Last week was an exciting one, with
) purchase of
) handset business being the top story.
Is Microsoft Throwing Good Money After Bad?
It's hard to put Microsoft's several billion dollar
acquisition of Nokia's handset business in a nutshell, but I'll
give it a try.
First let's see what Microsoft gets out of the deal. The
positive is that the acquisition not only includes Nokia's
WP8-based phones, but also the increasingly popular Asha phones
that are basically high-class feature phones aspiring to be
smart. Microsoft also gets non-exclusive licensing rights to
8,500 design patents and 30,000 utility patents for up to 10
What's more, the Nokia brand name can't be used by Nokia on
any new phones that it might want to make until after Dec 31,
2015. Microsoft, on the other hand, can use the name on any
hardware products for the next three years and on existing
hardware products for 10 years.
And that's not all. Microsoft has also licensed Nokia's
mapping technology called Here for four years, which can be used
) Maps. Microsoft can do all this with roughly a tenth of its
off-shore cash, so it's one of the few companies that can afford
to take a gamble like this.
Microsoft's decision obviously hinges on its intention to go
after the devices market. The decision met with bad press, but is
not necessarily a bad move. Microsoft's PC business is melting
away, and if it can't find a viable mobile platform, it will be
Goodbye Windows - well almost. The consumer and enterprise
demarcation is fading with BYOD, and Microsoft needs leverage
Microsoft has acquired 36,000 Nokia employees who can be used
to further this objective. Its business solutions remain popular
at this point and this may be the last chance it has to use them
to garner support for its OS. Of course, there remains a
significant amount of work to be done, not the least of which is
In the near to medium term, Nokia can only be a drag on
Microsoft's results. And the longer term will be determined by
Ballmer's successor and his ability to deliver on the "devices
and services" strategy.
Intel Plugging Entry Points to the Data Center
) Atom chips have a new portfolio. So far they have been known
for spearheading Intel's efforts in the mobile segment. But with
the latest Silvermont architecture and 22nm manufacturing, they
now have the power and efficiency to handle the lightweight
workloads of microservers, cold storage platforms (Intel's Avoton
SoC) and entry level networking platforms (Intel's Rangeley
This is a relatively small segment of the market, but of
strategic importance, since success here could encourage mobile
) to get deeper into the server market which has been Intel's
stronghold. The segment can function on low computing power but
requires high energy efficiency, which makes it ideal for ARM
architecture. This is probably the reason that
Advanced Micro Devices
), which has for long relied on x-86 architecture has expressed a
desire to use ARM technology to target this segment.
Therefore, Intel is going all-out to protect its territory.
The company announced 13 models of its Atom SoC, custom-designed
for specific entry-level workloads such as dedicated hosting,
distributed memory caching, static web serving and content
delivery. The products are targeted at OEMs, telecom equipment
makers and cloud service providers.
Intel is also launching the Ethernet Switch FM5224 silicon,
which in combination with its WindRiver Open Network Software
suite increases the density and reduces the power consumption in
servers (basically SDN).
Currently, there are more than 50 designs based on the Atom
C2000 SoC product family for microservers, cold storage and
networking products and Intel says they will soon be available at
leading players like
Hewlett Packard Company
) and NEC.
Mayer Says It with a Logo
) finally launched its new logo last week after putting several
trials on display for the last month or so. Without going into
the technicalities involved in the logo-making as Mayer did on
, the effect is plain to see.
The new logo is cleaner, sleeker, smoother, more sophisticated
and more Marissa Mayer. And possibly, it's also what the new
Yahoo seeks to be -- more "cool" than "fun," with an element of
seriousness (until you look real close and see the concaves at
the end of the straight lines).
Mayer has shown good thinking on various counts. She retained
the purple color and the exclamation mark, as well as the
unevenness in letter size, which meant that the logo remained
recognizable and not shocking to users. She also ensured a month
of free marketing, drawing more eyes to the Yahoo name every day.
And finally, she started communicating at large through Tumblr,
which remains a highly-used and poorly-monetized asset that Yahoo
picked up recently for a little over a billion dollars.
Last 6 Months
) will be announcing 2 new iPhones this week and will almost
simultaneously announce the products at a Beijing event. This is
the first time in a while that Apple will be launching its
products in both markets at approximately the same time. Apple's
market share in China has slipped recently, as companies like
Samsung and Lenovo gained ground.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit,
which specializes in patent law, will hear arguments on whether
there should be different rules for standard essential patents
and will also determine the circumstances in which companies can
obtain court orders to block the use of patented technology.
Recently, Google's Motorola lost both patent infringement
cases against Microsoft, claiming that Microsoft decided to go
straight to court instead of negotiating in accordance with
normal procedure, and Microsoft claiming that Motorola was
discriminating against it with respect to its standard-essential
patents. Motorola intends to appeal.
Intel will host its Annual Developer Conference this week
where it intends to discuss the future of computing and the role
that wearable devices are likely to play.
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