Tag Archives: nokia

Nokia Tries to Reinvent Itself, Again, by Taking Over Alcatel-Lucent

Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s chief executive, at its headquarters in Espoo, Finland, says the deal will increase the company’s relevance. “We’ll have the size to become a strategic partner,” he said.

Tucked away down a corridor at Nokia’s headquarters here is a reminder of its 150-year history. A colorful display traces its transformation from a maker of rubber boots in the 19th century to the world’s largest manufacturer of cellphones, whose market capitalization once peaked at almost $250 billion.

Those high-flying days, though, are long gone.

Nokia failed to adapt to the fast rise of smartphones and eventually
sold its faltering handset business to Microsoft. Now, in an effort to remake itself once again, Nokia has turned to manufacturing the telecom equipment that powers the mobile networks of global carriers like Deutsche Telekom and China Mobile.

That strategy will soon face its biggest test when Nokia completes its$16.6 billion takeover of its Franco-American rival Alcatel-Lucent in early 2016.

Nokia shareholders will meet in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday to approve the deal. And despite some resistance, Alcatel-Lucent’s shareholders are also expected to give their support by the end of the year through a share-swap arrangement that will leave them with roughly a one-third stake in the enlarged telecom manufacturer. (Nokia shareholders will hold the remainder.)

The hurdles facing Nokia’s effort are high. The company must sidestep the checkered past of previous costly takeovers in the telecom industry that have often yielded more problems than solutions. Nokia is also confronted with tough competition. Low-cost Chinese rivals and a downturn in spending from carriers worldwide have cut growth prospects just as it edges toward its largest acquisition in years.

Yet, Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s 48-year-old chief executive, says the takeover of Alcatel-Lucent is exactly what his company needs to execute its yearslong makeover. That overhaul has included cutting more than 17,000 jobs, and the sale of unwanted assets like its digital mapping unit.

“When I took over, we were on the brink,” Mr. Suri said in a brief return to Finland between customer meetings in Asia. “Being able to pull off an acquisition that might make us No. 1, now that’s pretty exciting.”

“Through the deal, we’ll grow our relevance with our customers,” he added. “We’ll have the size to become a strategic partner.”

Analysts say both companies do offer complementary expertise: Nokia specializes in wireless networks, and Alcatel-Lucent is best known for its routers and other equipment that is used to create broadband networks.

But as carriers like Verizon Wireless and Telefónica of Spain, which represent the bulk of the companies’ revenue, pull back on mobile networks investments, industry watchers remain concerned that a bigger Nokia may struggle to find new customers to offset the moribund global telecom industry. Sales, including in the United States, have flatlined.

“For Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, it’s a matter of survival,” said Bengt Nordström, co-founder of Northstream, a telecom consulting firm in Stockholm. “The real challenge is where are they going to find growth.”

History also offers reason for caution. Alcatel’s merger with Lucent Technologies in 2006, for example, led to corporate infighting, dwindling sales and, eventually, wholesale layoffs. And Nokia’s own joint venture with Siemens, the German industrial giant, faced many of the same headwinds, finally culminating in Nokia buying out Siemens in 2013.

“The history of M.&A. is littered with hubris,” said Sylvain Fabre, a telecom analyst at the research firm Gartner in Bristol, England. “But Rajeev and his team have a track record that could make this work.”

Ever since Nokia first announced its takeover of Alcatel-Lucent this year, it has looked to previous deals, including its lackluster partnership with Siemens, to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Jorg Erlemeier, who led Nokia’s integration team, said the deal was specifically structured as a takeover, not a merger of equals, so that Nokia executives would assume lead management roles — a way to avoid confusion over how the expanded company would be run. Mr. Erlemeier’s team, which now numbers more than 1,000 people, has met almost weekly since April, negotiating logistics, corporate structures and possible job cuts ahead of the deal’s completion early next year.

Foreign companies have also had trouble acquiring French corporate giants in the past, partly because the French government holds stakes in a number of so-called strategic assets like the energy and telecom industries. The government, for instance, initially balked at General Electric’s offer to buy the energy assets of Alstom, a French conglomerate.

The French government, however, owns less than a 4 percent stake in Alcatel-Lucent. And Nokia has guaranteed it will maintain job levels in France and has created a $105 million fund to support local tech companies, efforts that have so far tempered concerns from French politicians.

“I’m realistic; this is something that had to be done,” said Philippe Camus, Alcatel-Lucent’s interim chief executive, when asked about the pending takeover. “We’re in a global market. Not all European champions can be French.”

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Wireless Start-up Artemis Reaches Deal With Nokia

A little over a year ago, a start-up in San Francisco called Artemis Networks announced a new technology that it said could enable much faster Internet access speeds over wireless networks, which often slow dramatically when too many people use their smartphones in busy locations.

The only thing Artemis needed was big companies from the wireless industry to buy into the idea of using its technology. But it has been challenging for a small start-up to get those deals.

Now Artemis, founded by the entrepreneur Steve Perlman, who created Web TV and other companies, finally has a big wireless industry partner willing to give its technology a look. On Monday, Nokia Networks, the Finnish networking equipment provider, said it planned to begin testing Artemis’s technology, called pCell, starting next year with wireless carriers. The tests will be an attempt to prove that the technology works as advertised.

Traditional cellular networks rely on antennas carefully placed around cities. They cannot be positioned too closely or they interfere with their wireless signals.

According to Mr. Perlman, wireless networks that use pCell antennas do not need to worry about interference from nearby antennas. Instead, data centers connected to the antennas perform instantaneous calculations that create a coherent wireless signal for every user of a smartphone or another device within range.

Those users gain access to the full capacity of the wireless spectrum of a pCell network, instead of seeing their Internet speeds degrade sharply, especially in crowded areas like a stadium or a train station.

Because pCell antennas are compatible with existing smartphones that run on standard 4G LTE networks, users of Android smartphones and iPhones won’t have to do anything to receive the benefits of the technology, Artemis promises. “Their phone is going to work like it has a cable modem connection even if you’re in a high-density crowd,” said Mr. Perlman.

Mr. Perlman has demonstrated that pCell works in a laboratory setting. In a phone interview, Hossein Moiin, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Nokia Networks, said he had seen the demonstration in the lab and now wanted to see it in action in an ordinary setting outside.

“To get to the bottom of how real it is, we have to take further steps, which means we have to deploy it in a real setting outside the lab,” said Mr. Moiin. “Once we do that, we’ll know the answer.”

Mr. Moiin said Nokia plans to test pCell at a stadium with a global carrier outside the United States by March. “I’m going into this venture with open eyes,” he said. “It might fail, but it’s definitely worth trying.”

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Nokia sells HERE unit to German carmakers for $2.74 billion

A consortium of German premium carmakers has agreed to buy Nokia’s (NOK1V.HE) mapping business HERE for 2.5 billion euros ($2.74 billion), in a push to extend the reach of automakers into digital services for connected cars.

The three automaker partners – Daimler (DAIGn.DE) BMW (BMWG.DE) and Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) premium division Audi (NSUG.DE) – will each hold an equal stake in HERE and none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest, they said in a joint statement.

The Finnish network equipment maker said the transaction has an enterprise value of 2.8 billion euros, which includes the assumption of nearly 300 million euros in HERE liabilities. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

“For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving,” the buyers said in a joint statement.

Nokia said it expects to book a gain on the sale, including cumulative foreign exchange translation differences, worth around 1 billion euros.

The Finnish company is shedding the maps business to help it focus on integrating its 15.6 billion-euro purchase of Alcatel Lucent (ALUA.PA), a deal that will create the world’s second largest network equipment maker.

Nokia built its mapping and location business on the back of an $8.1 billion acquisition in 2008 of U.S.-based Navteq, a maker of geographic information systems used in the automotive industry. It was Nokia’s largest deal ever, prior to the planned Alcatel-Lucent merger.

HERE provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services. The company will continue to develop its position as a strong and independent provider of maps and location-based services

Intelligent mapping systems are the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to the car.

In the future, such mapping systems will have a role to play in collision detection and other features of self-driving cars.

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Nokia jumps into virtual reality market with 360-degree Ozo camera

The camera taps eight synchronized shutters and eight microphones to capture 360-degree video and spatial audio.

Nokia Technologies plans to return to the consumer market, focusing on virtual reality rather than the cell phones that made it famous.

The Finnish company — what was left of the former cell phone giant after Microsoft bought its handset division last year — on Tuesday night unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing 360-degree video and audio. Unveiled at an entertainment industry event in Los Angeles, the orb-shaped camera is designed for professional content creators rather than consumers.

“Ozo aims to advance the next wave of innovation in VR by putting powerful tools in the hands of professionals who will create amazing experiences for people around the world,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said in a statement. “We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other. With Ozo, we plan to be at the heart of this new world.”

With the announcement Nokia becomes the latest high-profile tech company to dabble in virtual reality, which immerses goggle-wearing users in three-dimensional worlds.

Once confined to realm of science-fiction movies like Walt Disney’s “Tron,” virtual reality has grown into a real-world industry worth an estimated $7 billion. At last month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo — the highest-profile video game conference of the year — 27 exhibitors showcased virtual-reality products, up from six last year, according to the expo’s organizer.

While the video game industry is expected to get an economic boost from virtual reality, the broader tech industry sees other applications for the nascent technology. In the past year, nearly every major tech company has announced or hinted at plans to take real steps into the emerging VR market. Facebook surprised the industry with its $2 billion buyout of VR headset maker Oculus in March 2014.Google unveiled its “Cardboard” VR headset for smartphones. Apple filed and was awarded a patent for VR technology.

The camera will record stereoscopic 3D video and spatial audio through eight synchronized global shutter sensors and eight integrated microphones, Nokia said. Recorded content can then be published to virtual-reality hardware such as commercially available headsets, the company said. Nokia did not reveal pricing for the new camera, which is expected to begin shipping in the fall.

Nokia isn’t alone in focusing on cameras as an entry point to the burgeoning market. In May, camera-maker GoPro announced plans to roll out a six-camera product later this year that is capable of capturing spherical content that can then be stitched together to create a 360-degree virtual reality environment.

Ozo represents a new tack for Nokia, once the world’s most dominant handset maker. But the Finland-based company fell behind when it failed to adapt swiftly to the touchscreen smartphone craze and soon found itself well behind Samsung and Apple. As Nokia tried to rebuild its business, customers increasingly turned elsewhere.

Nokia exited the handset business a year ago when Microsoft formally acquired Nokia’s phone division for $7.2 billion, taking the 150-year-old company out of the phone market for the first time in decades. Nokia Technologies — one of three divisions that was not included in the sale — refocused itself on its network equipment business — the gear powering our cellular and business networks — as well as itsHere mapping service.

Last week, Nokia received approval from the European Commission to acquire the French telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent. The $16.6 billion deal would combine two of the world’s largest network equipment manufacturers to better compete against market leaders Ericsson and Huawei.

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Nokia threatens London start-up over ‘HERE’

Nokia has threatened legal action against a small UK technology firm over its use of the word “HERE”.

Lowdownapp – a digital personal assistant – allows users to tell friends they have arrived at a location by pressing the “HERE” button.

A standalone app for checking in to locations, called HERE, has also been released by the firm.

Nokia said the name would confuse the general public into thinking it was part of Nokia’s own HERE range.

Nokia’s HERE is the Finnish firm’s brand name for apps and software relating to mapping and navigation.

The company said it had so far invested $12m (£8m) in promoting the HERE brand.

In a letter seen by the BBC, Nokia gave London-based Lowdownapp a deadline of 10 February 2015 to rebrand the “HERE” function of the apps.

“Our client has invested heavily in building and promoting the HERE brand since launch,” the letter from Nokia’s lawyers to Lowdown app read.

The firm said it had registered trademarks for the word when it related to computer software, such as apps.

‘David versus Goliath’

The letter added: “Your use of the HERE sign is likely to deceive members of the relevant public such that they will believe your business is connected with or part of our client’s business, when that is not the case.

“This amounts to a misrepresentation that will cause damage to our client’s goodwill in the UK and amounts to passing off.”

David Senior, chief executive of Lowdownapp, described the threat as a real-life David versus Goliath.

“It’s ludicrous – people say, ‘I’m here,’ to announce their arrival, which is why we have it as a service.

“As a small start-up trying to deliver value to users we don’t think a multi-billion dollar company will be affected by this.

“Life is hard enough without Goliaths squashing Davids – maybe they should focus on creating a better mapping service than Google or Apple than squishing a minuscule business.”

Mr Senior said he would probably remove the HERE standalone app from relevant app stores – but was taking further legal advice on whether to remove the “HERE” button from Lowdownapp.

A spokesman for Nokia could not be reached for further comment.

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Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8.1 handset includes ‘3D Touch’ features

Nokia’s upcoming 6-inch Lumia 1520 flagship handset hasn’t been released yet, but we’re already starting to hear early details on the company’s Windows Phone 8.1 plans.Twitter account @evleaks revealed today that Nokia is planning two handsets for Windows Phone 8.1: “Goldfinger” and “Moneypenny.” They’re just codenames for now, but The Verge understands Goldfinger is the flagship model out of the two.

Sources familiar with Nokia’s plans have revealed that Goldfinger will ship with some technology that Nokia has been developing for years now. Described internally as “3D Touch,” it essentially makes use of hardware sensors to detect interactions that are off-the-glass. Former head of Nokia design, Marko Ahtisaari, hinted at the experimental gestures in an interview with The Verge two years ago, calling them a “key area where we’ll continue to innovate.” Nokia started experimenting publicly with similar features in an update to its Glance screen software, which let Lumia owners wave at their handsets to see the time. We understand its first Windows Phone 8.1 device will take this a step further.

HAND GESTURES FOR YOUR WINDOWS PHONE

We’re told that owners will be able to interact with Goldfinger by making hand gestures above and to the side of the device. Gestures currently under consideration include scrolling and flipping to let Windows Phone 8.1 users navigate around a phone without touching the screen. Samsung has similar features on its Galaxy S4 handset, known as Air Gestures, to change music tracks, accept phone calls, and scroll through webpages.

Microsoft is currently readying its Windows Phone 8.1 update, and we understand the company is tentatively planning to detail parts of these new features at Mobile World Congress 2014. Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to include a notification center, improvements to multitasking, and a personal digital assistant codenamed Cortana.

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Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8.1 handset includes ‘3D Touch’ features

Nokia’s upcoming 6-inch Lumia 1520 flagship handset hasn’t been released yet, but we’re already starting to hear early details on the company’s Windows Phone 8.1 plans.Twitter account @evleaks revealed today that Nokia is planning two handsets for Windows Phone 8.1: “Goldfinger” and “Moneypenny.” They’re just codenames for now, but The Verge understands Goldfinger is the flagship model out of the two.

Sources familiar with Nokia’s plans have revealed that Goldfinger will ship with some technology that Nokia has been developing for years now. Described internally as “3D Touch,” it essentially makes use of hardware sensors to detect interactions that are off-the-glass. Former head of Nokia design, Marko Ahtisaari, hinted at the experimental gestures in an interview with The Verge two years ago, calling them a “key area where we’ll continue to innovate.” Nokia started experimenting publicly with similar features in an update to its Glance screen software, which let Lumia owners wave at their handsets to see the time. We understand its first Windows Phone 8.1 device will take this a step further.

HAND GESTURES FOR YOUR WINDOWS PHONE

We’re told that owners will be able to interact with Goldfinger by making hand gestures above and to the side of the device. Gestures currently under consideration include scrolling and flipping to let Windows Phone 8.1 users navigate around a phone without touching the screen. Samsung has similar features on its Galaxy S4 handset, known as Air Gestures, to change music tracks, accept phone calls, and scroll through webpages.

Microsoft is currently readying its Windows Phone 8.1 update, and we understand the company is tentatively planning to detail parts of these new features at Mobile World Congress 2014. Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to include a notification center, improvements to multitasking, and a personal digital assistant codenamed Cortana.

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Nokia patents foldable battery. Could be in your smartwatch someday

Nokia Foldable Battery Patent

Wearable devices are the next big thing in consumer electronics. We’re already seeing the beginning of the future with things like the Fitbit family of devices and Samsung’s recent “Galaxy Gear” smartwatch. Rumors of devices from both Microsoft and Nokia have picked up recently. Supposedly, we’ve even seen what is potentially an entry from Nokia in the smartwatch market. Now, a recent patent filed from Nokia adds more fuel to the fire for a future smartwatch.

This patent was filed in March and aims to solve a problem that will potentially arise with smartwatches. The patent focuses on creating foldable batteries, an idea that can definitely find room for implementation in wearables like smartwatches.

Nokia Foldable Battery Patent

Nokia is no stranger to pushing the boundary with electronics. This concept for batteries is no exception to that Nokia spirit. We’re looking at a handful of foldable cells, these cells can be folded to form an asymmetrical battery that can better utilize space than conventional batteries. You know, like in a smartwatch.

The applications for foldable batteries could easily expand beyond smartwatches. What other scenarios do you envision as being useful for such technology? Let us know below.  

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Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia phones in Q3

Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia phones in the last three months, a nearly 20 per cent increase driven by the success of the wallet-friendly Lumia 520.

Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia phones in the last three months, a 19 per cent increase over previous numbers driven in large part by the success of the wallet-friendly Lumia 520.

And Nokia appears to be finally making some headway in the US market. Although the company only shifted 1.4 million phones in North America this summer, that’s nearly four times as many as this time last year. 

Nokia revealed the numbers today in its Q3 results for the three months from July to September. Net sales for Q3 totalled 5.7 billion euros ($7.845 billion), as the total number of units sold, including both smart phones and feature phones, rose by 4 per cent to 55.8 million. Operating profit was 118 million euros ($162.4 million).

Nokia sold 7.4 million Lumia phones in the previous quarter, but still made a Q2 loss of 115 million euros ($150 million).

Over the whole of 2013 so far, from January to September, Nokia’s total sales fell 22 per cent.

It’s been a tumultuous few months for what was once the biggest phone manufacturer in the world. Nokia’s Windows Phone partner Microsoft is to cement its relationship with the ailing Finnish firm by buying Nokia’s device and services division for $7 billion — but Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been criticised by the Finnish government over his “quite outrageous” bonus.

The deal is expected to be finalised at a shareholder meeting on 19 November in Helsinki.

Nokia is forging ahead with new devices, launching its first tablet, the Lumia 2520, alongside theLumia 1520 and 1320 smart phones last week. CNET met Stephen Elop at the launch of the new phones, where he told us “our challenge is to get you to try (Windows Phone and Windows RT) in the first place.”

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Nokia Lumia 929 video leak reveals aluminum Windows Phone with a 5-inch 1080p display

Nokia is currently preparing to release its second aluminum Windows Phone. The Lumia 929 is designed to be a replacement for the Lumia 928 on Verizon. A new leaked video shows the device in black on the US carrier, complete with a 5-inch 1080p display and supported for the new three columns of Live Tiles. The Verge understands the device will launch with an aluminum frame with at least black and silver variants available initially.

The Lumia 929 also includes a 20-megapixel PureView camera that’s said to be nearly identical to the one found on Nokia’s 6-inch Lumia 1520 device. We understand that Verizon is currently completing carrier testing on the device, and it’s expected to debut shortly.

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