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

Sim Card vulnerability exposes millions of phones worldwide

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

A vulnerability on SIM cards used in some mobile phones could allow malware infection and surveillance, a security researcher warns.

Karsten Nohl, founder of Security Research Labs in Berlin, told The New York Times that he has identified a flaw in SIM encryption technology that could allow an attacker to obtain a SIM card’s digital key, the 56-digit sequence that allows modification of the card. The flaw, which may affect as many as 750 million mobile phones, could allow eavesdropping on phone conversations, fraudulent purchases, or impersonation of the handset’s owner, Nohl warned.

“We can remotely install software on a handset that operates completely independently from your phone,” warned Nohl, who said he managed the entire operation in less than two minutes using a standard PC. “We can spy on you. We know your encryption keys for calls. We can read your SMSs. More than just spying, we can steal data from the SIM card, your mobile identity, and charge to your account.”

The vulnerability was found in the Digital Encryption Standard, a cryptographic method developed by IBM in the 1970s that is used on about 3 billion cell phones every day. While the encryption method has been beefed up in the past decade, many handsets still use the older standard.

Tests showed that 1,000 cards in Europe and North America exhibited signs of the flaw. Nohl, who plans to detail the flaw at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next month, said he has already shared the results of his two-year study with GSM Association, a trade group representing the cell phone industry.

GSM Association spokeswoman Claire Cranton told the Times that her organization had already passed the results on members of its group that still rely on the older standard.

“We have been able to consider the implications and provide guidance to those network operators and SIM vendors that may be impacted,” Cranton said in a statement.

Nohl, who has a doctorate in computer engineering from the University of Virginia, made headlines in 2008 by publicizing weaknesses in wireless smart card chips used in transit systems around the globe. A year later, he cracked the algorithm used on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cell phones, which is designed to prevent attackers from eavesdropping on calls.

Via CNET

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iPhone 5 trumped Galaxy S4 on user complaints at launch

Users have a love/hate relationship with these two, but one received a little more hate at launch. (Credit: CNET)

Users have a love/hate relationship with these two, but one received a little more hate at launch.
(Credit: CNET)

If you believe the griping on social media, then the iPhone 5 caused the most user angst of the major smartphone releases of the past year.

Social media analysts We Are Social gauged the reaction on Twitter, blogs, and forums following the release of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nokia Lumia 920, and BlackBerry Z10. What the research firm found, according to the Daily Mail, was that the percentage of comments about the iPhone with a negative connotation (20 percent, the highest ratio among the four phones studied) was nearly twice that of the rate of negative feelings expressed about the Galaxy S4 (11 percent, the lowest rate out of the four).

Before you accuse anyone of being any particular kind of fanboi, it’s worth revisiting the fall of 2012, when the iPhone 5 was launched — and when Apple found itself ensnarled in an Apple Maps PR nightmare, leading CEO Tim Cook to go so far as to issue a public apology for the half-baked product. The phone’s new lightning adapter wasn’t exactly universally welcomed by all users, either.

The Galaxy S4, by contrast, has avoided any such debacles that rise to a level of notoriety worthy of a faux New Yorker cover (although the campy media event for the phone’s release was certainly a valiant attempt.) It’s also worth pointing out that the echo chamber for any flub emanating from Cupertino is quite sizable. When Apple screws something up, word travels fast in these United States — just a consequence of having one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Also telling is the finding that much of the online conversation about the Galaxy S4 was driven by discussion of the well … galaxy of new features introduced with the GS4. Say what you will about the true utility of eye-tracking, hovering fingers over your touch screen, and auto-pausing videos — the features certainly seemed to keep users distracted from spending much time griping about the relatively cheap feel of the materials used to make Samsung’s flagship phone.

In fact, We Are Social reports that 56 percent of online discussions about the GS4 focused on new or different features, compared with 37 percent for the Lumia 920, 29 percent for the iPhone 5, and 27 percent for the BlackBerry Z10.

But before we go drawing the conclusion that the iPhone is totally over, it’s important to note what’s arguably the most important metric culled from We Are Social’s data: The iPhone 5 received more than 10 times the amount of launch day chatter (1.7 million online conversations) than the Galaxy S4 (140,000) did.

So, this would be an appropriate time for iOS fans to type “score” over and over again in the comments below.

Originally posted at Crave