Archive for the ‘ Nokia ’ Category

It was a marriage of convenience for two industry giants whose past successes weren’t helping them win in the red-hot smartphone market. One year later, it’s hard to say that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s device business has produced the results its backers envisioned.

In the wake of the US$7.2 billion acquisition, Lumia smartphones and the Windows Phone OS are still running into many of the same market roadblocks.

But Microsoft isn’t throwing in the towel, and has high hopes that its phone business will get a major boost from Windows 10, which is meant to create an environment where users can move easily between desktops, tablets and their smartphones.
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That Microsoft’s smartphone adventure is a work in progress was highlighted last week, when CEO Satya Nadella said during the quarterly earnings call that device-related costs have to be cut more, ahead of the arrival of Windows 10. However, Nadella also revealed that Microsoft sold more Lumias in the quarter than it did a year ago.

There has been much speculation that Nadella was never a fan of the deal, brokered by his predecessor Steve Ballmer. But it seems the new CEO is giving it a go, betting, at least for now, that the acquisition can fulfill its goals: to make Microsoft a credible player in the mobile OS and smartphone device markets, able to give major players like Apple, Google and Samsung a run for their money.

Yet Nadella has his work cut out for him. Microsoft still isn’t selling enough devices; not enough large manufacturers are backing its OS; and Windows Phone apps are an afterthought to most developers.

On the hardware side, Microsoft frantically focused on launching affordable smartphones, including Lumia models 430, 535, 640 and 640XL, all of which cost between US$70 and $200 without a contract.

The strategy makes sense on paper because the low-end segment is growing faster than other parts of the smartphone market. Also, consumers in emerging markets—the target audience for these devices—aren’t as wedded to specific smartphone brands, user interfaces and ecosystems as their counterparts in the U.S. and Western Europe. But the competition in this segment is fierce and Microsoft is up against a multitude of Android-based smartphones.

Windows Phone’s market share sits below 3 percent, despite the low-end Lumia push, growing enterprise interest in the OS and adoption by a number of small smartphone vendors. To secure the future of the OS, Microsoft needs to increase the share to at least 10 percent, according to Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight.

“In our forecasts we don’t see anywhere near that level in the next three years, which underlines the scale of the challenge Microsoft faces,” Wood said.

Complicating matters is the decline in shipments of the Nokia feature phones Microsoft also acquired.

To significantly boost Windows Phone sales, Microsoft needs to sign big partners that can sell millions of devices per quarter. Getting them onboard is one of many things Windows 10 is expected to help with, and there is some positive momentum.

The OS will feature an updated user interface and a host of improved applications, such as the new Spartan browser. It also provides more integration between PCs and smartphones, including the ability to see notifications across different devices.

Chinese vendor Xiaomi recently announced that some users of its Android-based smartphones will be able to test Windows Phone 10 by installing it on their phones. Getting Xiaomi onboard would be a big win for Microsoft. The company has become one of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers, even though it doesn’t sell its products in Europe or the U.S.

Microsoft has struggled to get the biggest smartphone vendors to back the OS. For example, Samsung has only launched two Windows Phone devices in the last two years, and it didn’t give them anywhere near as much marketing support it gives its Android smartphones. Samsung declined to comment on its plans for Windows 10.

One smaller vendor backing Windows Phone is Florida-based Blu Products, and while its CEO Samuel Ohev-Zion is very critical of the Nokia acquisition, he has high hopes for Windows 10 and its expected ability to attract more users and developers.

The deal overvalued Nokia’s assets, he said, because it has become much easier to develop smartphones. And not getting the valuable Nokia brand as part of the acquisition was a big mistake, he added. Microsoft has been using its own brand on Lumia smartphones since October.

Windows 10, on the other hand, is going to be groundbreaking, Ohev-Zion predicts. The biggest turnoff with the current version of the OS is that users aren’t familiar with the interface and don’t understand how it works. But that will change with Windows 10, because the experience on PCs and smartphones becomes more similar, he said.

Microsoft is also doing the right things from a software development perspective, according Ohev-Zion. With Windows 10, developers will be able to build so-called universal apps for PCs, tablets, the Xbox game console and smartphones. That will help open up the platform to a much larger developer audience, he said.

The launch of Windows 10 is expected to be followed by the arrival of Microsoft’s first high-end smartphones. The company will make sure it has products in this market segment, but making a dent is very difficult, thanks to Apple’s and Samsung’s dominance, according to Christophe Francois, vice president of strategy and business development at telecom operator Orange.

“You have to be persistent, and invest quite a lot to establish a strong foothold. But it’s clear that with Microsoft’s ambitions, it’s something it has to do,” said Francois.

Orange has seen products such as the Lumia 635 and the Lumia 530—both of which use the Nokia brand—sell well, and help increase Windows Phone’s market share among its subscribers significantly. To build on that, Microsoft has to work to improve its own brand, according to Francois.

In Finland, many families won’t be celebrating the deal’s one-year anniversary, following the thousands of jobs Microsoft cut in Nokia operations. At the time, the Finnish finance minister Antti Rinne said that Microsoft had betrayed Finland.

There was some expectation the deal would be more of a joint venture, but it has most definitely been a Microsoft takeover, according to Wood.

However, some of these workers may be able to get jobs next year when Nokia will once again be able to produce smartphones. The company is said to be planning a comeback using Android. For now, though, Nokia is denying it currently has any plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.

Meanwhile, for Microsoft, the next twelve months will determine whether the Nokia deal goes down in corporate history as a success or a failure.

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The big question rises how to become the Microsoft certified , All Microsoft certifications are acquired by simply taking a series of exams. If you can self-study for said exams, and then pass them, then you can acquire the certification for the mere cost of the exam (and maybe whatever self-study materials you purchase).

You’ll also need, at minimum (in addition to the MCTS), the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certs; as well as the Cisco CCNA cert.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – This is the basic entry point of Microsoft Certifications. You only need to pass a single certification test to be considered an MCTS and there are numerous different courses and certifications that would grant you this after passing one. If you are shooting for some of the higher certifications that will be discussed below, then you’ll get this on your way there.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – This certification was Microsoft’s previous “Developer Certification” meaning that this was the highest certification that was offered that consisted strictly of development-related material. Receiving it involved passing four exams within specific areas (based on the focus of your certification). You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCPD here.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – This is Microsoft’s most recent “Developer Certification” which will replace the MCPD Certification (which is being deprecated / retired in July of 2013). The MCSD focuses within three major areas of very recent Microsoft development technologies and would likely be the best to persue if you wanted to focus on current and emerging skills that will be relevant in the coming years. You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCSD here.

The Microsoft Certifications that you listed are basically all of the major ones within the realm of development. I’ll cover each of the major ones and what they are :

Most people, however, take some kind of course. Some colleges — especially career and some community colleges — offer such courses (though usually they’re non-credit). Other providers of such courses are private… some of them Microsoft Certified vendors of one type or another, who offer the courses in such settings as sitting around a conference table in their offices. Still others specialize in Microsoft certification training, and so have nice classrooms set up in their offices.

There are also some online (and other forms of distance learning) courses to help prepare for the exams.

The cost of taking classes to prepare can vary wildly. Some are actually free (or very nearly so), while others can cost hundreds of dollars. It all just depends on the provider.

And here’s a Google search of MCTS training resources (which can be mind-numbing in their sheer numbers and types, so be careful what you choose):

There are some pretty good, yet relatively inexpensive, ways to get vendor certificate training. Be careful not to sign-up for something expensive and involved when something cheaper — like subscribing to an “all the certificates you care to study for one flat rate” web site — would, in addition to purchasing a study guide or two at a bookstore, likely be better.

If you want a career in IT, then you need to have both an accredited degree in same (preferably a bachelors over an associates), and also a variety of IT certifications. The MCTS is but one that you will need.

You should probably also get the Microsoft MCSE and/or MCSA. The ICS CISSP. And the ITIL.

There are others, but if you have those, you’ll be evidencing a broad range of IT expertise that will be useful, generally. Then, in addition, if the particular IT job in which you end-up requires additional specialist certification, then you can get that, too (hopefully at the expense of your employer who requires it of you).

Then, whenever (if ever) you’re interested in a masters in IT, here’s something really cool of which you should be aware…

There’s a big (and fully-accredited, fully-legitimate) university in Australia which has partnered with Microsoft and several other vendors to structure distance learning degrees which include various certifications; and in which degrees, considerable amounts of credit may be earned simply by acquiring said certifications. It’s WAY cool.

One can, for example, get up to half of the credit toward a Masters degree in information technology by simply getting an MCSE (though the exams which make it up must be certain ones which correspond with the university’s courses). I’ve always said that if one were going to get an MCSE, first consult the web site of this university and make sure that one takes the specific MCSE exams that this school requires so that if ever one later decided to enter said school’s masters program, one will have already earned up to half its degree’s credits by simply having the MCSE under his/her belt. Is that cool, or what?

I wouldn’t rely on them over experience (which is far and away the most valuable asset out there) but they are worth pursuing especially if you don’t feel like you have enough experience and need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to land a position as a developer.

If you are going to pursue a certification, I would recommend going after the MCSD (Web Applications Track) as it is a very recent certification that focuses on several emerging technologies that will still be very relevant (if not more-so) in the coming years. You’ll pick up the MCTS along the way and then you’ll have both of those under your belt. MCPD would be very difficult to achieve based on the short time constraints (passing four quite difficult tests within just a few months is feasible, but I don’t believe that it is worth it since it will be “retired” soon after).

No job experience at all is necessary for any of the Microsoft Certifications, you can take them at any time as long as you feel confident enough with the materials of the specific exam you should be fine. The tests are quite difficult by most standards and typically cover large amounts of material, but with what it sounds like a good bit of time to study and prepare you should be fine.

Certifications, in addition to degrees, are so important in the IT field, now, that one may almost no longer get a job in that field without both. The certifications, though, are so important that one who has a little IT experience can get a pretty good job even without a degree as long as he has all the right certs. But don’t do that. Definitely get the degree… and not merely an associates. Get the bachelors in IT; and make sure it’s from a “regionally” accredited school.

Then get the certs I mentioned (being mindful, if you think you’ll ever get an IT masters, to take the specific exams that that Strut masters program requires so that you’ll have already earned up to half the credit just from the certs).

If you already have two years of experience in working in the .NET environment, a certification isn’t going to guarantee that you will get employed, a salary increase or any other bonuses for achieving the honor. However, it can help supplement your resume by indicating that you are familiar with specific technologies enough to apply them in real-world applications to solve problems.

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Finland looses Nokia and employs to Microsoft as transaction complete,

Microsoft today officially closed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, welcoming approximately 30,000 new employees to its rolls.

As expected, the new unit has been named “Microsoft Mobile Oy,” and will act as a subsidiary. “Oy” is the Finnish equivalent to “Ltd.” or “LLC,” a limited liability company in the U.K. and the U.S., and to “GmbH” in Germany.

Microsoft Mobile will be headquartered in Espoo, Finland.

Also today, Microsoft formally appointed former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop as the new head of Microsoft’s Devices Group. That group, Microsoft said, will add Lumia smartphones and tablets, as well as Nokia mobile phones, to its existing portfolio, which already included Microsoft’s Surface tablets, its Xbox gaming console, and hardware accessories such as keyboards and mice.

Before taking the CEO role at Nokia, Elop lead Microsoft’s Office group.

The Microsoft Mobile subsidiary will develop, manufacture and distribute Lumia, Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices, Microsoft said, indicating that the Redmond, Wash. technology firm will continue to use the brands. The “Nokia Lumia” brand will be shortened to simply “Lumia;” the “Asha” brand has been and will continue to be used for the less-advanced “feature” phones.

“The mobile capabilities and assets … will advance our transformation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement today. “Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

That phrase — “mobile first, cloud first” — was coined by Nadella on his first day as CEO, and has become Microsoft’s latest mantra, replacing former CEO Steve Ballmer’s “devices and services” label as the future Microsoft has chosen as the PC business contracts and the company finds itself far behind Google and Apple in the mobile market.

As part of the finalized deal, Microsoft will honor all existing Nokia customer warranties for currently-owned devices, the company said.

Yesterday during its March quarter earnings call, Microsoft excluded the financial impact of the Nokia acquisition from guidance it gave Wall Street analysts for the June quarter. Instead it will disclose the financial impact, including one-time integration and severance costs, in July.

Microsoft said its omission of the acquisition costs in forecasts for the June quarter was caused by its inability to access Nokia’s data before the deal officially wrapped.

“The reality is we’ve not had the type of access until close where we could confidently begin to give the type of guidance that I believe we have come and you have come to expect from us in terms of the depth and analysis required to get there,” said Amy Hood, Microsoft’s CFO, during the earnings call Thursday.

Microsoft announced the acquisition of Nokia’s devices arm — and an associated patent deal — on Sept. 2, 2013, when Ballmer was still chief executive. At the time, Microsoft said it would pay approximately $5 billion for “substantially all” of Nokia’s Devices & Services business and $2.2 billion to license a broad portfolio of Nokia’s patents.

Today, Nokia said that the closing price will be slightly higher than the original amount, but did not say by how much.

Let hope well wishes for Microsoft in the future and become world leader again.

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