Vendor News

Microsoft Sheds Rest of Nokia

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The Microsoft ownership of Nokia comes to an end-- according to The Verge an internal memo reveals Microsoft is writing off $950 million as part of the failed acquisition before slashing 1850 jobs.

Lumia phonesMost of the job cuts (specifically 1350) affect the Microsoft Mobile division in Finland, and the company hopes to finish the culling by end 2016. Microsoft will still keep a small number of ex-Nokia staff, some in R&D roles and others in a Finnish sales subsidiary. Either way, $200m of the $950m impairment charge covers severence payments.

The news comes little more than a week after Microsoft sold off the Nokia feature phone division to HMD and FiH, not to mention Nokia licensing its brand for new mobile phones and tablets. Interestingly, the feature phone business sale announcement included a curious statement claiming Microsoft is not giving up on Windows Mobile-powered smartphones, and will continue supporting such devices and OEM partners.

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Nokia Brand Makes Smartphone, Tablet Comeback

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The Nokia brand is to make a mobile device return-- a Finland-based company named HMD Global Oy (HMD) gets the exclusive global license for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

Nokia tabletIn a simultaneous announcement Microsoft starts shedding its mobile phone ambitions through the sale of its feature phone business (including brands, software, design rights and a Vietnam manufacturing facility) to HMD and FIH Mobile, a newly created Hon Hai/Foxconn subsidiary. The deal is worth $350.

However Microsoft insists it is not giving up on Windows Mobile-powered smartphones, and will continue supporting such devices and OEM partners.

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Apple Invests in Chinese Uber Rival

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China is clearly still on Apple's mind as the company announces a surprise $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, the chief Uber ride-sharing/taxi-hailing rival in the country.

Didi StationApple is famous for showing little interest in outside investments, since it usually tends to buy small startups outright. The investment in Didi is Apple's largest since the $3bn acquisition of Beats, and in typical fashion there is litle official elaboration on the hows and the whys.

“Didi exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China,” Apple CEO Tim Cook states. “We are extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.”

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Nokia Gets Into Health With Withings Buy

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Nokia steps back into the consumer electronics business after the 2013 sale of its mobile business to Microsoft as it acquires French health and wearables company Withings for €170 million in cash.

Withings The deal is described as the start of a "new chapter" for Nokia, since it involves the creation of a digital health business within the company headed by Withings CEO Cédric Hutchings.

"With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples' lives," Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri says.

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France Sues Apple for €48.5 Million

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The DGCCRF, the French competition, consumer and fraud agency, launches a court case against Apple, BFM TV reports-- one claiming strict carrier contracts unfairly benefit the iPhone maker.

Orange FranceSpecifically, the agency states Apple contracts violate French competition laws in no less than 10 ways. For instance, Apple forces carriers to buy a minimum number of iPhones over 3 years, pay part of customer repair costs, stick with strict order rules, finance any in-store iPhone displays and to contribute to an Apple-run advertising fund. Apple also forbids carriers to make any iPhone contract or payment plans.

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