By macleans.ca - Saturday, December 8, 2012 - 0 Comments
Nokia files a lawsuit and Yahoo moves away from RIM
With its much-anticipated new smartphones still weeks from release, Research In Motion found itself under attack yet again last week. Rival Nokia filed a lawsuit against the BlackBerry maker after a Swedish arbitration panel ruled RIM was in breach of a key wireless patent. At the same time, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was widely quoted dissing RIM’s phones: “We literally are moving the company from BlackBerrys to smartphones,” said Mayer in an interview with Fortune.
Yet despite the bad press, things are suddenly looking up for the Waterloo, Ont.-based firm. Goldman Sachs recently raised its rating on RIM from “neutral” to “buy.” Market confidence has been quietly rising. National Bank and Jefferies have also boosted their outlooks. Over the past two months, RIM shares have risen 75 per cent, to over $11.
Investors don’t expect RIM to shoot back to the top of the mobile industry when BlackBerry 10 arrives. But it has fallen so far in recent years that even a modest turnaround seems a safe bet that could yield results. “We now assess a 30 per cent chance of success for BB10 given positive early reviews, broad-based carrier support, attractive features and interest by carriers and consumers in broadening the field beyond Android/iOS,” said Goldman Sachs in its report.
By Peter Svensson - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
Nokia revealed its first smartphones to run the next version of Windows, a big…
Nokia revealed its first smartphones to run the next version of Windows, a big step for a company that has bet its future on an alliance with Microsoft.
Nokia’s new flagship phone is the Lumia 920, which runs Windows Phone 8. The lenses on its camera shift to compensate for shaky hands, resulting in sharper images in low light and smoother video capture, Nokia said. It can also be charged without being plugged in; the user just places it on a wireless charging pod.
Nokia also unveiled a cheaper, mid-range phone, the Lumia 820. It doesn’t have the special camera lenses, but it sports exchangeable backs so you can switch colours.
The Finnish company revealed the new phones in New York. The American market is a trendsetter, but Nokia has been nearly absent from it in the last few years. One of CEO Stephen Elop’s goals is to recapture the attention of U.S. shoppers, many of whom buy iPhones or Android devices instead.
By Peter Nowak - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM - 0 Comments
As numerous analysts have pointed out, this week could make or break Nokia as it shows off its new Windows Phone 8 devices at a press event in New York. “Make” is actually a strong word – “stave off death” is probably more appropriate.
The storied Finnish cellphone maker, in partnership with Microsoft, is benefiting from some good timing in light of the big setback handed to Samsung by a court two weeks ago. With the court siding with Apple in that epic patent dispute, Samsung and other phone manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system are likely to be slowed down in the near term, at least in the all-important U.S. market.
That gives Nokia, which essentially put all of its eggs into Microsoft’s basket last year, a window of opportunity. Wireless carriers are now especially inclined to push Windows phones, to prevent Apple and perhaps even Android from gaining too much power over them.
So far though, Nokia and Microsoft have failed to spark the imaginations of the buying public. Windows phones, despite promising a very different experience from iPhone and Android devices, have captured less than 4 per cent of the global market, according to Strategy Analytics. That’s compared to 17 and 68 per cent respectively for Apple and Google. (BlackBerry, by the way, has plummeted to just 6 per cent, according to IDC.)
By Peter Nowak - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM - 0 Comments
There was a ton of commentary over the weekend on what happens after Apple’s $1 billion win over Samsung, with the likeliest scenario being that the latter appeals. But should the verdict stand, the biggest effect will be on Android phones overall. Apple’s victory could send a temporary chill through the market, with all manufacturers – not just Samsung – giving second thoughts to their Android devices. After all, no one is going to risk releasing a device that has a good chance of getting them sued. Google may have to work some fundamental redesigns into its operating system to avoid this sort of thing happening again, while manufacturers themselves will have to make sure their actual designs are clearly distinct from Apple products.
The more likely scenario is that Android phone makers will have to pay Apple a license fee on the patents. Earlier this year, the company reportedly offered these manufacturers a deal that would have seen them paybetween $5 and $15 on each device. Given the big court win, such a fee could be expected to come in on the high end now. Some critics have said this is going to result in more expensive phones. While that’s true, adding $15 or so to the cost is not going to break anybody’s bank.
Of course, that’s assuming Apple is actually willing to license its technology. If Steve Jobs, who told his biographer in no uncertain terms that he wanted to destroy Android, were still alive, it would be a safe bet that no licensing deals would be offered. This is a company that has resisted licensing its Macintosh operating system for much of its existence, after all. If Jobs’ successors take the same approach, it could indeed be back to the drawing board for Google and its Android partners.
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 10:57 AM - 0 Comments
Instead it’s been a reminder of how brutally hard it is to engineer a turnaround
It was one year ago that Finland’s Nokia Oyj joined forces with Microsoft Corp. in a last-ditch effort to secure a foothold in the booming smartphone industry. With its once-dominant global market share in free fall and losses piling up, Nokia faced a grim future as customers increasingly took a pass on its high-end devices and opted instead for Apple Inc.’s iPhone or those running Google’s Android software—a situation not unlike the one beleaguered BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. faces today. Just prior to revealing a bold plan to replace Nokia’s new smartphone operating system with Microsoft’s, CEO Stephen Elop wrote a memo to employees that compared Nokia’s precarious situation to a man standing on a burning oil platform in the North Sea. There were two options, said Elop: stay the course or jump into the unknown. Nokia jumped.
It didn’t take long for the massive shift in strategy to show signs of promise. Prior to going on sale in North America this month, there was an unmistakable buzz around Nokia’s new Lumia 900 touchscreen, which runs the new Windows Phone OS and can operate on fourth-generation, or LTE, wireless networks. The phone won “best of” accolades at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and was touted from a marketing standpoint as AT&T’s biggest-ever device launch—including its 2007 launch of the iPhone.
But then reality sank in. The company recently warned investors that it will post losses for the next two quarters, sending its stock plunging to around $4, a level not seen since 1998. Then came reports that the Lumia 900 was marred by an embarrassing software glitch, and that several big European carriers didn’t think it was worthy enough to compete with the iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy phones. Some have even questioned whether Elop bet on the wrong horse by hitching Nokia’s fortunes to Microsoft’s.
By Peter Nowak - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM - 0 Comments
Everybody likes to root for the underdog, which is why Microsoft and Nokia are weirdly attracting a lot of positive vibes these days. As the New York Times pointed out just before the Consumer Electronics Show started in January, Microsoft in particular was getting rave reviews for its new Windows Phones, a trend not usually associated with the storied software maker.
It’s funny that both companies are now underdogs, given that only a few years ago they were the undisputed kings of their respective realms–Microsoft in software and Nokia in phones. But in the span of only a few short years, Google and Apple largely displaced both titans and relegated them to also-ran status in the mobile world, which prompted their team-up–in large part engineered by Nokia’s chief, Canadian Stephen Elop–last year.
The fruit of that tag team, the flagship Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone, has finally come to North America via Telus. I’ve been playing with it for the past week with an eye to answering one question: is it a big deal?
By Alex Ballingall - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
Samsung and Apple are trying to get each others’ products banned from the U.S.
Samsung upped the stakes in its patent dispute with Apple last week when it called on the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban imports of Apple’s iPhone and iPad from China, where they are made. Apple is expected to respond with a similar request, raising the possibility that the tech giants will be choked off from the American market. The two sides have traded accusations of copyright infringement since April, when Apple accused its South Korean rival of ripping off its smartphone and tablet designs. For its part, Samsung has filed similar lawsuits against Apple in Germany and Japan.
While Apple has dominated the tablet market, Samsung has emerged as a big player, too, and is expected to pass Nokia as the world’s top producer of smartphones this year. Ironically, the two companies have enjoyed a close business relationship. Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest buyers of computer chips and screens.
By Colin Campbell - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM - 0 Comments
PayPal, the online payment-processing system made popular by eBay, its corporate parent, is betting…
PayPal, the online payment-processing system made popular by eBay, its corporate parent, is betting that its future may not be online, but in the real world. PayPal is planning a push into retail stores with a system that would involve swiping cellphones at registers to make payments, rather than using credit or debit cards. The company, which has 95 million users online, estimates expanding into physical stores could double its revenues to $7 billion within two years.
PayPal isn’t the only firm anxiously eyeing this market. Google and Apple are now reportedly working on cellphone payment systems—using a technology called near-field communications—as are cellphone makers like Research In Motion and Nokia. The systems could be useful for consumers who always have a smartphone in hand. But for cellphone companies looking to be the next Visa, it’s a market potentially worth tens of billions of dollars.
By Chris Sorensen - Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:52 PM - 2 Comments
What RIM can learn from the ‘unbelievable’ fall of Nokia from the top of the smartphone market
For many in the industry, cellphone giant Nokia Oyj’s recent announcement that it will use Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system on its high-end devices was viewed as a sign of desperation. Despite being the world’s biggest cellphone maker, Nokia has been steadily losing ground in the smartphone wars to Apple’s iPhone and devices that run Google’s Android operating system, while Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, has been unable to gain any real traction with its mobile OS. And it’s far from clear that combining forces will do much to staunch the bleeding. “Two turkeys don’t make an eagle,” tweeted Google VP of engineering Vic Gundotra about the announcement.
It’s a stark reminder of how quickly fortunes can change in the tech business—and it should act as a cautionary tale for Canada’s Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular BlackBerry. RIM’s global market share has also been slipping (to 16 per cent from nearly 20 per cent last year) as consumers pass over the company’s clunky touchscreen efforts—Storm and Torch—for the latest iPhone or Android-powered device. Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Research, argues that both RIM and Nokia stumbled as they tried to adapt their existing keyboard-oriented operating systems to touchscreen hardware, instead of building new software from scratch.
By macleans.ca - Monday, June 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 3 Comments
Our second annual survey of companies in Canada that prove it pays to have a conscience
For many successful companies, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer just a boardroom buzzword, but a key to business. So, for the second year in a row, Maclean’s has partnered with Jantzi-Sustainalytics, a global leader in sustainability analysis, to present the country’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations.
While the reasons each company was selected vary—from Gildan Activewear donating more than half a million dollars to Haitian relief efforts, to Loblaw’s commitment to acquiring all of its seafood from sustainable sources by 2013, to Nike making World Cup jerseys for nine national teams out of bottles found in landfills—the underlying goal is the same: make the world a better place. As well as the Top 50 list, which begins on page 42, we look into how CSR might help with major PR problems, like BP’s oil spill, and whether the recession made the business world any less socially responsible.
By macleans.ca - Monday, June 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 28 Comments
These companies have made doing good a big part of their business
Click on a company name for more details:
Ballard Power Systems Inc.
BMO Bank of Montreal
Brookfield Properties Corp.
General Mills Inc.
Gildan Activewear Inc.
H.J. Heinz Company
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Kinross Gold Corp.
Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Nexen Inc. .
State Street Corp.
Sun Life Financial
Suncor Energy Inc.
Talisman Energy Inc.
TD Bank Financial Group
Westport Innovations Inc.
For the related article and methodology, The Jantzi-Maclean’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2010 click here.
By Anne Kingston - Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM - 2 Comments
She used to sell office furniture in Toronto. Now she’s a Nokia-branded singing, dancing global superstar.
Cindy Gomez is in motion, cruising along Los Angeles’ chi-chi Melrose Avenue in late August in the back of a big black chauffeured SUV. The Canadian singer is travelling with Dave Stewart, who came to fame as the bespectacled guy next to Annie Lennox in the innovative ’80s band the Eurythmics. Today, the 57-year-old British rock legend is a big-picture entrepreneur—performer, songwriter, producer, photographer, activist, new media savant and general connector of cosmic dots.
All of these endeavours dovetail perfectly with his current quest: to turn the multilingual Gomez, with her United Colours of Benetton beauty, into a global, multi-platform superstar. That in itself isn’t the kind of visionary thinking for which Stewart, a Davos denizen, corporate consultant on “disruptive change,” and friend of Bono, is known. What makes it pioneering is that he’s doing it in tandem with US$70-billion Finnish cellphone colossus Nokia as part of that company’s quest to become the world’s biggest entertainment media network. The stakes are big, Stewart says in his soft-spoken, unassuming, sage-like way: “If the experiment works, it will change the way art is made.” Continue…
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM - 1 Comment
Rafsanjani’s movement is targeting the cellphone maker
Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Tehran last Friday after Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an influential cleric and former president, publicly called for the government to release those detained in protests following the controversial June presidential election. But even as those demonstrations were underway, a different kind of protest was unfolding as companies deemed complicit in the post-election crackdown were targeted with a boycott.
An opposition daily, Etemad Melli, reported that Nokia sales have been slashed in half because the Finnish ﬁrm provided Iran Telecom with the ability to monitor local communications from ﬁxed and mobile phones late last year. For members of the “Twitter Revolution” who used their phones to tell the outside world of the protests and government crackdowns, there is a very real worry that their texts and videos will get them thrown in jail. An online watch group, OpenNet Initiative, recently reported that arrested activists were shown transcripts of their texts. Continue…