News for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

[U] Is Microsoft paying $13 for each Skype user?

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier tonight that Microsoft–in what would be its most aggressive acquisition in the digital space–was zeroing in on buying Skype for $8.5 billion all in with an assumption of the Luxembourg-based company’s debt.

Sources told BoomTown tonight that the deal for the online telephony and video communications giant is actually done and will be announced early tomorrow morning.

The purchase–which has been spearheaded in closely held negotiations by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, with an assist from top dealmaker Charles Songhurst–is a bold move for the software giant and its biggest acquisition in more than three decades.

This deal is utter madness. Microsoft’s only option to make this deal work is to monetize Skype (and its other VOIP services) in ways that Skype itself already knows will only lead to alienation of its users, and a mass exodus from the service. Despite all the reliable sources confirming this story, I still find it hard to believe that even Ballmer is this dumb, or this desperate.

Apple, with their strong presence in mobile and Facetime, must be turning backflips right now. Not to mention the other existing VOIP companies out there (who have always had Skype as their main competitor), including Google.

The big price will give Microsoft–which has struggled in its online efforts and has lost billions of dollars for its work–a big brand name on the Web.

With Skype, which has been aggressively expanding, Microsoft will continue to lose money in its Internet efforts. Skype lost $7 million on revenue of $860 million. Operating profits, which Skype preferred to highlight, were $264 million.

And–let us not forget–Skype’s debt is $686 million. Silver lining: That’s slightly less than Microsoft’s Online Services division losses in its most recent quarter!

But, sources said, the concept is bigger than just money, including getting access to Skype’s 663 million registered users.

From All Things D

Are we really expected to believe that Microsoft is paying $13 per registered Skype user, and assuming all the companies debts to boot?

Good luck with that. Skype is simply going to disappear, along with a huge chunk of Microsoft’s remaining cash hoard and credibility.

The only good thing to come from this is that Ballmer will finally be ousted from the company.

UPDATE : Bloomberg are reporting that Skype only has around 170 million active users. Which would mean that Microsoft could be paying around $52 for each of them!

Posted: May 10th, 2011
Categories: Microsoft, News
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Microsoft Paying Nokia $1 Billion++

Microsoft Corp. will pay Nokia Oyj more than $1 billion to promote and develop Windows-based handsets as part of their smartphone software agreement, according to two people with knowledge of the terms.

Nokia will pay Microsoft a fee for each copy of Windows used in its phones, costs that will be offset as Nokia curtails its own budget for software research and development, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the final contract hasn’t yet been signed. The agreement runs for more than five years, the people said.

At a $15 per phone royalty that Nokia will be paying Microsoft, Microsoft is betting on Nokia selling 60 Million handsets running Windows Phone 7 for the deal to break even.

For some perspective: Apple passed the 100 Million iOS devices sold mark in the summer of last year. That’s iOS devices, which includes the iPod Touch and iPad, not just smart-phones.

Posted: March 8th, 2011
Categories: Microsoft, Nokia
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Nokia : “Peeing Yourself for Warmth”

Nokia’s executive vice president of mobile solutions, Anssi Vanjoki, let an interesting analogy go when speaking with the Financial Times today. When asked about the possibility of his company switching mobile operating systems from Symbian to Android, Mr. Vanjoki compared the prospective move to Finnish boys who “pee in their pants” during the winter months for warmth; the temporary relief acquired is soon followed by a larger issue.

From tequilabomb.

So I ask again, “What would switching to Windows Phone 7 be akin to?”. Which is exactly what Nokia announced today.

Nokia said on Friday it was teaming up with Microsoft to take on Google and Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market and set financial targets for the group.

From reuters.

To me this seems like an act of desperation. Desperation from a company that no longer has the vision to innovate.

And with Microsoft’s penchant for the colour brown, I think the new analogy is obvious.

Posted: February 11th, 2011
Categories: Microsoft, Nokia
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Windows on ARM good for Intel…

[Intel Executive Vice President Dadi Perlmutter] basically said (and I paraphrase from memory here) that Microsoft has a long ways to go on the tablet software front, and that an ARM port will help them get there. And, by the time they get their tablet software sorted—a fresh, tablet-centric UI and much-needed power optimizations—Intel will be ready with an Atom-based chip that can compete directly with ARM in the milliwatt power draw range.

Right now, Atom is significantly more power-hungry (and more high-performance) than the ARM Cortex A8-caliber hardware that’s showing up in Android tablets. But Intel will continue to close that gap with each new process generation. So, by the time Moore’s Law delivers an Atom SoC with the same power profile as A8- and A9-based SoCs, Microsoft will either be ready with a tablet-worthy OS, or it will be further along than it would’ve been if it had been waiting for Intel to catch up.

Good point.

Posted: January 10th, 2011
Categories: ARM, Microsoft, intel, windows
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Microsoft Parlays with Windows Phone 7 Jailbreakers

Microsoft’s Brandon Watson reached out to the ChevronWP7 team, which recently released a Windows Phone 7 unlocking tool, and opened a line of discussion about homebrew app development. As a sign of good faith during the conversations, which could ultimately lead to some kind of homebrew support from Microsoft, ChevronWP7 has agreed to pull its unlocker tool.

Rest assured that the gloves will come off if the talks don’t pan out.

It seems odd that Microsoft would consider helping developers build apps with capabilities not allowed under Microsoft’s developer terms.

Not really odd. I touched on this some time ago.

Microsoft is a software company. They need their App Store to succeed. And they are well aware that right now they don’t have any where near the consumer numbers or the lock in juju that Apple has with the App Store.

Nor do they have the raw handset profits that Apple does; which in many ways mean that Apple could forgo having an App Store and still make money.

If Microsoft are smart they will try to embrace the Windows Phone 7 homebrew community on any terms. Unfortunately “Smart” and “Microsoft” are not often words that occupy the same sentence.

Let’s not forget that in other news Microsoft is apparently quite happy to put a 360 hacker in jail for a few years if necessary, over similar hacking activities. If the ruling on iPhone jailbreaking (and it’s legality in the US) had gone another way ChevronWP7 might have found themselves in court, rather than sitting across a table from Microsoft – albeit probably very briefly.

Posted: December 2nd, 2010
Categories: App Store, Apple, Jailbreak, Microsoft
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Windows Phone 7 Jailbroken…

[H]ackers have already gained root access Windows Phone 7′s registry and file system — their methods simply aren’t yet bundled up in a nice little user-friendly package.

This is hardly news. It was inevitable.

What interests me though, is the effect this will have on Microsoft’s online store. Locking people into a curated store experience, like Apple’s App Store in iTunes, is something that I believe your Microsoft traditionalists (who are going to be the core people buying and evangelising these devices – at least initially) are not going to be so easy to convince to agree to.

Plus, with Windows Phone 7 being wide open so early into the market, it seems to me that Windows Phone 7 Cydia clones may well gain traction more quickly than Microsoft’s App Store is able to.

I think we may see Microsoft have to become a lot more draconian than Apple has ever been about App Store lock-ins. Perhaps they plan to leverage a similar system to their XBox Live subscription gaming network for their mobile phone eco-system? And perhaps they hope that will lock people in. But we already know that the gamers tastes on mobile devices are very very different to those on console networks. So I am not sure how much leverage a tie in to XBox Live is really going to gain Microsoft.

Will Microsoft dare drop the “ban-hammer” on jail-broken Windows Phones? I doubt it. But it’s fun to think about!

Posted: November 13th, 2010
Categories: App Store, Jailbreak, Microsoft
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Apple v Nokia : Round One to Nokia?

Apple’s legal battle with Nokia looks to have seen some setback, with staff at the US International Trade Commission (ITC) telling the judge in the case that Apple’s patent allegations are ‘unfounded’.

“The evidence will not establish a violation” of Apple patent rights, the staff, which acts on behalf of the public as a third party in the case, said in a pre-hearing memo released yesterday.

Bloomberg tells us the case will begin before Judge Charles Bullock today. Apple is attempting to have Nokia’s US phone imports banned on strength of its four allegations.

Nokia also has a case against Apple. Meanwhile, Apple is suing HTC and Motorola over Android phones, and Microsoft is suing Motorola. In fact, the mobile business is a minefield of legal fun and games, as displayed in the above info-graphic.

From 9TO5Mac.

The graph above shows just how crazy this has become.

In the end this will come down to who has the most influential lobbyists. Or who blinks first, and settles in a back room somewhere with an undisclosed deal.

Posted: November 3rd, 2010
Categories: Android, Apple, Legal, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, iOS, iPhone OS, iphone
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Microsoft Office iPad Edition?

If you recall, back in September of this year we reported that a Microsoft employee revealed that Microsoft was in fact working on some applications for the iPad. Because of this, we believe this “iPad group” has no anti-iPad incinations but is instead the group working on Microsoft’s iPad App Store applications.

As hinted at by the picture 9TO5Mac use for that piece, it is almost certain that Microsoft have a Microsoft Office companion app in the works for the iPad.

And for Android.

Whether either, or both of them see the light of day is another matter altogether.

Posted: October 30th, 2010
Categories: App Store, Apps, Microsoft, ipad
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Nintendo Suffers ¥2 Billion Loss…

Nintendo has made a loss of ¥2.01 billion ($24.5m / £15.5m) for the first six months to September 30, 2010, compared to a profit of ¥69 billion ($848.3m / £537.4m) for the same period last year.

It’s a drop in the ocean for them really. But that is how quickly things can turn around in this business. Part of the reason is the strength of the Yen affecting exports, but another facet is the shifting landscape in the tech entertainment sector, and the changing tastes of consumers.

People often ask why Apple hangs onto such a huge war chest. Part of the reason behind that I am sure is because they have a deeply ingrained fear of almost going under again. And they know from personal experience just how quickly you can hit the skids if you are too complacent. They want to protect themselves against that, and a big hoard of cash is certainly comforting. Nintendo has one too.

You only have to look at Sony’s slow return to profitability with the PS3, and how much cash they haemorrhaged getting to where they are now. And the puny amount of money Microsoft still make from their gaming division, despite having the “most successful” high end console business on the market…

  • Windows and Windows Live: $3.32 billion income.
  • Business: $3.39 billion income.
  • Entertainment and Devices: $382 million income.

Lucky for Microsoft that they still have their core businesses to rely on. And a massive hoard of cash that they will be burning through as they try to capture a share of the smartphone market.

Expect horrific figures from Microsoft in coming quarters.

And if the 3DS fails to capture people’s imagination, expect Nintendo to start hurting too.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: Apple, Microsoft, Nintendo, Opinion
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Thoughtful OS Market Share Analysis

The overall share of Internet traffic from Windows PCs has dropped slightly in the past two-and-a-half years, from 95.4% to 91.1%. But that’s true across the board for competing desktop OSes as well. Linux usage is down dramatically in 2010, to 0.85% from an all-time high of 1.08% in early 2009. Interestingly, OS X usage is also down, dropping by roughly a quarter of a percentage point since a year ago, from 5.26% to exactly 5.00%. In relative terms, that’s almost exactly the same overall drop as the Windows platform has seen in the same period.

It is clear that all desktop OSs are under attack from mobile OSs.

The mobile Internet is growing at an astonishing rate. This was the most fascinating set of numbers to me, and they’re also the ones that should have Microsoft most concerned.

Not surprisingly, Apple’s iOS-based devices are the leader in the mobile category, as measured by usage, accounting for 42% of the total traffic from mobile sources. The very close runner-up, at 37%, is a big surprise: Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME), presumably running mostly on Nokia feature phones. Symbian is a distant third at 11%, with Android in fourth at 8%.

42% for iOS versus 8% for Android really puts recent device “activation” claims from certain quarters into perspective.

Windows Phone 7 currently has what is effectively a 0% share. And it’s a few years behind both Android and iOS in every way.

Posted: October 26th, 2010
Categories: Analysis, Android, Apple, Microsoft, iOS, windows
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