Windows Phone 8 Stories September 2, 2013

Microsoft acquires Nokia’s Devices & Services divisions for ~$7.1 billion

Microsoft has just announced that they are purchasing Nokia’s devices and services divisions. Nokia has been the main manufacturer of Windows Phone 8 devices, and it looks like Microsoft will be using this acquisition to further merge their software and hardware engineering and design.

In a joint statement from (outgoing) Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, the two executives stated, “Today’s agreement will accelerate the momentum of Nokia’s devices and services, bringing the world’s most innovative smartphones to more people, while continuing to connect the next billion people with Nokia’s mobile phone portfolio.”

This is not a complete takeover, as Nokia will still be its own entity with its own patent portfolio. However, Microsoft will be granted a “10-year license” to Nokia’s patents.

The purchase is expected to close the first quarter of 2014 and will net Nokia EUR 5.44 billion (~$7.1 billion).

Some interesting tidbits from the announcement:

  • “At closing, approximately 32,000 people are expected to transfer to Microsoft, including 4,700 people in Finland and 18,300 employees directly involved in manufacturing, assembly and packaging of products worldwide.”
  • “Microsoft is acquiring Nokia’s Smart Devices business unit, including the Lumia brand and products.”

Windows Phone 8 Stories November 15, 2012

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been making the rounds following the launch of Windows 8 and Surface, and yesterday he sat down for an interview in Santa Clara with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. TechCrunch pointed us to audio from the interview (embedded above), where Ballmer is asked about the role of Windows Phone 8 within the iOS- and Android-dominated smartphone market. Ballmer famously laughed about the iPhone’s high price point back in 2007, but apparently, the Microsoft CEO still thinks iPhones are priced too high. While claiming Android’s ecosystem is “not always in the consumer’s best interest,” Ballmer made a point of mentioning the high cost of iPhones abroad:

The ecosystem of Android is a little bit wild, from an app compatibility perspective, a malware perspective… maybe in a way that’s not always in the consumer’s best interest… conversely, the Apple ecosystem looks highly controlled, and by the way, quite high priced. The fact that we live in a country where almost every phone is subsidized, you may forget it. But I was in Russia last week where you pay $1000 for an iPhone.. you’re not going to sell that many iPhones… The question is how do you get the quality, but maybe not the premium price. A controlled, but maybe not quite as controlled ecosystem.

Reuters also has a quote of Ballmer from an event last night, when the CEO seemed to hint at the possibility of a Microsoft-branded smartphone: expand full story

Windows Phone 8 Stories June 20, 2012

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit is happening now in San Francisco with Microsoft Vice President Joe Belfiore giving a demo on eight of the big new features to be included in Windows Phone 8. Some of the notables, as highlighted in the images above, include: a new SIM-based NFC wallet experience that will initially launch on Orange (and it appears to include iOS 6 Passbook-like features for third-party cards, etc.); Nokia Map technology for offline maps and turn-by-turn; and, an updated customizable home screen. During the presentation, Belfiore also showed the slide above (via CNET) of SunSpider benchmark results showing IE 10 on Windows 8 beating out the iPhone 4S (running iOS 6 beta—Developer NDA be damned) and Android devices.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Microsoft’s strategy is that it is—yet again—totally refreshing. That means no single Windows Phone 7 device will upgrade to Windows 8; all current devices are orphaned. For consumers, the company did this same thing with Windows Mobile. The only difference is that Windows Phone 7 looks like Windows 8. It is a completely new ballgame underneath, and the device is actually running an entirely new OS that gets its roots in Windows NT. For developers, things are easier due to the shared libraries.

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