.8%, but iPad sales actually declined by 15.9% - a big jump. Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services. We're eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market".

Google announces plan to lease solar panels to home owners

Google is first thought of as a search firm by many of us, but it has fingers in so much more than search alone those days. Google is really big into green projects and renewable energy and has announced an interesting offer for homeowners. Google and SunPower have teamed up to offer homeowners the opportunity to lease solar panels for the roof of their home.

 

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Google has chipped in $100 million for the fund and SunPower added in $150 million. The money in the fund is being used to buy solar panels outright that Google will then lease out to homeowners. The panels will be installed on the home and provide green electricity.

Continue reading 'Google announces plan to lease solar panels to home owners' (full post)

95 floors in 43 seconds: Hitachi to build the world's fastest elevator

I've been in a few of the world's fastest elevators, where I was impressed with the Taipei 101's elevator that flies up at 38mph - which feels insane. It is a Toshiba built elevator, but Hitachi will become the new speed king in 2016.

 

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Hitachi has been tasked with building two lifts inside China's Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, which will be capable of scooting along at 45mph. This means you can go from the ground floor, all the way up to the 95th floor (of 111 floors total) in just 43 seconds. Hitachi has said that passengers' ears and bodies will be safe from the sheer speeds of its upcoming elevators, thanks to the lifts being made from heat-resistant materials, and more.

HTC is eyeballing Nokia's India-based manufacturing facility

With Microsoft closing its acquisition deal with Nokia this week, HTC has began eyeballing some of the Nokia-owned assets that will not be transferring over in the deal. A new report from CNET says that HTC is looking to purchase Nokia's manufacturing facility located in Chennai, India. The news comes from HTC's CFO, Chialin Chang, who said that his company was looking into a possible purchase of the facility.

 

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Unfortunately for HTC, the plant has been mixed up in a tax debate in which the Indian government says Nokia owes $500 million in back taxes on the facility. This is one of the major reasons that Microsoft has no interest in the facility, and has expressly avoided adding it into its acquisition deal with Nokia. This could turn out to be a major win for HTC though as the Indian Government could seize the facility and sell it to HTC for pennies on the dollar.

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