As part of their new push for 2014, Microsoft is making it a lot easier for OEMs to use Windows Phone in their phones.
There will no longer be pre-approved OEMs, and any company can use Qualcomm’s reference design.
Microsoft also announced 8 new OEMs, including:
Karbonn, Solo, LG, Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Lenovo, Longcheer, Xolo
Together with existing OEMs HTC, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE the OEMs present 56% of all smartphone OEMs, which Microsoft of course hopes will translate into a significant increase in Windows Phone sales, which is currently dominated by Nokia.
At Mobile World Congress 2014 Microsoft announced dual-SIM support for Windows Phone.
In what they called a “Total control Dual SIM experience” users will have dual Phone Live tiles, Dual Messaging Live tiles and the ability to link messaging tiles.
Microsoft did not announce it, but the first device with this feature is expected to be the Nokia Lumia 635.
The Bing Team recently announced a comprehensive update for their existing Bing apps on Windows Phone (Bing News, Bing Finance, Bing Weather, and Bing Sports) and introduced 3 brand new apps: Bing Food & Drink, Bing Health & Fitness, and Bing Travel. Bringing the of offering of Bing Apps to 7 great apps. The ability to sync between your Windows PC or Tablet and your Windows Phone is a great way to seemlesly keep up to date on all your devices.
Bing News - The beautiful, photo-rich Bing News app makes it easy to stay up to date on the news that matters most to you. Designed for Windows Phone,the News app lets you easily choose your favorite news sources. Swipe through for a quick read of the headlines. Go deep with personalized coverage of the topics you’re passionate about. Or, search the day’s stories from your choice of trusted sources from around the world.
Bing Finance - The Bing Finance app helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Designed for Windows Phone, the Finance app puts your watchlist at your fingertips. Swipe through informative charts for a quick read on the day’s events. Quickly check exchange rates on the go using the Currency Converter tool.
Bing Weather - The Bing Weather app helps you prepare for the latest conditions with hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts. Designed for Windows Phone, the Weather App features beautiful weather images and maps, easily customized to track conditions for the places you care about. Catch the forecast on your Live Tile, check radar maps, and view historical details so you’re always aware of weather on the way. Note: Some features may not be available in all markets.
Bing Sports - From NBA season to the upcoming MLB season, Wimbledon and NCAA March Madness, Bing Sports takes you there! The app makes it easy for you to keep up with all the sports and teams you care about. Swipe through the app to get an overview of the top headlines, scores, schedules, standings, and statistics across all the major sports around the world. Personalize the experience so you can track the leagues and teams that interest you with Live Tiles, Scoreboards, and Game Summaries.
Bing Food & Drink - The Bing Food & Drink app makes it easy to explore recipes, choose wine and cocktails, and learn how to make your next meal a taste-tempting success. You’ll enjoy beautiful photos, easy to follow instructions and helpful tools such as a shopping list and collections. Keep your shopping list synced across your devices. Share your recipes, shopping list or collections with family and friends. An indispensable companion, the Food & Drink app will have your kitchen sizzling.
Bing Health & Fitness - The Bing Health & Fitness app helps you stay on top of health and fitness trends and provides the tools you need to support a healthy lifestyle. Designed for Windows Phone, the Health & Fitness app brings together great fitness, nutrition and health content, along with trackers, tools and other features. Set your daily calorie goal, record what you eat and get nutritional information for over 300,000 foods. Choose from hundreds of workouts and exercises with step-by-step instructions, photos and video. Use the GPS tracker to record your time, distance, pace and calories burned while you walk, run, bike and do other activities. Enter symptoms to get information on possible health conditions with the Interactive Symptom Checker. Keep your tracker data synced across your Windows 8 devices.
Bing Travel - The Travel app, powered by Bing, provides you with destination guides, user travel photos, expert reviews, daily trip ideas, hotel listings and much more, all from the convenience of your phone. Check airport arrivals/departure status and pin a flight you are tracking to your start screen. Make last minute flight bookings after comparing the best price from multiple providers. Use the new Nearby feature to find inspiring photos, attractions and more around you right now, whether at home or on your travels.
Microsoft created Windows Phone App Studio Beta as a powerful but easy-to-use tool to help hobbyists, enthusiasts and new developers create content-based apps from end to end, all within a web UI.
To date 350,000 developers of all skill levels have used Windows Phone App Studio Beta, resulting in 300,000 projects and 20,000 apps published to Windows Phone Store.
Today Microsoft released a significant update with some enhancements for Windows Phone App Studio Beta.
So what is new?
A redesigned UI. We looked at the most-used actions and streamlined the workflow, so the tasks you do most often are faster and easier to execute.
A touch-enabled UI to help support your App Studio development work on a variety of form factors and browsers.
A rebuilt emulator, which now supports dynamic text updates, so you can see your changes on the fly.
New features: Image conversion from JPG to PNG, full-screen image rotation, and a more fluid integration of sections and data sources, increasing the usability of the apps you create.
Better structure, readability, and performance of the source code that you create using App Studio Beta. Source code structure is now based on MVVM.
New templates for businesses, for building apps quickly that showcase company and product info.
Ability to generate a full Microsoft Visual Studio project containing both a Windows Phone and a Windows 8 version of your app, to make your app available through the Windows Store on Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices.
Thanks to the collaboration between Nokia, Microsoft and Sky, starting from middle of December the pay-TV service on the go will be available for all Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia devices in Italy
Milan, Italy – Sky Italia, Nokia and Microsoft have announced the global debut on Windows Phone of Sky Go, the service that allows users to view 30 pay-TV channels on the go. Thanks to this agreement, one of the most loved applications – already chosen by 1.9 million Sky subscribers – will be coming to the entire Nokia Lumia family in Italy starting from the middle of December.
The agreement allows Sky to enhance its mobile service by offering some of its most prestigious content to owners of Windows Phone 8 Lumia smartphones, which are increasingly widespread in Italy, in addition to allowing Nokia to enrich its cutting-edge models with the application that truly allows TV to be taken outside the home.
“Sky Go on the Windows Phone 8 platform is a world exclusive for Italy and a true Christmas present for our customers,” said Paola Cavallero, General Manager, Nokia Italia. “We are particularly pleased with the partnership with Sky as it will further increase the satisfaction of our Italian users of Lumia devices. This app, in addition to the recent arrival in the Store of other successful brands such as Instagram and Vine, will be available on the entire Lumia family stretching from the Lumia 520 to the new Lumia 1520 with its high-quality 6-inch screen.”
“We are pleased with this important agreement thanks to which Sky Go for the first time in the world will be making its debut on Nokia Lumia smartphones and the Windows Phone 8 platform,” said Remo Tebaldi, Customer & Product Marketing Manager Sky. “Sky Go is thus taking a further step on the path of innovation, allowing an increasingly broad segment of our subscribers to enjoy ever richer and more compelling viewing experiences. In fact, this partnership will boost customers’ chances to access their favourite programs on devices such as the new Nokia Lumia 1520 that guarantee the standard of excellence that has always set Sky apart.”
“We are enthusiastic about our collaboration with Sky and proud that Italy has been chosen for the global debut of Sky Go on Windows Phone. This is further confirmation of the excellent results that have led our mobile operating system to become the second largest in Italy in the third quarter of 2013,” said Silvano Colombo, Consumer Channel Group Manager, Microsoft Italia. “Thanks to Sky Go, the line-up of Windows Phone applications has been further expanded, confirming Microsoft’s commitment to guaranteeing its users access to the best of entertainment on their smartphones as well.”
On Monday, Microsoft added two new members to the Surface family of tablets – the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2.
Surface 2 (pictured left) and Surface Pro 2 (pictured right) will each have significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, display and camera resolution and the Kickstand, which now has dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use on your lap or at your desk. Enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro will make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customizable.
Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations and will start at $449. Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4GB of RAM, as well as 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8GB of RAM.
In addition, an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories was also announced on Monday, including the Touch Cover 2, Type Cover 2, Power Cover, Docking Station for Surface Pro, Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers, Car Charger with USB and Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. The Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent, helping you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight.
The Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and Surface accessories will be available at Microsoft retail stores and select third-party retailers in 22 initial markets. Those markets include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S. on Oct. 22 and China in early November. Additional markets will be announced in the coming months.
Customers can preorder Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 starting at 11 a.m. PT on Sept. 24 at Microsoft Stores, and Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select retailers in most Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch markets.
For more detail on the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, read this press release. More information is available over on the Surface Blog and the Microsoft News Center.
Stock Exchange Release
September 3, 2013 at 06.00 (CET +1)
Transaction expected to be significantly accretive to Nokia earnings.
Nokia continues to develop, and sees significant value in, advanced technologies, its patent portfolio and Nokia brand.
Nokia focusing on NSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies post-transaction. Each business a leading player in its respective segment.
Nokia outlines changes to leadership and Board of Directors.
ESPOO, Finland – Nokia Corporation today announced that it has signed an agreement to enter into a transaction whereby Nokia will sell substantially all of its Devices & Services business and licence its patents to Microsoft for EUR 5.44 billion in cash, payable at closing. Nokia expects to book a gain on sale of approximately EUR 3.2 billion, and expects the transaction to be significantly accretive to earnings.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Following the transaction, Nokia plans to focus on its three established businesses, each of which is a leader in enabling mobility in its respective market segment: NSN, a leader in network infrastructure and services; HERE, a leader in mapping and location services; and Advanced Technologies, a leader in technology development and licensing. At closing, this transaction is expected to strengthen Nokia’s financial position and provide a solid basis for future investment in these three businesses.
“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,” said Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors and, following today’s announcement, also Nokia interim CEO.
Subject to the closing of the transaction, Microsoft will acquire substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, including the Mobile Phones and Smart Devices business units as well as an industry-leading design team, operations including all Nokia Devices & Services production facilities, Devices & Services-related sales and marketing activities, and related support functions. At closing, approximately 32,000 people are expected to transfer to Microsoft, including approximately 4,700 people in Finland. Nokia’s CTO (Chief Technology Office) organization and patent portfolio will remain within the Nokia Group. The operations that are planned to be transferred to Microsoft generated an estimated EUR 14.9 billion, or almost 50%, of Nokia’s net sales for the full year 2012.
As part of the transaction, Nokia will grant Microsoft a 10 year non-exclusive license to its patents as of the time of the closing, and Microsoft will grant Nokia reciprocal rights related to HERE services. In addition, Nokia will grant Microsoft an option to extend this mutual patent agreement to perpetuity. Of the total purchase price of EUR 5.44 billion, EUR 3.79 billion relates to the purchase of substantially all of the Devices & Services business, and EUR 1.65 billion relates to the mutual patent agreement and future option.
Additionally, Microsoft will become a strategic licensee of the HERE platform, and will separately pay Nokia for a four year license. This revenue stream is expected to substantially replace the revenue stream HERE is currently receiving from Nokia’s Devices & Services business internally. If the transaction closes Microsoft is expected to become one of the top three customers of HERE.
Microsoft has agreed to make immediately available to Nokia EUR 1.5 billion of financing in the form of three EUR 500 million tranches of convertible bonds to be issued by Nokia maturing in 5, 6 and 7 years respectively. It is at Nokia’s discretion if it chooses to draw down all or some of these tranches. The financing is not conditional on the transaction closing. If the transaction closes, any outstanding bonds will be redeemed and netted against the deal proceeds by the amount of principal and accrued interest.
The following are the key terms of the three tranches of bonds Nokia may choose to issue:
The first tranche matures in 5 years and has a 1.125% per annum coupon payable semi-annually with an initial conversion price of EUR 3.9338.
The second tranche matures in 6 years and has a 2.5% per annum coupon payable semi-annually with an initial conversion price of EUR 4.0851.
The third tranche matures in 7 years and has a 3.625% per annum coupon payable semi-annually with an initial conversion price of EUR 4.2364.
The Board of Directors of Nokia will separately assess whether to draw down some or all of this financing. If Nokia would decide to utilize this financing option, the earliest that Microsoft could convert any of these bonds to shares is two years from draw down.
Microsoft has agreed to a 10 year license arrangement with Nokia to use the Nokia brand on current Mobile Phones products. Nokia will continue to own and maintain the Nokia brand. Under the terms of the transaction, Microsoft has agreed to a 10 year license arrangement with Nokia to use the Nokia brand on current and subsequently developed products based on the Series 30 and Series 40 operating systems. Upon the closing of the transaction, Nokia would be restricted from licensing the Nokia brand for use in connection with mobile device sales for 30 months and from using the Nokia brand on Nokia’s own mobile devices until December 31, 2015.
The transaction is subject to potential purchase price adjustments, protecting both Nokia and Microsoft, and a USD 750 million termination fee payable by Microsoft to Nokia in the event that the transaction fails to receive necessary regulatory clearances.
Building Nokia’s next chapter
Following the transaction, Nokia plans to focus on its three established businesses, each of which is a leader in enabling mobility in its respective market segment: NSN, a leader in network infrastructure and services; HERE, a leader in mapping and location services; and Advanced Technologies, a leader in technology development and licensing.
Nokia will retain its headquarters in Finland. Excluding the approximately 32,000 people planned to transfer to Microsoft, Nokia would have employed approximately 56,000 people at the end of the second quarter 2013.
“Today is an important moment of change and reinvention for Nokia and its employees,” said Nokia Chairman and interim CEO Mr. Siilasmaa. “With our strong corporate identity, leading assets and talent, and from a position of renewed financial strength, we will build Nokia’s next chapter.”
NSN, a wholly-owned business of Nokia since August 2013, is a leader in mobile broadband, and is focused on operating at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology, including pushing the boundaries of connecting people through LTE and future technologies. Nokia continues to manage NSN as a strong, independent entity.
HERE will continue to focus on growing its industry-leading position through a broad location offering across mobile devices, connected devices, enterprise solutions and the automotive environment. HERE will continue to execute its strategy to become the leading independent location cloud platform company, offering mapping and location services across different screens and operating systems.
Our Advanced Technologies business will build on several of Nokia’s current CTO and Intellectual Property Rights activities.Advanced Technologies will explore new business opportunities through advanced research, development and concept products in areas such as connectivity, sensing and material technologies, as well as web and cloud technologies. At the same time, Advanced Technologies plans to continue to build Nokia’s patent portfolio from this innovation and targets to expand its industry-leading technology licensing program, spanning technologies that enable mobility today and tomorrow.
“Following this transaction, Nokia’s financial situation is expected to be significantly stronger and its earnings profile significantly improved,” said Nokia CFO and interim President Timo Ihamuotila. “We will have three well-positioned businesses, each a leader in its market. Overall, we will continue to focus on managing and maximizing the assets of Nokia Group prudently and pragmatically to create value for Nokia shareholders.”
Historical pro forma information and strategic evaluation
This transaction is expected to be significantly accretive to Nokia earnings. In the first half 2013, Nokia Group net sales were EUR 11.5 billion and non-IFRS operating margin was 4.2%. On a pro forma basis assuming this transaction would have closed, Nokia Group net sales would have been EUR 6.3 billion and non-IFRS operating margin would have been 12.1% in the first half 2013.
The transaction is also expected to significantly strengthen Nokia’s financial position and Nokia targets to return to being an investment grade company. If this transaction as well as Nokia’s acquisition of 50% of NSN would have closed before the end of the second quarter 2013, Nokia would have ended the quarter with gross cash of EUR 14.9 billion and net cash of EUR 7.8 billion, excluding transaction related expenses and taxes. Assuming repayment of financing facilities related to the NSN acquisition as well as Nokia’s debt facilities of EUR 1.8 billion maturing before the end of the first quarter 2014, Nokia would have ended the second quarter 2013 with gross cash of EUR 11.4 billion and net cash of EUR 7.8 billion, excluding transaction related expenses and taxes. This compares to reported gross cash of EUR 9.5 billion and net cash of EUR 4.1 billion at the end of the second quarter 2013.
Nokia’s Board of Directors is conducting a strategy evaluation for Nokia Group between signing and closing of the transaction. This evaluation will comprise of evaluations of strategies for each of Nokia’s three businesses and possible synergies between them, as well as an evaluation of the optimal corporate and capital structure for Nokia after the closing of the transaction. After this evaluation is complete, deemed excess capital is planned to be distributed to shareholders.
Nokia expects to book a gain on sale of approximately EUR 3.2 billion from the transaction, excluding any potential tax implications, gains or losses related to currency translation differences triggered by the transaction. In connection with the transaction, Nokia will be required to evaluate whether the impact of the sale on future cash flows or operating results requires changes in the carrying values of any of its remaining assets or liabilities. This evaluation will include, among other things, a review of existing goodwill balances for impairment and the potential recoverability of deferred tax assets currently subject to valuation allowance. Additional assets and liabilities may require adjustment upon completion of our review.
Nokia today announced changes to its leadership as a result of the proposed transaction. These changes, which are effective immediately, are designed to provide an appropriate corporate governance structure during the interim period following the announcement of this transaction.
The Nokia Leadership Team will continue to consist of the current members, but with changes in positions and reporting lines as outlined below.
Risto Siilasmaa will assume an interim CEO role for Nokia while continuing to serve in his role as Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors. As part of his interim CEO role, Mr. Siilasmaa will, among other tasks, oversee strategy and have four direct reports: Michael Halbherr, Executive Vice President, HERE; Stephen Elop, Executive Vice President, Devices & Services; Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia CFO and interim President; and Jesper Ovesen, Executive Chairman of the NSN Board of Directors.
To avoid the perception of any potential conflict of interest between now and the pending closure of the transaction, Stephen Elop will step aside as President and CEO of Nokia Corporation, resign from the Board of Directors, and will become Executive Vice President, Devices & Services. The following Nokia Leadership Team members will report to Mr. Elop: Marko Ahtisaari, Executive Vice President, Design; Jo Harlow, Executive Vice President, Smart Devices; Juha Putkiranta, Executive Vice President, Operations; Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President, Mobile Phones; and Chris Weber, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing.
Timo Ihamuotila becomes President of Nokia for the interim period while also continuing to serve as CFO. Mr. Ihamuotila will assume the responsibility of chairing the Nokia Leadership Team. The following Nokia Leadership Team members will report to Mr. Ihamuotila: Louise Pentland, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer; Henry Tirri, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer; Juha Äkräs, Executive Vice President, Human Resources; and Kai Öistämö, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development.
We expect that Mr. Elop, Ms. Harlow, Mr. Putkiranta, Mr. Toikkanen, and Mr. Weber would transfer to Microsoft at the anticipated closing.
Mr. Ahtisaari has decided to again pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. He will step down from the Nokia Leadership Team and his position as Executive Vice President, Design, effective as from November 1, 2013. He will continue to work on activities related to the transaction through November 30, 2013. Effective November 1, 2013 Stefan Pannenbecker will start leading Design, reporting to Mr. Elop.
This announcement does not change the current leadership for Nokia Solutions and Networks. Rajeev Suri will continue to serve as CEO, NSN, reporting to NSN’s Board which continues to be chaired by Jesper Ovesen who continues to serve as NSN’s Executive Chairman and reports to Mr. Siilasmaa.
Nokia Board of Directors
To avoid the perception of any potential conflict of interest between now and the pending closure of the transaction, Stephen Elop will resign from the Nokia Board of Directors effective today. The Nokia Board currently consists of the following nine members: Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman; Jouko Karvinen, Vice Chairman; Bruce Brown; Elizabeth Doherty; Henning Kagermann; Helge Lund; Mårten Mickos; Elizabeth Nelson and Kari Stadigh. As a result of Mr. Siilasmaa assuming the interim CEO role, and in line with good corporate governance, Mr. Siilasmaa will no longer be a member and Chairman of the Corporate Governance & Nomination Committee. The Corporate Governance and Nomination Committee currently consists of the following three members: Mr. Kagermann, Mr. Karvinen and Mr. Lund. The Board elected Mr. Karvinen as the Chairman of the Corporate Governance & Nomination Committee. The composition of the Personnel Committee and the Audit Committee remain unchanged.
Extraordinary shareholders meeting and Nokia Board recommendation
Under the terms of the agreement, the closing of the transaction will be subject to approval by Nokia shareholders. Nokia plans to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on November 19, 2013 and to publish a notice of the meeting and make available more information on the transaction and its background later this month. Having thoroughly analysed the transaction and other alternatives available, the Board of Directors decided to enter into the transaction and recommends that Nokia shareholders vote to confirm and approve the sale of substantially all of the Devices & Services business to Microsoft at the Extraordinary General Meeting.