BlackBerry lays off dozens of US sales staff

LAYOFFS: Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd cut several dozen jobs from its US sales team on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. — Reuters

LAYOFFS: Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd cut several dozen jobs from its US sales team on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. — Reuters

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd cut several dozen jobs from its US sales team on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The layoffs are part of rolling job cuts that have been ongoing for several weeks, the people told the paper.

“I can confirm a small number of employees were laid off today,” a company spokesman told the newspaper, without providing additional details.

BlackBerry, which has bled market share to rivals including Apple’s iPhone and phones using Google’s Android technology, said last month it was weighing its options, which could include an outright sale.

News of the layoffs was first reported by Canadian technology blog Cantech Letter.

BlackBerry could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular US business hours. — Reuters

Microsoft acquiring Nokia’s phone business for $7.2 billion

REDMOND, Washington and ESPOO, Finland – Sept. 3, 2013 – Microsoft Corporation and Nokia Corporation today announced that the Boards of Directors for both companies have decided to enter into a transaction whereby Microsoft will purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, license Nokia’s patents, and license and use Nokia’s mapping services.

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Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will pay EUR 3.79 billion to purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, and EUR 1.65 billion to license Nokia’s patents, for a total transaction price of EUR 5.44 billion in cash. Microsoft will draw upon its overseas cash resources to fund the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Building on the partnership with Nokia announced in February 2011 and the increasing success of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones, Microsoft aims to accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies, and unified branding and marketing. For Nokia, this transaction is expected to be significantly accretive to earnings, strengthen its financial position, and provide a solid basis for future investment in its continuing businesses.

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“It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer. “In addition to their innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, and hardware sales, marketing and distribution.”

“We are excited and honored to be bringing Nokia’s incredible people, technologies and assets into our Microsoft family. Given our long partnership with Nokia and the many key Nokia leaders that are joining Microsoft, we anticipate a smooth transition and great execution,” Ballmer said. “With ongoing share growth and the synergies across marketing, branding and advertising, we expect this acquisition to be accretive to our adjusted earnings per share starting in FY15, and we see significant long-term revenue and profit opportunities for our shareholders.”

“For Nokia, this is an important moment of reinvention and from a position of financial strength, we can build our next chapter,” said Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors and, following today’s announcement, Nokia Interim CEO. “After a thorough assessment of how to maximize shareholder value, including consideration of a variety of alternatives, we believe this transaction is the best path forward for Nokia and its shareholders. Additionally, the deal offers future opportunities for many Nokia employees as part of a company with the strategy, financial resources and determination to succeed in the mobile space.”

“Building on our successful partnership, we can now bring together the best of Microsoft’s software engineering with the best of Nokia’s product engineering, award-winning design, and global sales, marketing and manufacturing,” said Stephen Elop, who following today’s announcement is stepping aside as Nokia President and CEO to become Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices & Services. “With this combination of talented people, we have the opportunity to accelerate the current momentum and cutting-edge innovation of both our smart devices and mobile phone products.”

Nokia has outlined its expected focus upon the closing of the transaction in a separate press release published today.

Source: Microsoft

Trade-in your third party Apple charger!

SAFETY CONCERNS: People wanting to take part in Apple's USB Power Adapter Takeback Program must bring the unwanted chargers along with a corresponding iPod, iPad, or iPhone to an Apple Retail Store or to an authorised Apple service provider. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

SAFETY CONCERNS: People wanting to take part in Apple’s USB Power Adapter Takeback Program must bring the unwanted chargers along with a corresponding iPod, iPad, or iPhone to an Apple Retail Store or to an authorised Apple service provider. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

SAN FRANCISCO: Fears of dangerous shocks caused by unsanctioned chargers for Apple gadgets prompted the company on Monday to announce a trade-in programme.

Beginning on August 16, people with counterfeit or third-party power adaptors will be able to swap them for certified Apple models for the local equivalent of US$10 (RM32.36).

“Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues,” Apple said in a blog post.

“While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adaptors.”

People must bring the unwanted chargers along with a corresponding iPod, iPad, or iPhone to an Apple Retail Store or to an authorised Apple service provider.

Apple said device serial numbers need to be valid to qualify for the adapter trade-in programme, which will continue until October 18.

Last month, Apple began investigating reports that a women in China was electrocuted while using an iPhone that was charging. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

World’s most used app… Google Maps

NO 1: Google Maps, the world's most popular app. - AFPrelaxnews 2013

NO 1: Google Maps, the world’s most popular app. – AFPrelaxnews 2013

According to newly released data recorded over the second quarter of 2013, Google Maps is the most-used smartphone app in the world.

The data, collected and correlated by digital media agency GlobalWebIndex, shows the most popular apps by usage among the world’s 969.49 million smartphone users over the second quarter of 2013.

According to the findings, Google Maps was at the very head of the top ten most actively used smartphone apps with 54% of smartphone users having accessed it in the period of the survey. Coming in second was the Facebook app, which 44% of smartphone users accessed; 35% went on YouTube via the app; and, in fourth position was the Google+ mobile app, used by 30%.

Skype came in lower down the list, being used by 22% of smartphone owners, the same percentage which accessed Facebook Messenger.

According to GlobalWebIndex the top ten most accessed apps by percentage of the world’s smartphone owners are as follows:

01.   Google Maps – 54%
02.   Facebook – 44%
03.   YouTube -35%
04.   Google+ – 30%
05.   Weixin/WeChat – 27%
06.   Twitter – 22%
07.   Skype – 22%
08.   Facebook Messenger – 22%
09.   Whatsapp – 17%
10.   Instagram – 11%

– AFPRelaxnews 2013

Championing Green Awareness

Chew Fei Sean Grand Merdeka Development Sdn Bhd

Chew Fei Sean
Grand Merdeka Development Sdn Bhd

Chew Fei Sean, the only ‘rose’ amount the gents, as the head of the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (SHAREDA) young developers, and project coordinator for Grand Merdeka Development Sdn Bhd, building the next big suburban mall in Kota Kinabalu north is even more high tech savvy. “Have you heard of JuiceSky?” she asks.

Her company is using the internet service portal which is well publicised in road side buntings to be helping businesses to advertise themselves through the social media besides other traditional means. That means her business as a developer is very well connected in every way possible

On the sales for the Sabah’s green mall – Grand Merdeka Mall with a tagline of “Everyone Can Own”, she is really happy that more than 70 per cent were sold and things are looking great and grand onwards to success with the mall development sited in an area with half a million strong captive market.

When it comes to green building standards, she is a real pro, more knowledgeable that the West Malaysian Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) has established its GreenRE standards which is more conducive and cheaper in terms of payable fees for certification for local developers as compared to the GBI – Green Building Index criteria.

GreenRE is less rigid than the long-existing Green Building Index, which was developed based on the international Green Mark standards.

GreenRE is designed for various types of real estate which assesses building performance throughout the whole development process; commencing from the conceptualization and design stage, during construction and up to post completion.

GreenRE is an industry driven green rating tool established to drive the Malaysia’s real estate industry towards a more sustainable and liveable built environment.

With her cheery disposition and bright ideas, SHAREDA’s new blood of Gen Y holds great promises for the future of the association.

Source: Property Hunter (July 2013 edition)