Nokia has announced that it plans to integrate its NAVTEQ business with its social location (Maps) services and operations. The new Location & Commerce business unit, which will be headed by Michael Halbherr, is tasked with developing the next generation of social location products and services for consumers. It will also continue with NAVTEQ's traditional activities of building platform services for device manufacturers, developers and service providers, but will look to more fully integrate Nokia's deep data assets around consumer behaviour and related community data.
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Following on from the intial announcement, Nokia and Accenture have announced they have finalised an agreement for Nokia to outsource Symbian software development and support to Accenture. As part of the agreement 2,800 Nokia employees, 200 less than originally cited, will transfer to Accenture when the deal is closed in October.
Nokia is currently in the process of closing its Nokia branded online stores in a number of countries. The online stores for France, Spain and the Netherlands have already closed and the majority of the others, including the UK, will follow in due course. Nokia has indicated that the closures are part of a company wide overhaul. While the closure of the online stores may be seen in some quarters as symbolic of Nokia current malaise, the reality is that their contribution to Nokia sales was negligible.
Nokia has announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with Apple, ending all patent litigation between the companies. The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple to Nokia and ongoing regular royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia. The exact amounts involved are confidential, but the "agreement is expected to have a positive financial impact on Nokia's recently revised outlook for the second quarter 2011", so the sums must be very substantial.
Nokia's Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Rich Green, is to take an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons. Green joined Nokia in 2010, and was brought into its leadership team in February 2011, reporting directly to new CEO, Stephen Elop. As CTO, Green was charged with overseeing the direction of technological advancement in both Nokia's software and hardware groups. Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, has been appointed acting CTO.
Bloomberg Businessweek has published an in-depth article, titled 'Stephen Elop's Nokia Adventure', which describes how Nokia's new CEO is trying to turn the company around. It covers his first 8 months at the company and looks at the story behind Nokia's new strategy. There's a lot of interesting detail about the decision making behind Nokia's smartphone strategy, which took place in the first few weeks of 2011.
Yesterday at the D9 conference Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, quashed recent rumours that Nokia was set to be acquired by Microsoft. In response to a question about whether Microsoft was interested in buying Nokia's hardware division Elop said that, "the rumours are baseless", reinforcing an interview had had given to CNBC earlier in the day and statements that Nokia had released to the media.
Nokia today updated its outlook for Q2 2011, substantially downgrading previous forecasts. The company says it now expects net sales to be "substantially below its previously expected range of €6.1 billion to €6.6 billion" and that, "Devices & Services non-IFRS operating margin could be around break even", against a previously expected range of 6% to 9%. Multiple factors are impacting Nokia's Devices and Services business, including competitive dynamics and a product mix shifting towards to lower end and pricing tactics by Nokia and certain competitors.
In an interview with the Nokia Conversations blog, China Edition, Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, said that "software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016", and that there is " a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future". While Nokia has previously made it clear that Symbian investment would continue, the 2016 date is a definitive statement and may be further in the future than some have anticipated.
Yesterday Microsoft offered the media a preview of Mango, the next release of the Windows Phone platform. The release will deliver more than 500 new features, with an emphasis on communication, apps and the Internet. Mango will also see wider language support, the addition of 1500 APIs for developers and significant performance improvements. Mango is scheduled to arrive in the autumn and will be the version that Nokia uses on its first Windows Phone devices, scheduled to appear in 2012 in quantity.
Following on from last week's episode, which focused on NFC, here is the fifth episode of the 361 Degrees podcast. This week episodes focuses on RIM and their Blackberry devices, following their recent Blackberry World conference and the release of the Blackberry Playbook. 361 Degrees is a podcast all about mobile technology, created by Ben Smith of Wireless Worker and co-hosted by Ewan MacLeod of Mobile Industry Review and Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian.
Following on from the first, second and third episodes, here is the fourth episode of the 361 Degrees podcast. This is a podcast all about mobile technology, created by Ben Smith of Wireless Worker and co-hosted by Ewan MacLeod of Mobile Industry Review and Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian. The fourth episode features discussion on NFC - what is it, what does it do and what are some of the issues surrounding its deployment.
Kevin Fury, over on his blog, has some interesting thoughts on what Microsoft are up to in the mobile space. Building blocks such as the Windows Phone OS, Nokia's hardware and manufacturing expertise, the voice and IM handling of Skype, what does it add up to? The supposition (also echoed in part by Dave Winer) is that the major technology firms are gearing up for a confrontation with the mobile carrier networks.
Following on from the IDC figures earlier this month, we now have Gartner's analysis and considered opinions, focussing on mobile operating systems and ecosystems, summarised and quoted below. Symbian-powered shipments were indeed now behind Android, but still retained 27% of the entire new smartphone market.
Nokia announced today that it will change its service branding from Ovi to Nokia. This will see the services change from Ovi Service to Nokia Service. For example, Ovi Maps to Nokia Maps. The transition will begin in July and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and Nokia says that the rebrand will have no impact on planned updates and improvements to the services.