Posts Tagged ‘ Nokia ’

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.
MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 12 most powerful Internet of Things companies

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.

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at

Why I abandoned Windows Phone 8

Written by admin
January 7th, 2013

I recently acquired a Nokia Lumia 920 to experiment with Windows Phone 8. But a few weeks in, I’m already back to my Android-based device.

A few months ago, I forced myself to switch to Windows 8 on my desktop system (and laptop) and ended up liking the operating system very much. Once I got used to the quirks and garish look of the new Start screen and learned many of the shortcuts built into Windows 8, I found myself enjoying the operating system and was more than pleased by its myriad of enhancements and performance improvements.

I initially made the switch to Windows 8 because I wanted to fully immerse myself into the OS before formulating any strong opinions. Considering how much I ended up liking Windows 8 on my desktop, I thought I would conduct a similar experiment with my smartphone. For the last few years, I have been deeply entrenched in the Android ecosystem and have experience with a multitude of devices. I enjoy installing custom ROMs on the devices and have experimented with countless apps and utilities. At this point my smartphone is an integral part of my day-to-day computing, and I’ve grown fond of a handful of apps and the convenience of always having my inboxes and access to the web in my pocket.
I picked up a [Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 920 and was initially impressed. The hardware itself is excellent. The Lumia 920’s camera is top notch. The device is obviously well-built. The screen looks great, and navigating through Windows Phone 8 was smooth as silk. At first, my Android-based device (currently a Samsung Galaxy Note II) remained my daily driver. I kept the Lumia 920 handy until I felt I was comfortable using its email client, browsing the web. But eventually I customized the Start screen to my liking and got a good feel for what Microsoft and Nokia were trying to accomplish with the phone. I installed only a couple of apps and got comfortable with them too.

After a couple of weeks and a good initial impression, I decided to dive in head-first and make the Lumia 920 my daily device. At first, I was happy with the decision. I dug the Live Tiles and the Lumia 920 never lost its luster; it’s a great phone.

But as I started to install more and more apps and dig deeper into the Windows Phone App Store, I was regularly disappointed. There seemed to be three kinds of apps available for Windows Phone 8:

Apps specifically designed for the OS that showed signs of greatness
Quick-and-dirty ports of apps obviously designed for other platforms
Kludges that were nothing more than wrappers for mobile websites

The apps designed with Windows Phone 8 in mind were mostly great. I especially liked the IMDB app, which blows away its counterparts on other mobile platforms. The Facebook app was also very fast and responsive, but it wastes a TON of screen real estate with larger-than-necessary fonts in the navigation menu and wasted white space in the feed. There were times when I could only see a single post in my news feed because of all the wasted screen real estate. I’m not sure what the app developers were thinking with that one.

Then there were the obvious ports that just didn’t look right on Windows Phone 8. One in particular, Words with Friends, comes to mind. I know it’s an older title and games aren’t a necessity, but I enjoy playing Words with Friends; it’s a nice break in the day. Anyway, fonts (like the one used to display the score) were nearly illegible and the game is just plain broken. As of a couple of weeks ago, you couldn’t use words with the letter “Z” and the main screen wouldn’t update when it was your turn. You’d think with the amount of complaints logged in the app store someone at Microsoft would fix the game, but no such luck.

And then there’s apps like YouTube, which seem to be little more than wrappers for the YouTube mobile site. Minimal effort was put into optimizing the app for Windows Phone 8, and it shows.

As you probably guessed by now, my little experience was a failure. I’m back to my Android device and don’t plan to give Windows Phone 8 another try for a few months. If Microsoft wants people to give Windows Phone 8 serious consideration, they’ve got to get serious about offering quality apps for the platform. It’s not just about the number of available apps, it’s about the quality, and at this point in time Windows Phone 8 trails in both departments.

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at