Microsoft has purchased Nokia’s devices and services unit, bringing the Lumia lineup under the Redmond roof. The move unites Windows Phone 8 with its biggest hardware supporter, giving the company the integrated mobile offering it’s been looking for with Surface and other devices. When the deal closes in the first quarter of 2014, Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for Nokia’s business, plus another €1.65 billion to license its portfolio of patents. 32,000 people are expected to transfer from Nokia to Microsoft, including 18,300 that are “directly involved in manufacturing.”
The purchase comes on the heels of what appeared to be a failed acquisition in June, at which point it seemed conversations had broken off entirely. Now the two come together, in what outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called “a bold step into the future.”
A driving force behind the sale seems to be Nokia’s low-end Asha brand, which Microsoft has acquired outright. Asha gives Microsoft a far larger footprint for Windows Phone, and access to millions of customers in developing countries that it plans to use as an “on-ramp to Windows Phone.” The emphasis also lends some credibility to the notion that Nokia’s high-end strategy isn’t working — analysts predicted a horrific Q3 for the company, and its struggles to find a foothold are well-documented. In fact, Microsoft’s licensing deal for the Nokia brand doesn’t include future Lumias — Nokia as a smartphone brand is effectively dead, as Microsoft takes the lineup in-house.
Though Nokia was by leaps and bounds Microsoft’s best hardware partner for Windows Phone 8, EVP of operating systems Terry Myerson was careful to note that Microsoft’s purchase doesn’t come with nepotism. As Google has with Motorola, Myerson promised every partner would be treated the same, even quoting a song by The Killers to make his point. And from Huawei to HTC, there are still other partners — Nokia’s coming in-house, but Windows Phone 8 isn’t being walled off.
- Microsoft: Nokia kept some of its Lumia hardware features secret from us (neowin.net)
- Nokia kept secrets from Microsoft over its Windows Phone plans (theverge.com)
- Microsoft Purchases Nokia’s Device and Services Division to Unite Windows Phone Hardware and Software (macrumors.com)
- Even with its purchase of Nokia, Microsoft won’t forget its Windows Phone partners (phonearena.com)
- Microsoft’s Nokia Deal by the Numbers (allthingsd.com)
- Microsoft: This is why we bought Nokia (wpcentral.com)
- Microsoft purchases Nokia for $7.2 billion (digitaltrends.com)
Google’s primary source of profit is search-related advertising while Apple’s is consumer hardware. And Google’s five-front assault on Apple’s profit model takes advantage of that difference.
Here are five of Apple’s fronts and how Google is attacking them:
Apple lags and has lost share in high end smartphones where 426 million units were sold during the first three months of the year. Gartner reported that in the first quarter of 2013, Apple’s global share of the high-end mobile phone market declined from 22.5% in the 2012 period to 18.2%.
Apple is number two to Samsung — which supports Google’s Android operating system. Samsung’s market share increased from 27.6% to 30.8% in the first quarter of 2013.
Android has already taken the tablet market lead from Apple. IDC expects Android to control 60% of the tablet market by the end of June 2013.
It wasn’t always so gloomy for Apple’s iPad. After all in the second quarter of 2012, the iPad commanded over 60% of the tablet market — but that figure has dropped ”to around 40% in each of the third and fourth quarters of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013,” reports Venturebeat.
And Android has been gulping iPad’s market share. Venturebeat notes that between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, Apple swapped the lead with Android — in 2012 Apple outsold Android by 11.8 million to 8 million; while in that same period in 2013, Android trumped the iPad by 27.8 million to 19.5 million.
Moreover, IDC expects skies to darken for the iPad. In the second quarter of 2013, IDC believes that Apple will ship fewer than 19.5 million units because Apple is not launching what CEO, Tim Cook, called its “amazing” new hardware until “fall 2013 and throughout 2014.” Thus IDC expects Apple to ship between 17 million and 18 million iPads — leaving Android tablets with 60% of the market in Q2 2013.
When it comes to competing with Android smartphones and tablets, Apple can either cut price and slash its profits or hold its prices and win fewer new customers. Cook has yet to prove that Apple can innovate its way out of that profit-growth dilemma.
3. Apple Maps
Under a year after Apple removed Google Maps from the iPhone, Google introduced a new version that is simpler and can be customized to each user.
By sharing what Google knows about each individual from other services, Google can customize maps. According to the New York Times, “When users who are logged into Google visit Maps, they will see the places they frequently visit highlighted, like restaurants, museums and their home. Google learns the places they go by drawing information from all of Google’s services — including search and Maps history, Google Plus posts and information in users’ Gmail in-boxes.”
Bernhard Seefeld, the product management director for Google Maps, bragged to the Times, “We can build a unique map for every place and every click.” For those who are worried about Google knowing too much about them, this new service is creepy — but potentially useful.
Meanwhile, the memory of Apple Maps six most epic fails lingers.
Google is going after music streaming through the introduction of Google Play Music All Access (GPMAA) — a service that lets users stream music using Google Play for Android. For $9.99 a month, GPMAA combines “users’ current Play collections with access to millions of additional songs,” according to Fortune.
Meanwhile, Google was able to secure content deals with three major record labels—Universal Music, Sony, and Warner Music Group — and beat Apple to market with the streaming service that iTunes has long-been rumored to be developing, says Fortune.
The most important front where Google is trouncing Apple is innovation. To be fair, under Steve Jobs, Apple’s approach to innovation was to introduce a much better product in an established industry. The result was big success from great products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iTunes.
But Google Glass’s big media splash suggests that creating entirely new categories of products can also be a way to spur growth. We can also speak about the Google Cars that can for sure impact also IT solutions.
Google certainly needs help there — since its traditional markets are slowing down.But it looks like Google is winning the war for the future: Google is offensive and Apple only defensive.
- Google’s Five-Front Assault on Apple (forbes.com)
- Who can rescue Google Wallet? Apple. (sivag1.wordpress.com)
- Google’s Five-Front Assault On Apple (soshitech.com)
- Google’s Getting Its Game (Console) On (newsy.com)
- Report: Google developing an Android-powered console (polygon.com)
- Why Apple, Google want to make consoles (stuff.co.nz)
Facebook revealed more detail on how frequently it gets information requests from government agencies in a public statement late Friday.
In a post on the company’s press site, Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot said it received between 9,000-10,000 requests over the six-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2012. That adds up to roughly 1,500 requests per month. . Ullyot said the nature of the requests from “government entities” is quite varied, including things like a local sheriff trying to locate a missing child to national security agencies investigating terrorist activity.
Ullyot said Facebook was only permitted to disclose the number of requests after negotiations with “U.S. national security authorities,” where Facebook urged for more transparency around the orders the company is required to comply with. Going forward, Facebook will now include the number of national-security requests (including FISA-related ones) in a transparency report, and is the first company to be allowed to do so, Ullyot wrote.
Although he said the change was “progress,” Ullyot said Facebook will continue to push for more transparency.
With the disclosure, Ullyot said he hopes it will give people a better idea of just how much of Facebook’s user base is affected by government requests. Those 9,000-10,000 requested data on between 18,000-19,000 Facebook accounts, or 0.002% of Facebook users.
Ullyot reiterated some of what Mark Zuckerberg said in his denials about government accessing Facebook data over the past couple of weeks: that Facebook scrutinizes every government request for user data, and that it rejects them “frequently.”
Facebook and other major tech companies have recently been under intense scrutiny after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden made claims that the government was obtaining large amounts of user data from wireless carriers and Internet services in a program called PRISM, and keeping it secret from the public.
- Facebook reveals how often the government comes calling for data (TechInAmerica)
- Facebook reveals details of US data requests (thenewstribe.com)
- Facebook, Microsoft rolling FISA national security request numbers into transparency reports (theverge.com)
- Facebook: U.S. gov’t requested data on 18K-19K users in last half of 2012 (digitaltrends.com)
- Facebook: We can now say more on user surveillance (ktvb.com)
- Facebook: We can now say more on user surveillance (thenewstribune.com)
- Facebook And Microsoft Reveal Spying Requests (news.sky.com)
4 automobiles manufacturers experimenting diverless prototype: Audi, Mercedes, Toyota and Volvo.
Audi First automaker driving in Nevada
Watch the film about Audi TT prototype driverless car in the video below.
Mercedes is working on driverless car
Watch the video about Mercedes prototype driverless car tested with dangerous scenario.
Driverless Cars Future Road Trains Volvo
Toyota Lexus Active Safety Vehicle
- The future of travel: How driverless cars could change everything (diarraeg.wordpress.com)
- Who will dominate the emerging driverless car market? (ireport.cnn.com)
- Google car: first driverless prototype (worldofinnovations.net)
- Driverless cars expected to go mainstream by 2025 (bgr.com)
- I Saw an Audi Drive Itself (jeanknowscars.com)
- Elon Musk Will Take That Whole ‘Driverless Car’ Idea for Himself, Thanks Very Much (betabeat.com)
- Driverless Cars (visual.ly)
- Nearly 9 in 10 Indians willing to ride driverless cars (zdnet.com)
The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for driverless cars. The project is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.
Driverless car in Nevada, Florida and California
The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011 permitting the operation of driverless cars in Nevada. Google had been lobbying for driverless car laws. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for a self-driven car in May 2012. The license was issued to a Toyota Prius modified with Google’s experimental driverless technology.
As of April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow the testing of driverless cars on public roads. California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View.
Watch video about the California legalization
Watch the second video about Steve Mahan
Steve Mahan is visually impaired and use Google car to be independent.
- Who will dominate the emerging driverless car market? (ireport.cnn.com)
- Tesla talking to Google about driverless electric cars (usatoday.com)
- China hot on Google’s heels with driverless car (reviews.cnet.com)
- Joseph Rose: The driverless car’s time has come in Oregon (oregonlive.com)
- Congress To Hold Hearing On Google’s Driverless Cars This Week (webpronews.com)