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The Nokia phone business is to be relaunched via a $500M private startup with Android smartphones and tablets in addition to the feature phones for which manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired from Microsoft by a subsidiary of Foxconn
REDMOND, Wash. — May 18, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced it reached an agreement to sell the company’s entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and HMD Global, Oy for $350 million. As part of the deal, FIH Mobile Ltd. will also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnam — the company’s Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility. Upon close of this deal, approximately 4,500 employees will transfer to, or have the opportunity to join, FIH Mobile Ltd. or HMD Global, Oy, subject to compliance with local law.
Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.
As part of the deal, Microsoft will transfer substantially all of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements, subject to compliance with local law. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
For FY16 Q3:
- Surface revenue increased 61% [to $1.111] in constant currency driven by Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book
- Phone revenue declined 46% in constant currency
Now under Nokia Technologies (TECH) the relaunched Nokia phone and tablet business will also exploit such TECH innovations as the recent Nokia OZO: a better way to capture VR
Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets
Espoo, Finland – Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global license  to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years. Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.
HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.
Nokia-branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today, and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets. HMD’s new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.
As also announced today by FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group), the remainder of Microsoft’s feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired by FIH. HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH’s world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components.
Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD. Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation.
HMD would be led, once the Microsoft transaction closes, by Arto Nummela as CEO, who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business. HMD’s president on closing would be Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.
Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said:
“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name. Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets. Working with HMD and FIH will let us participate in one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world while staying true to our licensing business model.”
Arto Nummela, CEO-designate of HMD, said:
“We will be completely focused on creating a unified range of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, which we know will resonate with consumers. Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, which is why our business model is centered on the unique asset of the Nokia brand and our extensive experience in sales and marketing. We will work with world class providers in manufacturing and distribution to move quickly and deliver what customers want.”
Vincent Tong, Chairman of FIH, added:
“We are looking forward to fostering a strong and long-term collaboration with HMD global and Nokia. We are impressed by the experience and expertise of the HMD management team and are committed to supporting them with our manufacturing, technology and supply chain capabilities, to capture market opportunities together in the future.”
1 Excluding Japan
About Nokia Technologies
Nokia Technologies (TECH) is Nokia’s advanced technology and licensing business. Formed in 2014, TECH builds upon Nokia’s solid foundation of industry-leading licensing and technology R&D capabilities. By focusing on Digital Health, Digital Media, Brand Licensing, and Patent Licensing, TECH is expanding the human possibilities of the ever-evolving world of technology. In 2015, Nokia Technologies launched OZO, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) camera designed for professionals.
Nokia is a global leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Powered by the innovation of Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies, the company is at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.
With state-of-the-art software, hardware and services for any type of network, Nokia is uniquely positioned to help communication service providers, governments, and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.http://nokia.com
About HMD global
Registered and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, HMD is a new private venture founded to create a new generation of Nokia-branded mobile devices. HMD is run by a group of experienced industry leaders, including CEO Arto Nummela, previously of Nokia and currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business, and President Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.
We are proud to announce that the Nokia brand will be returning to the worldwide mobile phone and tablet market.
Every day our fans continue to ask for Nokia smartphones. In fact, in a recent survey, we found that Nokia smartphones are amongst the top five considered brands for purchase by smartphone buyers – and they aren’t even available yet.
So, under a new agreement, Nokia Technologies has granted HMD, a new company led by some of the world’s top mobile specialists, an exclusive global license to create a full range of Nokia-branded smartphones, tablets, and feature phones for the next decade.
The new smartphones and tablets will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands, Nokia, with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.
There is still much work for HMD to do, so you’ll need to wait a bit longer to see what the next wave of Nokia phones and tablets look like. One thing we can assure you is that they will exemplify what you have come to expect from all Nokia devices, including quality, design, and innovation.
A big thanks to you and all of the Nokia supporters around the world. You continue to remind us of the difference our devices have made in your lives. We can’t wait for you to meet the next generation.
Arto Nummela is currently the Vice President of Mobile Devices Business of Microsoft in Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa region.
Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Arto will become CEO of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.
As an experienced figure in the telecoms industry, Arto has a proven track record in commercial success, building long-term partnerships to enable global business innovation and growth. An intrinsic part of this process – is establishing and motivating strong teams around him – as well as being committed to continued personal growth.
Arto has deep roots in Finland, but has a genuinely global perspective built through experience. His insights into consumer business have been deepened by leading diverse teams from Europe, the Americas, India, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, China and Japan.
Having been an intrinsic part of the original Nokia team, Arto’s list of accomplishments include; open-distribution model development, strategic alliances, joint ventures and partnerships, market-based pricing strategies, global R&D management – specifically for high end smartphone devices, ramping up new global phone architecture work, as well as ramping up product portfolio for new cellular technology generation, alongside a very strong focus on employee loyalty and retention. Arto has led teams in strategic and tactical global product planning, developing and launching new products, as well as brand development and broader market expansion. From 2011 to 2013, Arto also served as a member of the board of directors for CommNexus, a California-based tech incubator, built for start-ups.
Since 2015, Arto has been driving the Microsoft Devices business in Greater Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with global leadership of the Feature Phones business. He joined Nokia in 1994, leading through Microsoft’s 2014 acquisition of the company.
Florian Seiche is a recognised name in the telecoms industry, having been one of the key figures behind the launch and subsequent growth of the HTC brand. He has since gone on to develop and drive the mobile divisions at Nokia and most recently at Microsoft, in the role of VP of Sales across Europe.
Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Florian will become President of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.
Well known for his lynchpin role as President of HTC EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), Florian not only established HTC’s EMEA operations in 2005, he went on to oversee the growth of HTC’s business and brand to become one of the most critically acclaimed phone names in the world.
His big brand global experience is far reaching. Prior to joining HTC, Florian was the Global Director of Devices for the Orange Group in London (2003-2005). Under his leadership, Orange successfully rolled out its ‘signature device’ program, which contributed considerably to increased phone usage and ARPU, while at the same time increasing customer loyalty by delivering a compelling user experience.
Florian began his career at Siemens, where he worked for more than ten years. Between January 2000 and February 2003, Florian served as Vice President and General Manager of Siemens Mobile Phones USA in San Diego, leading Siemens’ mobile phone entry into North America.
Having worked extensively across both sales and marketing, Florian boasts an intimate understanding of both consumer trends and demands, as well as the requirements of the key stakeholders in the telecoms supply chain.
Florian holds both Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Economics from the University of Cologne, Germany. He lives in Windsor, UK with his wife Michele and son Jan-Philipp.
My verdict: The 3 phase launch strategy is almost flawless, as well as the functionality of the product. So the remaining question is whether the execution will be as flawless or not?
July 29, 2015, BBC News: Microsoft boss Nadella on Windows 10
From this interview 2 things are very important to remember:
- Cortana is the near term means to generate excitement for the Windows 10.
- Then the Hololens is to be launched within a year to drive that excitement even further into the augmented and virtual reality scenario which is expected to generate $150 billion in combined annual revenue by 2020, according to Digi-Capital, a research and advising firm.
Finally in the end of that interview Nadella is mentioning another important point:
It is a 5 year journey. It’s a beginning. Even the smart phone journey with touch was a 7 year – 8 year journey. So this is how you should think about these fundamental changes.
With all the client markets out of their real growth period such a way of thinking is the only possible one. See the specific posts on the client categories, with additional remarks highlighted here from them:
- Aug 5, 2015: PC Market Trends is particularly drawing the attention to the fact that phones and tablets with detachable keyboards, i.e. 2-in-1 devices running either Windows or Android are remaining a competitive issue for the category.
- Aug 4, 2015: Tablet and smartphone market trends on the other hand is emphasizing that the key going forward for the Windows will be if the coming wave of 2-in-1 detachable tablets (expected to be on the market in Q4) is a hit with consumers or if they go the way of the netbook-style laptops. This will determine how much the current Q2 2015 9% market share (which was just 5% in Q2 2014) of Windows-branded tablets could increase with the new Windows 10.
Additional readings/information on Windows 10 Mobile:
- July 29, 2015: Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones – Microsoft – Global which has indicated that “The following Lumia smartphones will receive a free upgrade when available: Lumia 430, Lumia 435, Lumia 532, Lumia 535, Lumia 540, Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 735, Lumia 830, and Lumia 930. … In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update [Jan 7, 2015] installed.“
- Aug 4, 2015 8:03 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team, Re: “No new builds today … Jürgen Winter Sooo, maybe on Friday? And what build is currently in testing? 10240 or even newer?”: “It will be a few more days. We’re moving to a new branch for [Windows 10] Mobile and that takes a bit of prep. Newer than 10240.” Note that people on the Insider program currently using the 10166 version.
- Aug 4, 2015 8:20 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team: “10240 has a blocking bug for [Windows 10] Mobile, we need a newer build with the fix.“
Remark as of Aug 5, 2015: The Windows 10 launch caused below average rate of interest. One evidence is this same July 31 post. It had just 5 views so far and at least 3 of them were based on my Hungarian Facebook post. Even my “Embedded Android — a VIA Technologies …” post of July 28 had 12 views just in the first 3 days and none of them were generated from my Facebook page as I’ve not posted there about that.
July 29, 2015: Windows 10 UK Launch Party by Microsoft UK for a “launch atmosphere”
IMHO Microsoft’s irresistible message is:
The upgrade to Windows 10 is free within the first year, and once you’ve upgraded it remains free on your device for life!
So I did the upgrade for both my devices yesterday, and it went very smoothly. One 2GB “classic” Toshiba laptop with Win7 on it, and a 4GB Lenovo Flex 2 dual-mode laptop with Win8.1. The upgrade took about 3 hours on each, and now I am absolutely satisfied with the new Windows on them in all respects. Recommending the upgrade for everyone ASAP.
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “some amount of delay due to Windows 10 on the OEM side” in the Windows business, from Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (the 2 video inserts are mine), in order to understand Microsoft’s business strategy with the Windows 10 launch:
The way the Windows ecosystem works is there are phases to it … in some sense we’ve taken a very different approach with this Windows-as-a-service even when it comes to OEM relations and how they’re able to co-create the products with us. … there are three distinct phases:
- The first phase is what I will describe as the upgrade phase. That’s what starts in a week’s time, and that is a more retail execution and upgrade.
July 28, 2015: 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10: WINDOWS STORE (the other 9 you can find in the 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 playlist of the Windows YouTube channel)
July 28, 2015: How to customize the Start Menu after Upgrading to Windows 10 by Scott Hanselman from Microsoft
for more information see Scott’s Getting Started with Windows 10 post containing other very useful videos as well
- Then come the fall, you will see the devices from all the OEMs going into the holiday quarter.
- And then the enterprise upgrades; in fact, we have a release of enterprise features, which I mentioned in my script, which will ship in that timeframe. And I expect piloting to start and deployments to start in the second half of the fiscal year.
So that’s how I would think about the OEM as well as enterprise adoption. So my bullishness [in business sense] for Windows 10 is more in the second half of the fiscal year, and of course it will build. It will build starting in a week’s time in retail and in the upgrades, but I see this in three phases.
July 28, 2015: Microsoft Windows 10 Official Demonstration by Ger Lynch from Microsoft Ireland for a mix of a salespitch (in good sense) and a walkthrough:
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “the new strategy around the phone business” and “how … that business trending over a longer period of time” from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (for the phone-specific Win10 information read the Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones page by Microsoft and note the “In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update installed.” warning):
The big shift that we are making when it comes to phones is to not think about phones in isolation. That’s perhaps the biggest shift because I think about Windows 10 in its entirety, the Windows ecosystem in its entirety.
We clearly are going to have premium first-party portfolio, and you’ve seen some of the numbers, some of the progress we have made in Surface. I feel that we have a formula there that I would like to apply more broadly in terms of growing, just delivering innovation, growing our own economic return for it, stimulating demand, creating categories. All of that is what I want to do broadly. And it applies to phones, it applies to Surface hardware, it applies to Hololens, and that’s how I view it.
I believe our participation in the phone segment by itself with Windows phones and Lumia phones being there is important, and that’s why we picked the three areas where we have differentiation and we want to focus on it.
- We’re going to have great flagship phones for Windows 10. That’s actually a segment we don’t today have good devices, and we hope to change that with Windows 10.
- We have in fact good traction in the business segment. This is business customers who are actually buying phone devices, which is basically a radio with essentially a smartphone to be able to deploy their line-of-business applications. That’s where we have pretty unparalleled value, which is we have Visual Studio Online and some of the tools I talked about, so you can generate these apps at a low cost of ownership, manage them, secure them, and deploy them to our phone endpoints, and then of course, management and security. So that’s a place where we want to continue to focus.
- And in the value smartphones, that’s the place where I want us to be much more efficient. We clearly have some value to add there because of the uniqueness of Office and Skype and our services. But at the same time, I think we want to be smart about how many of these phones do we want to generate, how many, which price points we want to participate. That’s where you will see the most significant operational changes from how we operated last year to the coming year.
May 4, 2015: Satya Nadella’s Keynote from Ignite 2015 on the Windows Community YouTube channel (see also the Microsoft announces new solutions
to empower IT professionals press release for more information) in order to understand the place of Windows 10 in the overall strategic setup of the company
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s “third bold ambition to create more personal computing experiences with Windows and our devices” as the company’s equally important strategic ambition (in addition to “reinventing productivity in business processes” and “building the intelligent cloud platform with Azure“) from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript
I am thrilled we are just days away from the start of Windows 10. It’s the first step towards our goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices in the fiscal year 2018. Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows. Based on feedback from more than 5 million people who have been using Windows 10, we believe people will love the familiarity of Windows 10 and the innovation. It’s safe, secure, and always up to date. Windows 10 is more personal and more productive with Cortana, Office, universal apps, and Continuum. And Windows 10 will deliver innovative new experiences like Inking on Microsoft Edge and gaming across Xbox and PCs, and also opens up entirely new device categories such as Hololens.
Windows 10 will deliver significant value to enterprise customers as well. Windows 10 provides advanced security capabilities with additional features for hardware-based security, mobile work and data protection. It also provides a single device management platform across all devices, from phones to laptops to Internet of Things devices. And Windows 10 helps enterprises stay up to date with Windows Update for Business and Windows Store for Business.
While the PC ecosystem has been under pressure recently, I do believe that Windows 10 will broaden our economic opportunity and return Windows to growth.
- First, we have an OEM ecosystem that is creating exciting new hardware designs for Windows 10. In fact, our OEM partners have over 2,000 distinct devices or configurations already in testing for Windows 10 upgrades as well as hundreds of new hardware designs. We are delighted that the first of these exciting new devices will start to be available on Windows 10 launch day, and by this holiday we will be selling the widest range of Windows hardware ever available.
- Second, we will generate new growth through gross margin on our own differentiated first-party premium device portfolio. We will also significantly reduce our losses on the phone by operating more effectively and efficiently with a more focused portfolio.
- Third, we will grow monetization opportunities across the commercial and consumer space. In the enterprise, customers will continue to value our unparalleled management security, app dev, and servicing capability. And for consumers, Windows 10 creates monetization opportunities with store, search, and gaming. We are confident that these are the right levers to revitalize Windows and restore growth. The progress we made this quarter and the forward-looking guidance that Amy will share shows the opportunity for renewed growth is real.
In hardware, both Surface and Xbox had an incredible Q4.
- We more than doubled Surface revenue to nearly $900 million this quarter, capping off a year in which it delivered more than $3.6 billion in revenue. Both consumers and enterprise customers love this device. Surface is clearly a product where we have gotten the formula right, earned fans, and can apply this formula to other parts of the hardware portfolio.
- Gaming is an important scenario for Windows 10, and our success with Xbox this quarter gives us a strong starting position heading into launch. Xbox Live users grew 22% this quarter and logged nearly 3.5 billion hours of gameplay. Our growing fan base is excited for the best games lineup in our history. All of this comes together with Windows 10, when fans can connect with each other, stream all of their Xbox One games to Windows 10, and experience the best virtual reality platform given our partnership with Oculus Rift and Valve.
- In search, Bing will now power both differentiated experiences on Windows 10 such as Cortana as well as search and search advertising across the AOL portfolio sites in addition to the partnership we already have with Yahoo!, Amazon, and Apple. With advertising revenue growth of 21% year over year, Bing will transition to profitability in the coming fiscal year.
July 28, 2015: Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Microsoft news release for the summary of what has been launched worldwide overall
REDMOND, Wash. — July 28, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. announced that Windows 10 will become available Wednesday as a free upgrade1 or with new PCs and tablets. Windows 10 includes innovations such as Cortana,2 an Xbox app and Microsoft Edge for a familiar, yet more personal and productive, experience. The most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates. Windows 10 offers one experience that will become available on the broadest range of devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing. The new Windows Store and Windows Software Development Kit also become available Wednesday, opening the door to new and innovative app experiences on Windows 10.
People around the world will celebrate the launch of Windows 10 Wednesday at fan celebrations in 13 countries and via a new yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft encourages people to share how they plan to #UpgradeYourWorld and to vote for a global nonprofit to receive a cash donation by simply mentioning the nonprofit in a post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using the hashtags #UpgradeYourWorld and #vote. More information on Upgrade Your World can be found at http://www.windows.com/upgradeyourworld.
“A new era of Windows starts today. From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique — built with feedback from over 5 million fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, at Microsoft. “Windows 10 delivers on our more personal computing vision, with a natural, mobile and trusted experience. Along with our partners, we’re excited to deliver the best Windows ever, which will empower people and organizations around the world to do great things.”
Windows 10: Best Windows ever
Windows 10 is fast and familiar — with the return of the Start menu and Live Tiles for instant, streaming updates of what matters most. Windows 10 is the most secure Windows Microsoft has ever released, with enhancements to Windows Defender and SmartScreen to help safeguard against viruses, malware and phishing and innovations such as Windows Hello, which offers a fast, secured, password-free way to log in.3 Keeping up-to-date is also simple, as free updates will help people stay current with the latest features and security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.
Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:
- Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
- New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
- The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
- Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
- Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
- A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
- The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.
Windows 10: Best platform for businesses
Feedback from millions of IT pros has shaped Windows 10, the most extensively tested version of Windows ever. Ready for corporate deployments, Windows 10 will help companies protect against modern cyberattacks, deliver experiences their employees will love and enable continuous innovation with a platform that keeps companies up-to-date with the latest technology. Businesses will be able to control the frequency of their updates and select the features and functionality that are right for each group of their employees.
Windows 10 includes built-in, enterprise-grade security, so customers can replace passwords with more secure options, protect corporate data and corporate identities, and run only the software they trust. New management and deployment tools simplify device management, help lower costs, and enable companies to power their business with the enterprise strength of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Top apps available on Windows 10
The new Windows Store will open Wednesday and begin accepting new apps for Windows 10. The Windows Store offers one-stop shopping for popular free and paid apps, games, movies, TV shows and the latest music, which can work across all Windows 10 devices. The new Windows Store is the only store where people can use Cortana to control apps with their voice5 and get real-time notifications on their app tiles. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help keep devices safer. In addition to existing Windows 8.1 apps such as Netflix, Flipboard, Mint.com, “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and The Weather Channel, the Windows Store provides a constant stream of new and updated Universal Windows Apps and games, including Twitter, “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta,” Hulu, iHeartRadio, USA TODAY, “Candy Crush Saga” and others including WeChat and QQ, which will launch soon.6
Easy upgrade, devices now available
Upgrading to Windows 10 is easy for customers running a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC or tablet. Starting Wednesday, people who reserved their upgrade to Windows 10 will be notified in waves when their upgrade is ready to be installed. For business customers, Windows 10 is available to start deploying within their work environments, and starting Aug. 1, organizations that have volume licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.
Retail partners are ready to help people upgrade to Windows 10 with our largest tech bench program ever, including more than 100,000 trained retailers and tens of thousands of stores around the world. Free upgrade programs will be available Wednesday, with Windows 10 software becoming broadly available in retail stores around the world between mid-August and September. Devices running Windows 10 will be available in some retail stores on Wednesday, with many, many more devices to become available in the weeks and months ahead.
Microsoft has also worked closely with retailers to introduce programs to help people easily upgrade, including Best Buy, Bic Camera, Croma, Currys/PC World, Darty, Elkjøp, Fnac, Jarrir, Incredible Connection, Media Markt, Staples, Yamada Denki, Yodobashi and many more leading retailers from around the world.
Information on upgrading, new and compatible devices, and apps for Windows can be found at http://www.windows.com. Additional information and media assets are available at http://blogs.windows.com/launch.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
1 Limited time free upgrade offer for qualified and genuine Windows 7 and 8/8.1 devices. Hardware and software requirements apply; see http://www.windows.com/windows10upgrade for details.
2 Cortana available in select markets at launch; experience may vary by region and device.
3 Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.
4 An Office 365 subscription is required to edit Office apps on Windows 10 PCs or larger tablets.
5 Hardware dependent.
6 Some apps and content sold separately. App and content availability and experience may vary by region and device.
Mobile devices from ex-Nokia joined with Microsoft’s own: Stephen Elop on approach and strategy under Microsoft Devices Group
More information: Satya Nadella on “Digital Work and Life Experiences” supported by “Cloud OS” and “Device OS and Hardware” platforms–all from Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 23, 2014]
Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 1: consistency and superiority accross the whole Windows family extended now to TVs and IoT devices as well—$0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners in sub 9” phone and tablet space
OR Microsoft is going against Android and Apple with a vastly updated Windows/Windows Phone 8.1 for $0 royalty fee on smartphones and tablets with screens under 9”, integrated Windows desktop experience (upcoming in the next update), capability of creating Universal Windows apps accross the whole Windows family (demonstrated with the Modern version of the Office upcoming later), an open-source cross-platform WinJS framework, the first true digital assistant for phones (Cortana), showing that for TVs, as well as planning for IoT devices.
Update: the expectation was somewhat higher:
although was met when looking back to Nadella’s March 27 Office for iPad announcement:
Microsoft showcases latest updates to Windows, opportunities for developers April 02, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO — April 2, 2014 — Wednesday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp.’s developer conference, the company announced several advances to Windows including Windows Phone 8.1, the availability of Windows 8.1 Update, a converged developer platform, and a $0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners developing smartphones and tablets with screens under nine inches.
Microsoft detailed new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a common platform across devices, a single toolset, a common infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and a clear commitment to interoperability. The announcements highlight Microsoft’s continued commitment to its partners and the developer community by maximizing opportunities across the broadest range of devices and services.
Also as a part of the conference, Nokia announced three new Lumia smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1, including the flagship Lumia 930, the affordable Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.
“The news today shines a light on continued Windows innovation in ways that benefit our customers, partners and developers alike. Our commitment is to make Windows more personal and accessible to individuals, and to ensure a vibrant ecosystem through closer collaboration with our industry partners,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, OS Group at Microsoft.
… <more is inserted in the below keynote report>
The essence of the Day 1 keynote:
Microsoft Build 2014 keynote in seven minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
The Full Day 1 Keynote record on Channel 9: 2 hours, 59 minutes, 13 seconds or a YouTube copy of that from MicrosoftEurope:
Terry Myerson: Executive Vice President, Operating Sy stems group
- Making your creativity come to life
- Using public translation APIs to translate everything said here
Joe Belfiore (~ 1 hour): Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript
- Running PC, tablet and phone within the Operating Systems group
Windows Phone is the world’s most personal phone
- 2 additional partners: Micromax and Prestigio (working with Qualcomm and Longcheer)
- Windows Phone 8.1: ==> Made more personal
– new Action Center
– new lock screen APIs
– option to choose a high density tile layout with custom background as well … even on a small screen
Cortana Microsoft Build 2014 8.1 Update Personalized Digital Assistant named Cortana Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore unveils 2 new phones with hardware partners Micromax and Prestigio using Windows Phone 8.1
Windows Phone gets even more personal
Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1 and introduced Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant with a persona inspired by a much-loved “Halo” character. Powered by Bing, Cortana gets to know you and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you.
Other new features that make Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones even more personal include Action Center, which complements Live Tiles by showing new activities and notifications at a glance; and Senses, a suite of features that takes the work out of managing data use, storage space and battery life. Windows Phone 8.1 also makes it easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as simplified device enrollment, a built-in mobile device management client, S/MIME for encrypted mail and VPN support.
Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to current Windows Phone 8 users over the coming months. It will also come pre-installed on new phones starting this month. Cortana will launch shortly in the U.S. as a beta, in the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014, and in other countries in 2015. Registered developers can update their phones to Windows Phone 8.1 as part of the developer program later this month.
– working long for one a half year on (video): Cortana (launching as a Beta, in order to learn with linguistic & search things) – a digital assistance for Windows Phone; powered by Bing (knows the whole Internet); learns about you …; also replaces the search function for you …; can be extended via 3d party apps; giving Cortana a notebook in order to put the user in contact with Cortana; about the people matter most to you; about the places you use to frequent; has permission to read all e-mail on the phone in order to prompt pro-actively the owner on …; good with the calendar too; … example queries via voice …; works with typing as well; reminders; only Cortana can do: people reminders …; new version of Skype; starting apps for you via Cortana (like Hulu, even yommunicating with like for Facebook);
==> The first true digital assistant for phones
==> The Ultimate Assistant: Halo’s Cortana Coming to Windows Phone
- Consumers can choose for their device:
– VPN, S/MIME support, MDM capabilities, … many, many more hosted capabilities
==> The right choice for business
==> Building the Mobile Workplace with Windows and Windows Phone
- Apps from the Store: … store experience more engaged for you …, new version of Calendar … with other views
- Improved basic performance: … WiFi Sense to connect to automatically when sensed … even securely share with friends automatically (no need to tell the WiFi password); … from ordinary phone call to a video call, even for RCS apps as well; Word Flow [Keyboard] typing … world’s fastest typing on the smartphone (the previous record was Samsung Galaxy …); focus on settings; IE11 with a bunch of new features
- to consumers rolling out in next few months
- on very new phones late April
Windows 8.1 Update
- boot straight to the desktop
- going automatically to enterprise mode
- mouse and keyboard experience of Windows, e.g. enhanced taskbar to work with Windows Store apps: no different swithching mode for Modern apps and desktop apps; PC settings tile on Start Screen; right click context menu …; power user … on Start Screen; pre-pinning the Windows Store to the taskbar to make it mouse and kleyboard friendly; new apps pin to the Start Screen or the taskbar …
- starting April 8
- [The update also enables Microsoft’s hardware partners to deliver low-cost machines that require only 1 GB of RAM and 16GB HDD. On Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options.]
Windows 8.1 Update: easier to use, runs great on more devices
Continuing its commitment to deliver improvements through regular updates, Microsoft also announced Windows 8.1 Update, which includes improvements that provide more of what people love about Windows across more devices: quicker access to what’s important, a more familiar and consistent experience across touch and non-touch devices, and more ways to discover great apps.
Key features of the update include user interface improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to access the taskbar from any screen and pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar alongside desktop apps and favorite websites, and performance and compatibility enhancements to Internet Explorer 11. These improvements provide faster, more direct access to the things customers care most about, so activities such as powering down, searching the Web and switching between apps are easier than ever. Navigating with the mouse and keyboard will feel more familiar and intuitive because there’s more consistency with where controls are and how they work. Specific to the enterprise, Windows 8.1 Update offers improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, extends mobile device management functionality, and eases deployment with increased predictability for new operating systems and line-of-business apps by leveraging familiar management tools.
Current Windows 8.1 customers will receive the Windows 8.1 Update for free through Windows Update, while Windows 8 customers will receive the update free through the Windows Store, beginning April 8, 2014.*
David Treadwell: Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript
- about things for developers
Microsoft’s Universal Windows App Allows Devs To Create For Any Platform [Pureinfotech, published on April 3, 2014]Microsoft announces universal Windows apps, which simply means that apps created for the Windows platform will now run on all platforms including PCs, tablets, phones, and Xbox One.
Universal Windows apps:
==> Windows Runtime comes to phones
- Update for Visual Studio 2013 for universal Windows apps: demo
==> Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC: Windows Phone 8.1 Tools, Shared Projects and Universal Windows Apps
- Streamline the Windows Store experience across …
- Modern (touch-first) version of Office: demo … also showing the same binary working on the phone
- hundreds of new features added for Windows Phone 8.1 based on developers’ and customers’ requests
Windows developer platform: easily build innovative apps, reach more people
Microsoft also announced enhancements in the way developers can build applications that target the full range of Windows devices using Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate. Among other new capabilities, with the introduction of universal projects, developers are able to create apps that can be easily optimized to take full advantage of Windows devices. Developers of all types can draw upon their existing skills to deliver shared experiences for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update. Universal projects allow developers to use approximately 90 percent of the same code, a single packaging system, and a common user interface to target apps for phones, tablets and PCs.
To improve the developer experience on Windows, Microsoft announced updates to Windows Store to improve app discoverability and monetization, as well as easier shopping for end users with improved search, more personal recommendations and better merchandising. In addition, later this week, Microsoft will release the next version of Windows App Studio, a Web-based tool for non-developers that enables the creation of universal Windows apps in a single project.
To help developers build innovative apps for Windows using a natural user interface, Microsoft detailed plans for Kinect for Windows v2, coming this summer, with a new sensor and SDK that will enable developers to create Windows Store apps, with the Kinect sensor, for the first time. The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor offers more precision, responsiveness and intuitive capabilities. Developers and partner companies, such as Reflexion Health and Freak’n Genius, are already doing great things through the Kinect for Windows v2 developer preview program.
- DEMO of the above
Windows enabling cross-platform apps:
– announcing: making WinJS cross-platform
– open-source via GitHub
==> MS Open Tech Open Sources WinJS, Part of the Windows App Platform
- DEMO My
- Now about the TV … no better television than Xbox
- going to enable Universal Windows apps running on Xbox
|My insert here: Satya Nadella email to employees on tuning our organization [Microsoft, March 31, 2014]
Today marks the start of another big week for Microsoft as we gear up for the Build conference in San Francisco. We continue to push on the momentum from last week’s news about how we will thrive and grow in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, as shown by the great Office apps for iOS, rich new APIs for developers and our new Enterprise Mobility Suite.
In advance of Build, I want to highlight three announcements about how we’re continuing to evolve and tune our organization for maximum focus and impact.…
Next, I have asked Phil Spencer to take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team. Phil will report to Terry Myerson, allowing us to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices. In this new job, Phil will lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, and Microsoft Studios. Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones. Phil will continue his close partnership with Yusuf Mehdi, who leads business strategy and marketing for Xbox, George Peckham, who heads up third-party partnerships and Mike Angiulo, who will continue leading Xbox hardware. Over the years, Phil’s team at Microsoft Studios has helped build a community of more than 80 million Xbox owners and 48 million Xbox Live members through blockbuster game franchises such as “Halo,” “Gears of War,” “Kinect Sports,” “Fable,” “Forza Motorsport” and many others. He’s helped drive the development of brand-new entertainment offerings like the partnership with the NFL and the formation of Xbox Entertainment Studios [Nancy Tellem]. I love the way the Xbox team is focused on great games and gaming experiences (go, “Titanfall”!), connects with its fans, pushes the boundary of entertainment and has embraced the power of the cloud in such interesting and impactful ways. Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.
- bringing Kinect to PC ==> Kinect 2.0 for Windows with greatly improved SDK, not just for games
- non-gaming Kinect apps: video
- Kinect: this is the future
==> Windows Store app development is coming to Kinect for Windows
- Graphics: on Xbox One phenomenal ==> Xbox graphics platform to make available for everyone ==> bringing into DirectX 12
Internet of Things (IoT):
- Windows ported to ARM
- Now Intel Quark (i.e. x86 for IoT)
- Windows for IoT will be available for $0
- Universal Windows apps to run in a window
- New Start Menu: live tiles combined
- what is shown here is just for start to improve the Windows desktop
- (upcoming in the next update of Windows)
Making Windows devices more affordable
Microsoft is evolving its Windows business model to enable partners to offer lower-cost devices in the highly competitive smartphone, tablet and PC categories. Microsoft will offer to hardware partners $0 Windows with services including a one-year subscription to Office 365.
With Windows 8.1 Update hardware partners can also more easily build lower-cost machines — such as devices with 1 GB of RAM and a 16GB hard disk drive — without sacrificing the experience customers expect. The combination of new efficiencies and innovations from Microsoft hardware partners means customers will be able to choose from a wider range of Windows devices, particularly budget-friendly notebooks and tablets.
Additional information from Terry Myerson’s Thoughts on Day 1 of Build 2014 [Blogging Windows, April 2, 2014] post:
I wanted to use this post to share some thoughts from what I said in the keynote:
1. We believe in our ecosystem of device manufacturers and devs (developers, developers, developers!), and that their creativity has incredible potential to change the world – and we want to help them do that.
2. We believe in the Internet of Things, and that as the devices get smaller, the cloud gets bigger.
3. We believe in natural user interfaces, and the power of things like voice and gesture to transform how users will interact with their devices and apps in the coming years.
Today we announced that the Windows 8.1 Update will support Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options, along with 1GB RAM and 16 GB storage configurations which are popular on entry level tablets and notebooks. We’re also working with Intel on enablement programs that make it easy for their partners to onboard new Windows devices quickly, much as we are with Qualcomm.
We showed Windows running on an Intel Quark chip. It’s a processor the size of a pencil eraser that is running a full version of Windows, enabling developers to use all their Windows knowledge and skills to create new and exciting devices and experiences. When we are ready to ship Windows for the Internet of Things, we will make that available for zero dollars to encourage creation of these new devices and experiences in this new and exciting category.
Finally, I previewed some work we are doing for the next iteration of Windows, which builds on the journey we began with Windows 8 just over a year ago as well as the releases we’ve done since then. In particular, I showed some early thinking on how the user experience in Windows will evolve in a way that will help developers’ apps make their way to users across devices and form factors.
We set out to do this is a thoughtful way – one where we could enable more productivity for customers working in desktop mode, while building smart bridges to the new modern user experience and ensuring customers can get access to all your great apps in the Windows Store no matter where they are in the experience, or which device type they’re on.
As I said today, these are glimpses of our roadmap, with a particular focus on the parts of our roadmap that are most relevant to our developer partners. We’ll continue to invest in these and many other areas to build a great platform and experiences for developers, customers and partners and you’ll hear more from us when this work is closer to being ready to ship out to the world.
Stephen Elop (still Nokia, but soon Microsoft):
==> Full transcript
- Lumia 520 the best selling smartphone in the world: will have WP 8.1
- WP 8.1 for all other existing Lumias
- The next-generation of Lumia devices:
– Lumia 930: flagship for WP 8.1, with unprecendented images and video, Creative Studio app grealy updated, new/updated Living Images app, fantastic cinema video experiences (4 microphones included), all MS services well integrated, 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC, from June starting in Europe, with more more than 100 operators
– Lumia 630: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 3G dual-SIM as well (different tiles for each SIM), designed for hyper-social people, Cortana is also available, SensoreCore introduced for health and fitness apps … Lumia services (HERE maps, etc.), 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia, $159 single SIM
– Lumia 635: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 4G LTE, …, 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia
- Two new SDKs:
– Imaging SDK 1.2
– new SensoreCore SDK to create motion based apps
Satya Nadella: CEO
==> Full transcript
- developer roots of Microsoft
- Q&A via the DPE collection made before the conference
- Why build for Windows if one develops for Android? –> innovating in every dimension … you will see a progress in a rapid pace … pretty unique pieces, e.g. bring end-users, IT profs and devs together … create a developer opportunity accross the Windows family expanding … we are betting on this platform ourselves
- Plans for easy development accross platforms? –> David Treadwell part … the only platform with APIs on every platform amd native, managed and the web … working w/ PhoneGap, Unity e.t.c. …
- What MS is doing to compete against Apple and Google in the tablet space? –> tablets accross all prices ranges … innovate with Surface to make the most productive table … what is the role of a tablet in the device family … consistency of user experience
- Approach to UX design now and in 5 years with Microsoft? –> we have fantastic people for UX … see inspiration for other platforms … Cortana … modern apps to mouse and … Bill Buxton about natural UI … the broadest range of input modes today
- How to design for the cloud, and how MS is supporting that? –> Scott Guthrie tomorrow … data-tier built for scale-out and other consideration long taken into account, Service Bus etc. … lot of focus on tools, samples that truely take advantage of the cloud
- Different APIs released for different products? –> Windows Universal apps is the first step in the direction of bring great consistency for developers … consistency of semantics for these APIs
- What’s the plan with latency as we are moving and more apps to the cloud? –> build robustness … data center build-up throughout the world … great effort to enable apps to run in a true distributed way
- How MS can better support start-ups? –> BizSpark program with 70K start-ups … seed fundings and accellerators throughout the world
- The vision for Microsoft going forward? –> Drive in this world of mobile first, cloud first … interactions of differnt kinds getting digitized … create platforms .. build the best experiences
- Plans to becoma a Master CEO? –> … 2514 … watch Scott Guthrie keynote tomorrow
Cortana (yes!) and Many, Many Other Great Features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 [by Joe Belfiore on Windows Phone Blog, April 2, 2014]
Whew, what a day! What a week! I’ve just gotten off the stage at Build in front of 5,000 of our beloved developers talking about the future of the Windows platform. And now I’m here to tell YOU about the stuff we’ve been working on to delight all our Windows Phone users and fans!
During my time on stage, I went over what’s next for Windows PCs, tablets, and phones with two major updates: Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 Update. Both releases bring a lot of new features for consumers and businesses alike, built from the feedback we’ve heard from customers along the way. We’ve also continued to invest in our partners, enabling lots of great new phones, tablets, laptops and PCs for you to choose from in the months ahead.
Windows 8.1 Update: Focused on Mouse/Keyboard
For PCs and tablets, we’ve made improvements in Windows 8.1 that will noticeably improve the experience when you’re using a PC without a touch-screen. We’ve made commands easier to find with mouse/keyboard, we’ve made switching between apps—especially Windows Store apps—much easier with mouse/keyboard… and we’ve made it easier to find new apps to install.
To learn more about the update to Windows 8.1 for your PC and tablets, head on over to the Windows Experience Blog and read Brandon’s post. What I really want to cover in detail here is…
Windows Phone 8.1: More Personal, Smarter, and even a “World Record Holder”!
If you’re a Windows Phone user, you already know that we set out to create an experience that puts you and the things you care about most front and center. As a result, we believe Windows Phone is the world’s most personal smartphone… and with Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve added a BUNCH of new features that make your smartphone even more a reflection of your personality and desires.
Want to experience it all in one giant demo? Then watch this marathon 15-minute video. Else… read on!The world’s most personal smartphone just got more personal. Watch the innovations of Windows Phone 8.1 come alive.
Start screen: Make the Live Tiles Yours
We want your Windows Phone Start screen to genuinely reflect your personality and the people and things you care about—so we are making it even more customizable!
In 2013, we added a third column on devices for 5-inch screen or larger devices, like the Lumia 1520, to enable more stuff to show up on the screen. People really liked this so we are enabling this on all screen sizes in Windows Phone 8.1. Pin away! We’ve also added the ability to customize your Start background with a favorite picture or one of the options we’ve provided, which will make many of the tiles on your Start screen become clear so you can see the background you selected as you scroll up and down.
Lock screen: Lots of new “themes” to choose from!
The Lock screen is the very first thing you – or your friends—see when you grab your phone, and in Windows Phone 8.1 we’re providing a new app that lets you set a wide range of interesting “Lock Screen Themes” which show all kinds of different visuals and animations. Make it yours…
Cortana: Your PERSONAL Digital Assistant
Of everything we’re announcing today, I’m most excited to introduce you to the world’s first truly personal digital assistant, now on Windows Phone. We were inspired by the popular character from Halo who served as a brilliant AI and a deeply personal digital assistant to Master Chief… so we called her Cortana.
Powered by Bing, Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you. Cortana will launch shortly here in the U.S. first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.
In Windows Phone 8.1, you get to Cortana by either a Live Tile on your Start screen or by pressing the search button on your device. This will take you to Cortana Home. To interact with Cortana, you can either speak or type—if you’re in a meeting, just type and Cortana won’t talk out loud. But if you ask her a spoken question, she’ll answer verbally and even carry on a natural conversation.
When you interact with Cortana for the VERY first time, she will start learning things about you… like your name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests.
Once she’s learned a bit about you, Cortana’s home populates with information that is curated just for you. You’ll see things like flight information she’s found from your email confirmations, weather, the latest news, and even traffic information once she learns your commute routine, such as from work and home.
To develop Cortana, we talked to a number of real personal assistants. One technique these assistants spoke about was keeping track of the interests and preferences of their bosses in a notebook. We thought… what a great idea! So all the stuff Cortana curates for you is stored in Cortana’s Notebook. This information enables Cortana to be proactive and helpful throughout the day. For example, she’ll let me know if my upcoming flight back to Seattle is on time and, if I choose, will even pop-up to recommend what time I should leave for the airport based on traffic. Cortana can also manage your phone when you don’t want to be disturbed by setting quiet hours where she will silence any notifications, in-coming calls, and texts. Cortana understands the “inner circle” of people-closest-to-you, and she can let them break through at any time during quiet hours. And Cortana is the only digital assistant that lets you setup people reminders. You can have Cortana remind you that your buddy owes you $20 the next time you talk to him. And ALL of these interests and preferences are under YOUR CONTROL via Cortana’s notebook.
What’s more, because Cortana is powered by Bing, some of the interests in Cortana’s Notebook will light up on Bing.comwhen you sign in on the web. Bing.com will give you access to the things Cortana tracks for you, like your weather, stocks, news, and flights.
We’ve also designed Cortana to be able to interact with 3rd Party Appsinstalled on your phone. You can ask Cortana to help you make a video call in Skype, watch a TV show in Hulu Plus, look up a news feed on Facebook or send a tweet using the Twitter app – all of which we demoed during this morning’s keynote.
And finally, Cortana isn’t just a dry computer returning search results. Just as she has in the game Halo, Windows Phone’s Cortana has a bit of personality. But you’ll have to talk to her yourself to see what I mean by that. Or… I bet you’ll be able to find some videos on the web pretty soon to see what I mean.
We think you’re going to really love having Cortana as your personal assistant!
A Whole Slew of New Delighters
Action Center: Live Tiles are a great way to “glance and go,” and now we’ve added Action Center to enable you to see notifications from ANY app – pinned or not—and to give you a customizable way to quickly access the settings you care about most, like Wi-Fi, Flight Mode, Bluetooth and Rotation Lock.
Word Flow Keyboard: The keyboard in Windows Phone is smart enough to learn your writing style and even knows the names of people in your contacts for faster typing. Best of all, our new Word Flow Keyboard lets you glide your fingers over the keys to type INCREDIBLY quickly… a kid was able to BREAK THE OFFICIAL WORLD RECORD previously held by the Swype keyboard on a Samsung Galaxy S4 using Word Flow by 8 seconds!
Skype:The new Skype app for Windows Phone 8.1 brings the best of Skype on a smartphone. It’s integrated with the Phone dialer, so if you’re on a call you can quickly and easily “upgrade” your ordinary phone call to a Skype video call at the tap of a button! And… the new Skype app is designed to work seamlessly with Cortana so you can use Cortana to setup your calls within Skype.
Calendar:The new Calendar has been redesigned to add a new week view which lots of people have been asking for and it has many nice touches—like panning right to get to the next day or week or month! What’s more, it looks a lot like Outlook on your Windows PC… e.g., the weather is integrated at the top – just like in Outlook.
Music, Video, Podcasts: We’ve made a ton of improvements to these experiences, which are now split out as separate apps and all of which can be updated via the Store. In Music, you can edit your playlists and manage your cloud collection really easily and effectively. Video makes it possible to buy or rent videos from Xbox Music, and Podcasts now lets you subscribe to any RSS feed AND provides a Bing-powered podcast search for every country where Windows Phone is available. Oh… and we’ve improved the phone volume control by including separate sliders for your ringer/notifications and for your apps and media. Just the way you asked for it!
People Hub, Email and Accounts: The People Hub has higher-fidelity feeds for your social network content (large photos!) and it connects directly to 3rd-party social networking apps so that you can have easy access to all the full functionality of the 3rd party apps once they are installed. Email now supports S/MIME secure email, and we’ve broadened our support for different account types, now including iCloud.
Photos & Camera: The Photos experience now jumps directly to your most recent photos and shows as collections automatically organized, in a view grouped by date and location. Online photo albums are now supported via app-extensibility, so 3rd parties can plug in their services. In the Camera, we’ve updated the UI and added “burst mode” photography that lets you capture exactly the perfect moment—just like on Windows 8.1.
Data Sense, Wi-Fi Sense, Storage Sense, and Battery Saver:We’ve added a number of features in Windows Phone 8.1 that are designed to help you get the most out of your data allowance, battery life and storage.
Data Sense lets you track how much data usage you use in a given month and will give you a breakdown of usage by app so you can see which app is using the most of your data. As you near your data limit, Data Sense will more aggressively offload data to Wi-Fi and limit cellular usage… and in 8.1 there’s a new “high savings” mode that cranks up the compression of images as you browse the web so you can browse even farther using less data than WP8.
Wi-Fi Sense will automatically connect you to free public hotspots it finds to help you save cellular data. And, if you’d like, you can opt-in to automatically and securely enable your friends and contacts to auto-connect to your home Wi-Fi, so they can use the internet connection at your house without hassling you for the password and typing it in manually. If you turn off Wi-Fi in Wi-Fi Sense, you can have Cortana automatically turn it back on when you reach one of your favorite places as identified in Cortana.
We’re introducing Storage Sense to help you get the most out of the memory and storage on your phone. It will help you manage content you have on an SD memory card if your device supports those. You can also move content – like apps, music, photos – between the storage built in to your device and an SD memory card.
And Battery Saver gives you a clear breakdown of how apps are using your battery so you can make more informed usage decisions. With “automatic mode” enabled, it can dramatically extend your battery life.
Windows and Windows Phone Together
Your Microsoft Accountallows Windows and Windows Phone to work together in amazing ways. Windows Phone 8.1 furthers the integration between phone and PC. If you change your theme color, that change will sync across all your Windows devices. If you buy an in-app purchase in some of the newer apps written for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, the purchase works on your phone AND your PC. And other settings like your home Wi-Fi password will also sync.
Ever wanted to project your phone screen onto a PC, TV set or projector? We’ve added support for that as well—connect your Windows Phone to a compatible PC using a USB cable and you can run an application on the PC to show the phone screen. Some of the forthcoming new phones will also support wireless Miracast display to compatible TVs and other devices.
And finally with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone, you will be able to see all the open tabs you have on all your Windows devices and all your Favorites too. Plus the new Internet Explorer gives you InPrivate browsing, password caching, and a super-handy reading mode.
Great for Business Users and IT Managers
Windows has long been the choice for the enterprise and professionals. Windows Phone fits easily and seamlessly into a corporate ecosystem making it easier to work when you are on the go. Last year, PC Magazine’s readers selected Nokia Lumia/Windows Phones as the Business Choice Award for smartphonesby scoring them the highest in end-user satisfaction.
With Windows Phone 8.1, we’re making it even easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as customizable MDM enrollment, support for loads more MDM policies, LOB application & certificate management, S/MIME and VPN support. Stay tuned for a detailed blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that covers all the key features for businesses.
Sounds Great! When Can I Get It? And on which phones?
Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users and will come pre-installed on new phones, including the Lumia 630 and 635 and Lumia 930announced by Nokia today, in the coming months. If you want to try out Windows Phone 8.1 and you are a registered developer, you can update your phone as part of the Developer Preview Program in the first part of April.
We are very proud of the progress we are making with Windows Phone. Industry analyst IDC proclaimed Windows Phone the fastest growing smartphone platform in 2013, and we think the future is even brighter. At Mobile World Congress, we announced our commitment to growing the number of device partners making Windows Phones, and were proud to welcome nine new partners to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Today we announced two more partners – Prestigio in Europe and Micromax in India – to further ensure that individuals around the world will have access to the amazing experience that only Windows Phone delivers consistently across all price points.
We know we have lots more to do – for developers, for business customers, and for consumers. Today’s announcements at Build were all about taking the next steps – making it easier than ever to build great devices and write great apps for Windows, and enabling a new generation of cool experiences for customers that show the power of designing around people, delivering truly personal computing, and helping us all to get more out of the technology in our lives.
Tags: Windows phone, Build 2014, Word Flow Keyboard, Battery Saver, Start screen, Email, camera roll, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox Video,Enterprise, Announcement, inprivate, Action Center, Photos, Windows 8.1, Business, Devices, VPN, Cortana, Platform, skype, Xbox Music,Lock Screen, Windows 8.1 Update, podcasts, People Hub, calendar, Microsoft Accounbt, Windows, Live Tiles, Internet Explorer 11, Nokia, Wi-Fi Sense, Data Sense, Storage Sense
Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience [ by Brandon LeBlanc on Windows Experience Blog, April 2, 2014]
As Joe mentioned here, today we’re announcing two important updates to the Windows platform: Windows Phone 8.1 andWindows 8.1 Update. With these updates, we continue to refine and improve Windows based on feedback from customers to deliver ongoing value to all their Windows devices. Joe’s post goes into detail on all the awesomeness that’s in Windows Phone 8.1(Cortana is rad – trust me!) but also gives some great context around our new engineering culture in the Operating Systems Group now that we’re in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. It also underscores how we are moving more quickly to improve the Windows experience for customers. In this post, I wanted to share a little bit more about the update for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
With the current generation of Windows, we made a pretty big bet on touch and mobility. Along with building on top of the strong foundation in Windows 7, we also introduced a brand new approach to the Windows user experience that brought touch to the forefront. Since the original introduction of Window 8 in 2012, we have been continuously refining the experience, and we are making steady progress. More than 40 percent of Windows PCs at big box retailers, like Windows Stores Only at Best Buy, this past holiday season were touch-enabled – up from only 4 percent a year ago. As Joe recently said at Mobile World Congress, customer satisfaction for a device running Windows 8 with touch is actually higher than it was for a PC running Windows 7 without touch. We believe deeply in the notion that delivering a compelling personal and modern experience across all the devices that matter in your life should not mean sacrificing familiarity. Windows 8 and 8.1 were first steps, and we continue to make refinements based on customer and partner feedback.
Last fall, less than a year after we shipped Windows 8, we released Windows 8.1– bringing a large set of customer-driven improvements including the return of the Start button, tutorials, more personalization options, the ability to boot to desktop, improvements to multi-tasking, and more. Today marks the next step as we release a new update for your Windows experience.
The Windows 8.1 Update delivers a collection of refinements designed to give people a more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs. It also brings improvements for business customers, really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices.See what’s new with Windows 8.1 in the latest update, including easier mouse and keyboard functions, a new taskbar, and Bing’s improved Smart Search!
Easier access to your favorite apps and key controls:
On the Start screen, on select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture. You can now more quickly shut down your PC if you need to and do a search right from the Start screen.
If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. And on your taskbar, you can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites. You can now pin any app you want to the taskbar so you can open or switch between apps right from the desktop. I’ve got some of my favorite apps like Xbox Music, Skype, Facebook, Flipboard, and Mint pinned to my taskbar. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you’re using a mouse; you can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen. Just click on any of the apps pinned to your taskbar to open or switch to them.
More familiar mouse and keyboard options:
We’ve made it so your mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. And as I mentioned above, when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar comes up.
On the Start screen, if you right-click on an app tile, you will get a context menu next to the app tile that shows you what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar, change the tile size or even uninstall the app. Right-clicking on an app tile on the Start screen works just like right-clicking on something on the desktop.
Simpler way to find new apps:
After installing the update, you’ll find the Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default so you can easily discover new apps (yes, you can unpin it if you don’t want it there).
And after installing new apps, you’ll notice a message at the lower-left corner of the Start screen that points you to the Apps view so you can see what you recently just installed.
Seamless browsing on all devices:
With today’s update, Internet Explorer 11 adapts your browsing experience by detecting your Windows device and input type – whether an 8-inch touch tablet in portrait mode or a 24-inch desktop with mouse and keyboard. The web is still front-and-center but new design enhancements make your browsing experience feel like it was made just for your device – like the number of tabs on-screen, the size of the fonts and menus. You can also now control when the browser remains on-screen or hides away for full-screen browsing. Check out 22tracksto see these updates in action.
Improvements for business customers: We are introducing several key improvements for businesses such as Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) and extended Mobile Device Management (MDM). EMIE enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 so companies can run existing web-based apps seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. And with extended MDM, we are introducing additional policy settings that can be managed with whatever MDM solution an enterprise chooses including whitelisting or blacklisting Windows Store apps and websites. Look for a blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that discusses these in greater detail and a post on the Springboard Series Blogon deployment guidance for the Windows 8.1 Update.
New low cost devices:With the Windows 8.1 Update, we have enabled our hardware partners to build lower cost devices for Windows such as devices with only 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage that provide customers with the experience they expect from a Windows device without sacrificing performance.
We have made the Windows 8.1 Update available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th. For the majority of folks, they will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well.
NOTE: The Windows 8.1 Update will be KB2919355 for those of you interested.
We’re really excited to get this update out to everyone! Moving forward, we’ll continue to deliver improvements through regular updates like this one to Windows, allowing us to respond more quickly to customer feedback as your needs change.
Tags: Windows 8, Keyboard, Start screen, Windows Store, Windows 8.1, search, Apps, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows, Update, Pinning,Taskbar, Mouse
Extending platform commonality through universal Windows apps [by Kevin Gallo on Building Apps for Windows, April 2, 2014]
Today during our BUILD conference in San Francisco we unveiled the latest Windows software for phones, tablets, and PCs. Windows Phone 8.1 further establishes Windows Phone as the world’s most personal smartphone, with an even more engaging Start screen, the fastest keyboard on the market, thanks to Word Flow, and of course Cortana – the only personal digital assistant built around you. We also shared Windows 8.1 Update features such as UI improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar, and Internet Explorer compatibility enhancements. These OS features, and a new wave of devices that consumers will love, open up new opportunities for developers.
With this release of the Windows developer platform we set out to accomplish three major goals: 1) Reach customers across phones, tablets, and PCs; 2) Deliver innovation that supports developer investments; 3) Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable.
Reaching customers across phones, tablets, and PCs
Windows Phone 8 brought the same core set of operating system components used by Windows 8 to the modern UI of Windows Phone. Today we’re taking an even bigger step with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update by empowering developers to create universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime.
Since universal Windows apps run on the same Windows runtime, developers have a common way of building and architecting apps for phones, tablets and PCs; from how they handle suspend and resume and do background processing, to the way they manage in-app security.
To help developers create universal Windows apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve announced the release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC. In addition to enhanced productivity and collaboration features, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC includes Shared Projects that allow developers to create an app that is easily tailored to render a contextually appropriate experience across Windows phones, tablets and PCs. Get the tools now!
Innovation that supports developer investments
Windows now also offers an expansive set of common APIs for everything from displaying notification toasts to accessing the file system and device capabilities. With Windows Phone 8.1, we are adding a wide array of new features including support for Bluetooth LE to connect to devices, Action Center extensibility to more effectively connect with users, triggers to ensure battery-friendly multitasking, VPN so end users can connect to their workplace, and many more.
Even Cortana delivers developer extensibility. Cortana brings a significant evolution of the speech technology developed by Windows and Bing, which first appeared in Windows Phone 8. In Windows Phone 8.1 we expose new enhancements to the Speech API that developers can use to integrate their apps with the Cortana family of services. Developers can now leverage speech recognition and voice commands to denote a series of actions triggered by heuristically derived scenarios that are surfaced through the Cortana speech recognition service. Fewer steps and more types of natural verbal exchanges open more apps. All of this is delivered through a simple API so developers who use Windows Phone 8 speech features today can plug into Cortana with little additional effort.
Developers are interacting with tablets and Windows computers in new ways as well. Kinect for Windows v2 will be released this summer. Soon developers can start building Kinect apps for Windows Store and publish or commercially deploy Kinect apps and solutions.
We’re also improving the way people find and use apps, as well as increasing monetization options and providing a more consistent Store experience across devices and markets. Developers can choose to link apps among phones, tablets and PCs so when a user downloads an app on one device they can install it on all of their Windows devices, increasing usage and engagement. Windows 8.1 Update brings the Store icon and pinned apps to the taskbar on the desktop. Developers are also getting more ways to market and monetize apps, such as common price tiers that bring the popular $0.99 and $1.29 price point to PCs, and updated advertising SDKs that support more rich media standards for better fill rates.
Also, by popular demand, we’ll soon be piloting a program through which developers can directly respond to app reviews to address potential confusion or other issues that may be hurting their ratings. These are just a few of the new Windows Store features being detailed this week during BUILD. Todd Brix will share much more detail about what’s new in Windows Store later today.
Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable
We’ve also been working for developers who may not already be on the Windows platform by supporting a mix of languages, runtimes, frameworks, and protocols that run across devices. Middleware partners like Unity have helped developers bring thousands of titles to the Windows Store. In a newly released beta version, Unity is delivering support for Windows Phone 8.1, including universal Windows apps.
Microsoft Open Technologies also works with various open source communities to contribute code to popular C++ frameworks and optimize them for Windows devices. For example, Windows Store supports Cocos2D-X, openFrameworks, OpenCV, Cinder, and Ogre3D apps. Box2D and Bullet also have joined the Windows Store. jQuery now fully supports Windows Runtime, so web developers can build Windows 8 apps reusing their existing code and skills. Developers who use HTML5 to build cross-platform apps for iOS and Android with tools like Apache Cordova will find it easy to port their apps to Windows.
In fact, we’re taking a much more pragmatic approach to the web in general. We know that HTML is a critical cross-platform technology. Windows Phone 8.1 brings the same powerful hardware-accelerated IE11 HTML engine in Windows 8.1 to the phone. We’ve made great strides in extending IE to developers by focusing on open standards. Now we want to focus even more on interoperability. We already support WebGL and other technologies, such as media streaming extensions for adaptive streaming scenarios.
Where we go from here
We’re enabling universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime today, and we know we have more work to do, including expanding the range of devices running universal Windows apps so developers can reach more customers in more places, from Xbox One and the Internet of Things scenarios, to millions more desktop Windows users. We also continue to strive to make the app development, submission, and management process faster and easier. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see additional updates to the Windows platform – including tools and Store – all designed to deliver even better experiences and enable greater opportunity for our developer community.
End of the Nokia “magic” hurting European and Asian consumers while mobile carriers are uncertain about the future under the Microsoft brand
… Microsoft should act significantly faster to clarify the situtation, especially in the critical feature phone replacement market where the only real growth opportunities remain. Otherwise it could loose the mobile market even before starting the battle. Such conclusions are also strengthening my recent Nokia should introduce an Android forked smartphone for the $75-120 range in order to enhance its Asha Software Platform strategy and 2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to succeed with its devices and services strategy conclusions posted here on January 17.
In addition, there are extremely worrying signs on the horizon as per Jan 27, 2014:
– MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2
Just How Much Brand Damage Is Microsoft Doing To Nokia? [by Tero Kuittinen* on Forbes, Jan 23, 2014]
Analysts were widely expecting Nokia to sell 10 M smartphones in 4Q 2013. The company ended selling 8.2 M units, down from 8.8 M in the previous quarter. It’s a massive miss considering the strong sequential volume growth Nokia had delivered during the spring and autumn periods.
Nokia had real smartphone volume traction in the autumn and it was expected to continue – yet after the September announcement of Microsoft acquisition, device sales actually started to decline. For Europeans, the explanation is obvious: consumer backlash as Microsoft association started tarnishing the Nokia brand. Yet for Microsoft executives, this may come as a complete shock.
From the West Coast perspective, Nokia has been a fading phone brand for twelve years. The deep emotional connection many European and Asian consumers have with the Nokia brand is not obvious for American tech executives. And this is why many transcontinental mergers fail: executives have real trouble gauging brand essence across continents. Nokia used to inspire Apple-like loyalty in consumers as recently as around 2005-2007. A residue of that affection buoyed its Lumia sales drive in first three quarters of 2013.
The scale of that backlash is hard to gauge – but 4Q 2013 seems like a genuinely ominous sign for the future. Nokia was expected to deliver 11-13% sequential smartphone volume growth. It delivered -7% decline – an abrupt reversal that blindsided both Wall Street and industry analysts. Something in the European and Asian attitudes towards the Microsoft purchase of Nokia has eluded American tech experts.
* His description of himself:
I have followed the mobile handset market since late Nineties. I spent eight years doing sell-side equity research on Wall Street, starting out at Alliance Capital. I have expanded from handset industry to mobile app market over the past three years. Now back to mobile telecom industry – mobile diagnostics, mobile trend research, mobile expense management. I regularly talk to handset distribution, OS development and app industry pros in Europe, Asia, Latin America and USA. I pay particular attention to tracking phone and app sales trends in Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK.
Lumia sales slump sabotages Microsoft’s strategy before it starts [Computerworld, Jan 23, 2014] in a rearranged way
But analysts aren’t buying the idea that Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition poisoned consumers’ minds …
… Instead, the experts pinned the blame on Nokia first and foremost, and secondly on the all-too-natural distraction caused by the Microsoft acquisition. …
Carolina Milanesi of Kantar Worldwide Panel:
There may have been some backlash in buying Lumia, but for the most part consumers don’t care about these things.
It’s like Nokia said, ‘It’s not our problem anymore.’ The numbers are the evidence that with the acquisition looming, Nokia essentially washed its hands of the business, and probably reduced its promotional efforts and lowered carrier incentives.
There’s still an opportunity for Microsoft, but it needs to work with the carriers and look for those users who have low-end Android phones, who have not invested in the ecosystem.
Those are the people Microsoft-Nokia should be going after. But they need to get devices on the market.
Tuong Nguyen, principal analyst at Gartner:
The wariness would come more from the vendor [i.e. mobile carriers]partnership side rather than consumers.
The challenge is two parts for Microsoft now.
First, the feature phone business is scaling down as they ramp up the Lumia line, but that’s not ramping up as fast as the feature phone is ramping down. And as the industry as a whole has seen less true innovation, the fourth quarter isn’t a blow-out quarter like it once was. The market’s hitting the point, in developed countries anyway, where it’s a replacement market now.
It is critical that when [Microsoft] lands the deal, they go out and show something and say something. Microsoft cannot take six months to do that. It would kill them.
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy:
Microsoft does have a distribution problem. When only two out of 100 phones are Windows Phone, it’s very hard to drive meaningful share, it’s hard to get developers excited, and creates a vicious circle.
The top of everyone’s mind in the channel and among developers is, ‘What’s next, Microsoft? How are you going to drive volume?’ It needs a very early disclosure of what it wants to be in mobile, and must move as quickly as possible to do that.
I don’t think Build is early enough, but I do think that’s where they’ll give some disclosure.
Microsoft will want to take advantage of the friendly environment at Build, where developers who are arguably pro-Microsoft may be able to influence those who are on the fence.
Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones
Details about Samsung’s strengths you can find inside the Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post of mine.
My findings supporting the above title:
- 205 million Android smartphones were delivered in Q3’13, representing 15.2% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 67.3% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- Meanwhile the number of Apple iPhones shipped increased only to 33.8 million, growing by 8.3% sequentially (Q/Q), but still representing a 25.65% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- The shipment of “proper” smartphones from Nokia (S60/Symbian and Lumia/Windows Phone) increased to 8.8 million units, representing 18.9% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 39.7% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- Meanwhile the shipment of “de facto” smartphones from Nokia (S60/Symbian, Lumia/Windows Phone and Asha Full Touch in S40 Series) increased to 14.7 million units, representing 25.6% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 14.8% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y). It is also important that the decline of Asha Full Touch after its peak of 9.3 million units sold in Q4’12 has been reversed with 5.9 million units shipped, representing a sizable 37.2% growth sequentially (Q/Q).
- The new (in Q3’13) Asha 501 became the most popular smartphone on the Indian market in the $60-80 price range (as per Flipkart, see above), successfully beating off the best competitive offerings from Samsung and the two leading local brands, Micromax and Karbonn. This is another positive sign of successfull revival of the Asha Touch platform started with Asha 501 (via the Asha Software Platform 1.0) as described in the New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] and New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9 – July 5, 2013] posts of mine. Everything is well represented by comparing the “micro reports” included into the bottom left corner of the overall chart a quarter ago and now:
- As one currently could see this Nokia (the devices part of it soon becoming the part of Microsoft*) could realise its goal of selling “100 million of the new generation Asha smartphones over the coming years, beginning with the Nokia Asha 501”. The Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 introduced in October 22 could already deliver a huge jump in shipments of “de facto smartphones” under Asha brand, helping to defend further and even improve Nokia’s market position against the sub $100 Android smartphones in Q4’13. Note also that Asha 500 was announced for $69 list price (before taxes or subsidies) which means that—depending on “race to the bottom” competition—could easily mean a street price of $60+ on the Indian market.
* See also the previous posts of mine:
– Unique Nokia assets (from factories to global device distribution & sales, and the Asha sub $100 smartphone platform etc.) will now empower the One Microsoft devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3 – Oct 23, 2013]
– Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3 – Oct 23, 2013]
– Microsoft Nokia Transaction Conference Call with slides from Microsoft Strategic Rationale inserted-ebook – 3-Sept-2013 edited by Sándor Nacsa from those two sources into an ebook format PDF
– Leading edge Nokia phablets for both entertainment and productivity: Lumia 1320 targeting the masses at $339, and Lumia 1520 the imaging conscious business users and individuals at $749 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 26, 2013]
- The Asha Touch revival was also able to stop the decline of the overall Nokia “mobile phones” category (Nokia S30, S40, Asha and Asha Full Touch phones) exactly at 55.8 million units, the same number as for the Q1’13.
- In addition there are now the Leading edge Nokia phablets for both entertainment and productivity: Lumia 1320 targeting the masses at $339, and Lumia 1520 the imaging conscious business users and individuals at $749 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 26, 2016].
- With that Nokia established a strong niche market position on both the $130+ market (starting with Lumia 520 sold at that price in India, also the most popular one on Flipkart for the the $80-160 price range of devices) and the sub $80 market against the onslaught of Android devices. The rest will depend now only on Microsoft.
Than for the lead smartphone market, i.e. Mainland China I will include here:
- China market: Smartphone sales top 93 million units in 3Q13, says Analysys [Digitimes, Nov 12, 2013]
There were 102.66 million handsets sold in the China market during the third quarter of 2013, growing 13.6% on quarter and 54.5% on year, of which 93.08 million units were smartphones, increasing 20.7% on quarter and 89.3% on year, according to China-based consulting company Analysys International.
While for the worldwide market:
- China-based smartphone vendors set to rise in 2013 rankings, says IC Insights [Digitimes, Nov 13, 2013]
Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad have taken advantage of the surging low-end smartphone market. According to IC Insights, the four major China-based handset companies are forecast to ship 168 million smartphones in 2013 and together hold a 17% share of the worldwide smartphone market.
Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad shipped a combined 98 million smartphones in 2012, a more than 300% surge from the 29 million units shipped in 2011, IC Insights disclosed. It should be noted that the China-based suppliers of smartphones are primarily serving the China and Asia-Pacific marketplace, and offer low-end models that typically sell for less than US$200.
Low-end smartphones are expected to represent just under one-third (310 million) of the total 975 million smartphones shipped in 2013. IC Insights forecast that by 2017, low-end smartphone shipments will represent 46% of the total smartphone market with China and the Asia-Pacific region to remain the primary markets for these low-end models.
Samsung Electronics and Apple are set to continue dominating the total smartphone market in 2013. The two vendors are forecast to ship 457 million units and together hold a 47% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights said. In 2012, Samsung and Apple shipped 354 million smartphones and took a combined 50% share of the total smartphone market.
Nokia was third-largest supplier of smartphones behind Samsung and Apple in 2011, but has seen its share of the smartphone market fall. Nokia’s smartphone shipments are forecast to decline by another 4% and grab an only 3% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights indicated.
Other smartphone producers that have fallen on hard times include RIM and HTC. While each of these companies had about a 10% share of the smartphone market in 2011, IC Insights estimated they will have only about 2% shares of the 2013 smartphone market.
Gartner Says Smartphone Sales Accounted for 55 Percent of Overall Mobile Phone Sales in Third Quarter of 2013 [press release, Nov 14, 2013]
– Western Europe Grew for the First Time this Year
– Lenovo Became the No. 3 Worldwide Smartphone Vendor for the First Time
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Sales of smartphones accounted for 55 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013, and reached their highest share to date.
Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012. Asia/Pacific led the growth in both markets – the smartphone segment with 77.3 percent increase and the mobile phone segment with 11.9 percent growth. The other regions to show an increase in the overall mobile phone market were Western Europe, which returned to growth for the first time this year, and the Americas.
“Sales of feature phones continued to decline and the decrease was more pronounced in markets where the average selling price (ASP) for feature phones was much closer to the ASP affordable smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In markets such as China and Latin America, demand for feature phones fell significantly as users rushed to replace their old models with smartphones.”
Gartner analysts said global mobile phone sales are on pace to reach 1.81 billion units in 2013, a 3.4 percent increase from 2012. “We will see several new tablets enter the market for the holiday season, and we expect consumers in mature markets will favor the purchase of smaller-sized tablets over the replacement of their older smartphones” said Mr. Gupta.
While Samsung’s share was flat in the third quarter of 2013, Samsung increased its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market (see Table 1). The launch of the Samsung Note 3 helped reaffirm Samsung as the clear leader in the large display smartphone market, which it pioneered.
Lenovo’s sales of smartphones grew to 12.9 million units, up 84.5 percent year-on-year. It constantly raised share in the Chinese smartphone market.
Apple’s smartphone sales reached 30.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 23.2 percent from a year ago. “While the arrival of the new iPhones 5s and 5c had a positive impact on overall sales, such impact could have been greater had they not started shipping late in the quarter. While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets,” said Mr. Gupta.
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market (see Table 2), Android surpassed 80 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013, which helped extend its leading position. “However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft which grew 123 percent. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem,” said Mr. Gupta. Forty-one per cent of all Android sales were in mainland China, compared to 34 percent a year ago. Samsung is the only non-Chinese vendor in the top 10 Android players ranking in China. Whitebox Yulong [Coolpad] is the third largest Android vendor in China with a 9.7 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013. Xiaomi represented 4.3 percent of Android sales in the third quarter of 2013, up from 1.4 percent a year ago.
Mobile Phone Vendor Perspective
Samsung: Samsung extended its lead in the overall mobile phone market, as its market share totaled 25.7 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (see Table 3). “While Samsung has started to address its user experience, better design is another area where Samsung needs to focus,” said Mr. Gupta. “Samsung’s recent joint venture with carbon fiber company SGL Group could bring improvements in this area in future products.”
Nokia: Nokia did better than anticipated in the third quarter of 2013, reaching 63 million mobile phones, thanks to sales of both Lumia and Asha series devices. Increased smartphone sales supported by an expanded Lumia portfolio, helped Nokia move up to the No. 8 spot in the global smartphone market. But regional and Chinese Android device manufacturers continued to beat market demand, taking larger share and creating a tough competitive environment for Lumia devices.
Apple: Gartner believes the price difference between the iPhone 5c and 5s is not enough in mature markets, where prices are skewed by operator subsidies, to drive users away from the top of the line model. In emerging markets, the iPhone 4S will continue to be the volume driver at the low end as the lack of subsidy in most markets leaves the iPhone 5c too highly priced to help drive further penetration.
Lenovo: Lenovo moved to the No. 7 spot in the global mobile phone market, with sales reaching approximately 13 million units in the third quarter of 2013. “Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market, which represents more than 95 per cent of its overall mobile phone sales. This could limit its growth after 2014, when the Chinese market is expected to decelerate,” said Mr. Gupta.