Looking back at another wild year in the tech sector
Two years ago, the world was supposed to end, based on the Mayan calendar. And last year, we heard about the death of the PC ad nauseam. Of course, neither of those things happened, setting up yet another event-filled 12 months of technology news that ran the gamut from a major security flaw affecting nearly every website on the Internet, to Blizzard announcing its first new PC game franchise in 17 years, plus a whole lot more.
Phones for narcissists and budget constrained power users
Microsoft kept itself busy today by unveiling three new Nokia handsets -- the Lumia 730, Lumia 735, and Lumia 830. Out of the three, the first two are billed as being "the ultimate selfie and Skype phones" courtesy of a Full HD 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera with a focal length of 24mm, while the third is what Microsoft is pitching as an affordable flagship handset.
Starting with the good news, Microsoft beat Wall Street estimates by reporting a 17 percent bump in revenue, which totaled $23.38 billion for the company's fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, 2014. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that wasn't enough to weather its Nokia Devices and Services acquisition, which contributed to a 7 percent drop in earnings at $0.55 per share.
Little by little, the Windows Phone platform is being fleshed out with a bigger and wider variety of apps. For you photography fans, Adobe Photoshop Express is now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices as a free download. For casual edits, this means you no longer have to export your photos to your PC for Photoshop-style touchups and the like -- just use your Lumia device instead.
How a Windows Phone saved a police officer's ass (literally)
Hollywood's already envisioned various objects saving a potential victim's hide by absorbing a bullet, but apparently it doesn't only happen in the movies. Reading like an action movie script, an overseas report tells the story of an off duty police officer in Brazil who was fired upon by two men attempting to rob his parents' house. The officer turned around in time for the bullet to deflect off his Nokia Lumia 520 handset in his back pocket.
There's a new chief in town and his job will be to pick Nokia up by the bootstraps and kick the company into gear. After selling off its mobile handset business to Microsoft and reporting a less than stellar quarterly earnings report, Nokia on Tuesday promoted Rajeev Suri to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a promotion that will go into effect on May 1, 2014.
Microsoft is planning to do away with the Nokia branding on smartphones
Today is the first business day with Stephen Elop serving as Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group, which now oversees an expanded devices business that includes Lumia devices from the Nokia acquisition. As part of the deal, Microsoft is free to use the Nokia brand for the next 10 years, though Microsoft is fairly eager to drop the brand from its smartphone offerings. Stephen Elop revealed as much (and more) and in a Q&A today.
Microsoft and Nokia clear all remaining hurdles in mobile unit sale
It took a bit longer than anticipated -- regulatory hurdles require a lot of jumping and maneuvering, especially when it's on a global scale -- but just as originally planned, Microsoft now owns substantially all of Nokia's Devices & Services business (essentially the company's mobile division). The transaction also includes an agreement to license patents to Microsoft, Nokia announced.
Only a few days remain before Microsoft closes its acquisition of Nokia's mobile business
If things had gone exactly to plan, Microsoft would have tied the knot with Nokia by now. However, red tape is sometimes sticky business, especially when it's coming from all directions. Regardless, Microsoft today announced that it's completed all the necessary steps to finalize its acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business (mobile handsets and such, in other words). The transaction will be complete on Friday, April 25.
Microsoft and Nokia are both anxious to finalize a $7.2 billion transaction in which the former will become the new owner of substantially all of the latter's Devices and Services business, but not all regulatory authorities around the world are quite as excited. Specifically, certain antitrust authorities in Asia are still conducting a review and it's now expected the deal will become finalized in April.