Microsoft today announced plans to acquire Skype, the Internet communications company, for US $8.5 billion. The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies and, pending regulatory approval, is expected to be completed later this year. The acquisition sets the scene for closer integration between Skype and Microsoft products, including Windows Phone. Given Microsoft and Nokia's recent tie up, it seems likely that future Nokia products may ship with Skype integration out of the box.
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Nokia's Chairman, Jorma Ollila, is to step down next year, reports Reuters. At Nokia's Annual General Meeting, held yesterday, Ollila, confirming what he said last September, announced that he would stand down in 2012 and that the search for his sucessor has already started. Ollia was CEO of Nokia from 1992-2006 and became the Chairman in 1999. He recently oversaw the appointment of Stephen Elop as the new CEO of Nokia, replacing Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
Nokia and Accenture today announced plans for a strategic collaboration, which will see Nokia transfer its Symbian software activities to Accenture. As a result, around 3,000 Nokia employees will transition to Accenture. Accenture will then provide Symbian-related development and support services to Nokia. In the future, Accenture will also provide future smartphone ecosystem services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia.
Nokia today announced that it plans to cut its workforce by 4,000 employees by the end of 2012, as part of the restructuring resulting from its recent strategy changes. The majority of the cuts will take place in Finland, Denmark and the UK. They are part of the previously announced measures to cut Nokia's operational expenditure by €1 billion. In addition, a further 3,000 employees will move to Accenture as part of the transfer of Nokia's Symbian software activities, which was also announced today.
The agreement for Nokia and Microsoft to work together to create a "new global mobile ecosystem", announced in February, has now been signed. Nokia and Microsoft will now continue to work together, each bringing their own strengths to the table, seeking to combine their complimentary assets. The two companies say that significant process has been made on the engineering of new products and that outreach to developers has already begun.
Nokia has released its Q1 2011 results, reporting an operating profit of €439 million (down 10% Year-on-Year), with net sales of €10.399 billion (up 9% YoY). Nokia's device and service division's profits were €439 million, down 10% from last year. Margins in devices and services were 9.8% (down 2.3% YoY and down 1.5% QoQ).
Total converged devices sales (mainly Symbian-powered smartphones) were 24.2 million, compared with 21.5 million units in Q1 2010 (up 13% YoY) and compared with 28.3 million units in Q4 2010 (down 14%, QoQ). Worldwide smartphone market share was 26%, down 5% sequentially and 15% year on year. Read on for more analysis and more details.
Nokia announced yesterday that the Ovi Store now reaches up to five million downloads per day. Ovi Store now contains more than 40,000 content items, representing an eight fold increase in the catalogue since last year, with approximately 1,000 additional items being added every week. Symbian^3 devices (N8, C6-01, C7 and E7) are responsible for 15% of daily downloads (750,000 per day). Read on for charts and analysis.
Snaptu, the startup company which produces the well-known J2ME mobile app, have agreed to be acquired by social networking giant, Facebook. Snaptu is the first Israeli start-up company to be acquired. According to Israeli news site, Calcalist, this buy-out has brought investors approximately a six-fold return on their investment. The Snaptu application has a massive reach by targetting Java compatible mobile phones, most of which lack any sort of app store. Furthermore, the wide range of social networks and content offered by Snaptu bring services to feature phones which are otherwise restricted to more advanced smartphones. Read on for more.
A group of companies, drawn from both the consumer electronics and automotive industries, today announced the formation of the Car Connectivity Consortium, to help develop, maintain and promote in-vehicle connectivity solutions such as Terminal Mode, NFC and wireless charging. The stated goal of the organisation is to have "a seamless, safe, effortless and delightful user experience when using a smartphone in a car".
Somewhat ironic in the light of Nokia's imminent partnership with Microsoft to produce Windows Phone phones ("joining an ecosystem"), figures have been released showing that Nokia's Ovi Store revenues (much of which was from Symbian-based smartphones) were up 719% year on year and ahead of the Google Android Market. More stats below.
Stephen Elop takes some questions from Chris Ziegler on Nokia, Windows Phone, shipping dates and trojan horses
Over on Engadget, Chris Ziegler has grabbed a video Q and A session at Mobile World Congress with Stephen Elop. It’s wide ranging in the ground covered, although given the short time-scale it’s mostly sound-bites and short paragraph style answers. And some questions were outright dodged. Nevertheless, it casts some more sunlight on the decisions of Elop and how the next few months are going to pan out for Symbian, Meego and Nokia.
Two days after its investor-focused Strategy and Financial meeting, much covered in previous stories, Nokia held a more consumer-focussed press conference just before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. While the overall message was no different to Friday's event, Nokia did provide some additional details on its short-term Symbian plans. These include a wave of new devices and significant software updates for Symbian^3. [Story updated after Rafe got back from the event]
Nokia's new strategy and structure, Symbian to be a "franchise platform", MeeGo still in long term plans
At its Strategy and Financial Briefing event today in London, Nokia has outlined its "new strategic direction, including changes in leadership and operational structure to accelerate the company's speed of execution in a dynamic competitive environment". Some more quotes below, but in short this means a reorganisation into "Smart Devices" and "Mobile Phones", and adding a new OS platform to its portfolio, with Windows Phone becoming Nokia's "primary smartphone platform" and Symbian becoming "a franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value". More below, and more through the day, of course. Rafe's on the ground, see the other Coveritlive news item.
At a Strategy and Financial Briefing, which takes place at 10 am GMT on February 11th Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, is expected to outline his vision for the future strategy of the company. Rafe will be reporting live from Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel, London, where the event is taking place. You can follow our live coverage using this story or via our Twitter accounts (@aas and @allaboutmeego).
Even though we first reported on the standardisation of mobile phone chargers two years ago, the International Electrotechnical Commission has finally published its IEC International Standard IEC 62684, entitled "Interoperability specifications of common external power supply (EPS) for use with data-enabled mobile telephones". This final push has partly been made possible by the IEC signing a "memorandum of understanding" with the USB Implementers Forum. The standard has been based on specifications from fourteen companies: Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei Technologies, LGE, Motorola Mobility, NEC, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, TCT Mobile (ALCATEL), Texas Instruments and Atmel.