Nokia yesterday published additional material about its proposed transaction with Microsoft that will see the sale of its Devices & Services business and a major patent licensing agreement. The information is intended to give shareholders more information ahead of the proposed 19th November EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) at which shareholders will be asked to follow the board's recommendation and vote to approve the proposed transaction with Microsoft.
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Microsoft and Nokia today announced that they had signed an agreement whereby Nokia will sell its Devices & Services business and license its patents to Microsoft for €5.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2014, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
The move will be seen as a key part of Microsoft's future devices and service strategy and was, perhaps, inevitable given its reliance on Nokia for Windows Phone devices, especially after rumours about such a transaction were floated earlier this summer. It will shake up both the Windows Phone ecosystem and the mobile industry more generally, drawing clear lines between major technology players, but also leaving questions about the business sustainability of smaller players.
The transaction will close the mobile phone chapter in Nokia's 150 year old history and reshapes a company that remains one of Europe's leading technology brands.
Nokia has released its Q2 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €115 million (up from a loss of €824 million in Q2 2012), with net sales of €5.695 billion (down 24% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €33 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.2% (up from from -11.8% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 7.4 million (all Lumia), up from 6.1 million in Q1, while mobile phone volumes were 53.7 million, down from 55.8 million in Q1, and down 27% year-on-year.
Available today is a major update, v1.7.3, to one of the biggest applications in the Symbian (and Meego) worlds - cuteTube, the YouTube (and other video services) client. The full changelogs are listed below, but the highlights are full support for Vimeo, a new 'quick search' box, and a truck load of performance improvements and fixes.
The OS that just won't die? Two years and three months after Symbian was publicly put on life support, the platform updates keep coming, with the rollout today for all Belle Refresh and Feature Pack 2 smartphones of a 6MB Email and Calendar update, incorporating better attachment and event handling, plus a new compatibility update for Nokia Music for Belle Feature Pack 2 devices. Whatever modern Symbian device you own, head for SW Update on the device, or plug into Nokia Suite.
At an event in New Delhi, Nokia unveiled the Asha 501, the first of its next generation of Asha smartphones, powered by the new Nokia Asha platform. Priced at £63 ($99 / €75) before taxes and subsidies, the device is intended to provide a low cost smartphone option in Nokia's product portfolio, positioned between the Lumia range of Windows Phone devices and the Series 40 range of feature phone devices.
Ah yes, Symbian, the platform that just won't die. Rolling out today are a big set of 'New homescreen widgets' for the Nokia 808 PureView and other Symbian Belle Feature Pack 1 and FP2 smartphones (i.e. the late 2011 and 2012 devices). The new platform widgets include a release version of the (previously beta) Webview, a new form of contact shortcut, a stopwatch, a front-camera 'Mirror' utility, and 'Toggle Flashlight'. More below.
Guest writer Ow Kah Leong reports here on Spotify, the subscription music streaming service, which has opened its virtual doors to extra countries around the world, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland. Yet Spotify is not necessarily in the Nokia Store in those countries. Of course not - that would be far too easy. All is not lost though, as Kah writes below.
Nokia has released its Q1 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €150 million (up from a loss of €1338 million in Q1 2012), with net sales of €5.852 billion (down 20% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was -€42 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.5% (up from from -5.1% in Q1 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.1 million (5.6 million Lumia, 0.5 million Symbian), but mobile phone volumes fell to 55.8 million, down 21% year-on-year.
File this one under 'rumour', but sources inside the industry have informed us of a planned next generation QWERTY communicator running Symbian but with current specifications. Filling in a gap in the market, this would be a very welcome addition to the smartphone pantheon, as well as continuing Symbian's rich heritage. Rumoured specs include 32GB of internal storage, and a 4.3" AMOLED screen with inductive stylus.
Today is N8 day here on AAS, launching with the news that, now available in most markets for the Symbian^3 generation devices like the Nokia N8 and E7, most of which have been successively upgraded and should now be using Belle Refresh firmware, is a 'Upload to SkyDrive' enhancement. This is a much expanded version of a photo uploader which appeared briefly a year or so ago. In this case, your contacts are also (optionally) uploaded to Microsoft's free cloud service. Screenshots and details below. Taken with the Nokia Suite changes in the last year or so, it seems that Nokia really is trying hard at last to help Symbian die hards transition over to Windows Phone and Microsoft services. How's it doing? Your comments welcome.
Following on from a preliminary set of results, Nokia has now released its full interim Q4 2012 results, reporting an operating profit of €439 million (up from -€954 million in Q4 2011), with net sales of €8.041 billion (down 20% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was €276 million. The margin in Devices and Services was 7.2% (up from from 3.4% in Q4 2011 and up from -19.2% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.6 million (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian).
Nokia today announced that its Q4 2012 results will be better than previously expected, with the key Devices & Services division's non-IFRS operating margin expected to be between break even and 2 percent. Previously the company had indicated this would be -6%, with a +/-4% range. Nokia also currently estimates that it sold 6.6 million smartphones (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian) in the last quarter. Mobile phone sales were 86.3 million, and, of these, 9.3 million were Asha full touch devices, which are sometimes classified as smartphones (in which case, a total of 15.9 million smartphones).
Google has announced the end of life for Google Sync, which was designed to give access to Gmail, Google Calendar and Conatcts via Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Starting from January 30th 2013, consumers will no longer be able to set up new devices using Google Sync, although existing connections will continue to function. Below, I explain what impact, if any, this will have on Symbian users.
Never mind the appallingly old YouTube client which still sits decadently in the Nokia Store (and should have been pulled years ago), it's good to see Google's YouTube HTML5 site now serving up an even better version for all mobiles, but specifically Symbian - the existing site (featured in my story here) was very fiddly to use. Screenshots of the new version are below, along with proof that the version served up for Symbian is now identical to that for Windows Phone and Android.