Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

[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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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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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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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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Why Microsoft Stores Will #Fail

Great piece from Mike Elgan for Cult of Mac…

For the average mall goer, the Apple Store is a journey into an exotic and beautiful alternative universe. But the Microsoft Store will be like a journey into… Best Buy.

Just look at Microsoft’s packaging. Now imagine a box like that, but the size of a shop! I actually think that Microsoft’s stores will end up being almost exclusively Windows Phone 7 and XBox stores, shortly before they close.

Placing the Microsoft Store directly opposite from the Apple Store is an error. Once the novelty has worn off, the Apple Store will be consistently busier with a much broader spectrum of consumer.

It is going to be painfully embarrassing, even from the day immediately after launch. In fact, it might even harm Microsoft’s sales. Empty shops convey to customers that they have undesirable products.

Note that Microsoft has many loyal and enthusiastic business customers. But they won’t be at the mall to represent.

They might actually be at the Apple Store getting their iPhones, iPods and laptops from Apple.

Offering tech support at the Microsoft store is probably a bad idea. Because the Windows platform is what Steve Jobs would call a “fragmented” environment (OS from one company, hardware from another), tech support issues are likely to require intervention by companies other than Microsoft. So Microsoft may not offer tech support, which makes the company look bad. Or it may offer tech support, which makes the company look worse. It’s a no-win for Microsoft.

The more I read of this article the more I realise just how bad this is going to go for Microsoft.

Posted: October 26th, 2010
Categories: Analysis, Apple, Microsoft
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Nintendo : Apple more of a threat than Microsoft

If you want to find someone doing that kind of volume you’ve got to look outside the game business. At, say, Apple, which is pushing games on the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple sold more 14.1 million iPhones alone during the quarter ending in September.  “Do I think that in the near term they can hurt us more than Microsoft?” Fils-Aime says. “Absolutely.”

Interesting to see how Fils-Aime’s tune has changed subtly over the last few months.

Here’s where Nintendo has an edge, Fils-Aime says. The iPod and iPhone are great for casual games like “Angry Birds” that provide a welcome distraction. Games on the Nintendo DS, by contrast, can consume. Fils-Aime admits he’s spent 150 hours playing Nintendo’s Dragon Quest.

And he perhaps has a point.

iOS devs. (small and large) only have themselves to blame if he is right.

Posted: October 25th, 2010
Categories: 3D, App Store, Apple, Apps, Microsoft, Nintendo, iOS, iPhone OS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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Windows Phone 7 “Removable” Storage…

So let’s say you get a device and it has 8 GB of storage internally plus an empty micro-SD slot. You could add a memory card (with 8 to 32 GB of storage) to dramatically expand the storage (to up to 40 GB).

What you can’t do is swap it out without hard resetting the device. That’s because the storage on the card and the internal storage is comingled, and the system makes no differentiation. There’s no way to know where something (an app, song, whatever) is stored, and if you do pop out the card, the phone will complain. And it won’t be readable on your PC, so you can’t use it to transfer content in either direction.

Sounds really user friendly.

Posted: October 14th, 2010
Categories: Microsoft
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