Financial

As Nokia hands over the bulk of its devices and services business to Microsoft, the company has published its interim financial report for Q1 2014, showing a year-on-year decline in handset sales of 30 percent. Today's numbers also reveal operating losses of €326 million ($452 million) on revenue of €1.929 billion ($2.68 billion) for the devices and services unit during its last quarter in Nokia's hands. The report blames "intense smartphone competition at increasingly lower price points and intense competition at the low end of our product portfolio" for the slide in sales, a continuation of the disappointing results posted in Q3 2014. The report also notes a sequential and year-on-year decline in average selling prices for devices, indicating that those who did buy Nokia phones shied away from higher-priced models.

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The next time I’ll meet evangelism folks from Nokia or Microsoft, I’ll give them a tight hug. Forget the market share discussions and fanboy arguments, the Windows Phone ecosystem is thriving in India. It’s a great time to follow the ecosystem, and makes my job easier (I hope Daniel is not reading this!).

Yet another key example of how Windows Phone continues to do well in India is the release of Airtel Money for Windows Phone 8.

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If you need to keep track of your finances from your Windows Phone, there are plenty of options to consider. myMoney hopes to be on your short list when shopping for a Windows Phone 8 financial app.

myMoney has plenty of features to set your budget, track your expenses, be reminded on bills, and keep everything backed up to the cloud. The user interface does take a little time to get used to but myMoney comes across as a capable financial option for Windows Phone 8.

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This week we’ve seen the recent set of financial results from both Microsoft, and it’s soon-to-be-acquired mobile phone business from Nokia.

It’s pretty easy to paint a pretty picture for Microsoft. They beat the Street’s expectations on revenue and earnings, and things are going well in terms of enterprise sales. On the consumer front, you could focus on the doubling of Surface sales and decent showing in Xbox sales.

But I’d like to open up the discussion a bit more. Let’s talk about the long term potential for Microsoft’s business. To pre-frame the discussion, consider that when I say “long term” I really mean it. I’m talking about the next decade or more.

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Despite the weakness in Microsoft’s stock price today (it’s down about 5%), I think their decision to buy Nokia’s hardware and services business is absolutely the right move. And it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. When Stephen Elop made the gutsy decision to kill Symbian and bet entirely on Windows Phone, most people correctly had a strong sense that this would eventually happen. 

But Wall Street isn’t too excited at the notion of Microsoft spending over $7 billion in cash to double down on its smartphone bet. And that’s understandable. It’s a lot of money for a potential failed deal. I think it probably will end up being successful for Microsoft. They’ve already climbed up to the #3 position in the smartphone market, having overtaken BlackBerry. If they can achieve this while having to balance the growth objectives of two separate companies, then I think it should only get easier for them as a combined entity.

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Good news for all of those who have been waiting for an official Mint.com app, as it looks like the popular Quicken-like service is coming to both Windows Phone and Windows later this year. The announcement comes via their support forums from an “official” responder earlier today.

Mint.com is considered by many to be the foremost financial planner service and with apps on iOS and Android, Windows Phone was left holding the bag. Indeed last we checked, back in March, Mint.com was filed under “no plans yet”, despite a constant barrage of users requesting it.

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Today Nokia released its financial Form 20-F to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission which outlines its long-term business targets and outlines their relationship with Microsoft. Amongst the dense financial lingo and obvious goals to grow their sales ahead of the market, while keeping costs down, came an interesting tidbit. In 2013, Nokia stands to receive more money from its partner Microsoft than it will pay out in royalties to them.

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The other day the Chase Mobile app vanished from the Windows Phone Store. While we haven't received official word from Chase as to the why, we do know there was a problem with the QuickDeposit feature.

QuickDeposit allows you to deposit checks into your account by snapping a photo of the check and sending it to Chase. For whatever reason the photos were going to your Windows Phone Pictures Hub instead of to your bank account.

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HTC has released its unaudited October 2012 financial report, which displays a YoY (year-on-year) decrease in revenues of 60 percent. Last month the manufacturer revealed it brought in NT$17.2 billion ($588 million), down from NT$44.114 billion ($1.5 billion) during the same period in 2011. It's not looking rosy for the Taiwanese handset maker, but how can it look to improve?

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Is this really a whole new Microsoft?

 

Yesterday, Microsoft reported a year over year (YoY) revenue decline of 8%.  But accounting rules being what they are, the Redmond giant deferred $1.36 billion in revenue coming from Windows 8, which hasn’t yet been released. Things like pre-sales are not counted as revenue yet because Microsoft hasn’t launched the product yet.  It’s an accounting thing, and it’s normal.  So from a business perspective, Microsoft revenues are essentially flat.     Looking at the various segments of their business, it is the Server & Tools business that is showing the best growth (8% YoY), driven by SQL Server and System Center.  The Business Division (Microsoft Office and other software) is down 2%.  The Windows & Windows Live Division was down a whopping 33% though.  This is where the revenue deferral happened, so if you adjust for the timing or revenue recognition, the business was down only 9%.  
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Behind those smiles is concern

This was another important week for the mobile giant from Cupertino.  Apple continued to improve upon its iPhone product line by launching the iPhone 5. While I believe Apple delivered exactly what investors need, none of this really changes the story for the two major comeback players - Nokia and RIM.

So let’s focus on Nokia here.  We already know they did a poor job of unveiling the Lumia 920 but I didn’t think the stock market reaction made sense.  Sure, Nokia left a lot of information off the table but they still showed off a very nice phone running Windows Phone 8, proving their lineup is becoming interesting again.  And as much as I love Apple products (I really do), I recognize that people don’t just want to buy iClones.  Apple is an amazing company with amazing products.  But they aren’t for everybody.

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HTC has released its audited Q2 2012 earnings report today, which keep in line with unaudited results we touched on last month. According to the report, HTC generated revenues of NT$91.04 billion (~$3.04 billion), while net income sat at NT$7.4 billion (~$247 million) between March and June this year. The company's gross margin was 27.01% with an operating margin of 9%. 

HTC expects a tough Q3 and we will be looking out for further decreases in revenue, profit and operating margins in the next financial report. Revenues are expected to be in the region of NT$70-80 billion, with a gross margin and operating margin of 25% and 7% respectively. Should the handset maker continue to dwindle slowly south in the third quarter of this year, it'll paint a rather bleak picture compared to the height of success back in Q3 2011, with reported revenues of NT$135.82 billion (~$4.53 billion).

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In what has to be a slight sigh of relief for investors, Nokia stock (NOK) has passed the $2 mark today closing at $2.02 a share or a 9.78% jump since opening.

That’s up from its low just a week ago of $1.63 and could indicate renewed faith in the struggling smartphone company. From the look of it, most analysts and perhaps now investors think the worst is now behind Nokia. Having hit bottom, the company can only go up (or die trying).

That’s not to say all is healthy. Investors, analysts and even Nokia themselves are still predicting next quarters earnings to continue to be weak. A return to profitability is still at least a few months away, assuming the company has a hit with Windows Phone 8 and carrier deals for their devices.

In related news, the cuts at the company continue and friend of the site and class act Keith Nowak, who handled Nokia’s PR in the US, has unfortunately been let go today. Our best wishes to him in the future. You can read about Keith’s experience with Nokia on his personal blog—it’s a great read.

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Today Nokia revealed its interim financial results for Q2 2012.  Nothing too shocking, really.  Keep in mind that this is a company that was once the largest phone manufacturer in the world, driven by Symbian and feature phones. Nokia now has to find its place in the smartphone market, and this position will really depend upon the market success of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. 

With that in mind, Nokia shipped 4 million Lumia phones during Q2.  It may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone or Samsung (Android) numbers, but when you compare it against RIM’s latest quarter (the shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry phones), it shows some forward momentum. 

Overall, Nokia sold 73 million phones. That’s 69 million non-Lumia phones. The company’s huge challenge is to hang onto the low end of the feature phone market (under attack from Android) while also converting many of its Symbian smartphone users onto Nokia-branded Windows Phone products in the future.  It’s a tall order, but Nokia has a pretty good fighting chance...

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Although the Scalado news is inspiring, Nokia is still in the rough as it plans to layoff nearly 10,000 workers by the end of 2013 in a continued restructuring of the company.

In addition, the Finnish firm is planning to close its facilities in Ulm, Germany, Burnaby, Canada and its manufacturing facility in Salo, Finland (Research and Development efforts in Salo will remain) while focusing on their Lumia line of phones including "broadening the price range of Lumia and continuing to differentiate with the Windows Phone platform". Part of the cost savings move has also been the successful divestment of the Vertu luxury line of Nokia phones to EQT VI for a rumored 200 million euros ($260 million).

Finally there are leadership changes as well including the promotion of former Microsoft executive Chris Weber from President of Nokia Inc. (US), and head of Markets, North America to executive vice president of Sales and Marketing, where he will join the leadership team of Nokia. The other changes in Nokia's leadership team can be found here.

So what does all of this amount to? There is a lot going on at Nokia including a dramatic reshaping of the company under CEO Stephen Elop driven mostly by market demands and the recent realignment of the company around Windows Phone. Analysts and equity firms have been downgrading Nokia stock for weeks now and this is their response which equates to massive cutbacks both in terms of people and facilities, potentially saving the company a lot of money during these tight times.

Nokia has previously lost 24% of its market share losing out to Samsung for top manufacturer. With the continued stampede of iPhone and Android, Nokia will be relying on Windows Phone 8 and its increasingly popular Lumia line to save it from financial despair. 

Nokia stock is currently trading at $2.79 a share which is near it's 52 week low of $2.61. It will be curious to see how the market responds to these proposed cutbacks and restructuring.

Source: Nokia

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Currency Converter Pro - Review

Like to keep track of currency exchange rates? Curious what the latest price of aluminum is? BlackLight Mobile is offering Currency Converter Pro over at the Marketplace that puts a ton of currency exchange information on your Windows Phone.

From simply currency conversion (147 world currencies and 6 metals) to tracking the value of a currency or precious metal Currency Converter Pro is a handy travel application as well a nice travel app.  Currency Converter Pro will even provide you with a sample image of the bank note you are researching. Toss in recent currency news and Currency Converter Pro may be a total package.

Ease on past the break to read more on this Windows Phone travel/financial app.

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Acculynk, creators of PaySecure, announced in a press release today that they will be developing a mobile version of their Internet PIN debit platform for Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry systems. 

Here's how it works: when a customer makes a debit card purchase at a website that uses PaySecure, they enter their debit card number at checkout.  Then, a encrypted graphical keypad, which is embedded into the vendors website, is used to enter the consumer's PIN.  It eliminates the need to sign up for accounts on vendor websites or get directed to third-party sites, like PayPal.

Acculynk's CEO, Ashish Bahl, said in the statement,

"In 2011, our goal is to expand the channels where PIN debit can be accepted, like a mobile phone and even kiosks." 

They also hope to move beyond eCommerce, by developing methods for online banking and P2P fund transfers.  You can check out a demo of how it works here.

Source: EarthTimes

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Microsoft released their First Quarter Earnings Report for fiscal year 2011 that included reported revenue of $16.2 Billion, a 25% increase from the same period of the prior year.

Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft stated,

“This was an exceptional quarter, combining solid enterprise growth and continued strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7, and Xbox 360 consoles and games. Our ability to grow revenue while continuing to control costs allowed us to deliver another quarter of year-over-year margin expansion.”

Additional increases for the Quarter included $7.12 Billion in Operating Income (59% increase), $5.41 Billion in Net Income (51% boost) and $.62 per share in diluted earnings (55% rise).

Things appear to be on the up-swing for Microsoft with the 25% setting a new earnings record.  It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 will impact the company's Second Quarter Report. Could we see another earnings report set?

Follow the break for the full Press Release and you can find the full financial report here.

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Pageonce, who makes software to live monitor your accounts, announced support today for Windows Phone 7. The software looks a lot like what Quicken or Microsoft Money was for Windows Mobile years ago, but goes further with the ability to evidently access and live update your accounts: credit card, bills, banks, etc. It also sounds like it will get its own Hub too on the Start screen, allowing quick access to all of one's finances.

The software should be available in November for free and will feature the following services:

  • Account Monitoring:  A quick and simple snapshot of available cash, credit card balances, upcoming bills, and investment values.
  • Transaction Insights: Ability to dive deeper and look into daily financial transactions and spending behavior
  • Bill Tracking:  A comprehensive look at bills, when they are due and how much is owed
  • Spending History: A monthly spending history and trends across all accounts
  • Real-Time Alerts:  Notifications and updates deliver important account events and help users avoid fees, penalties and suspicious activity

While simple "bill keepers" are one thing, the ability to live-sync to your accounts on the go sounds real good and stuff we should be able to easily do in 2010.

Check out the full YouTube demo after the break--it really looks pretty snazzy and we normally hate financial stuff.

Source: EarthTimes

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T-Mobile releases Q2 numbers

T-Mobile has released its 2010 Second Quarter financial numbers and while revenues increased slightly, the customer base continued its decline.

Total revenues are being reported at $5.36 billion in the second quarter of 2010, up $5.34 billion from 2009's second quarter.

For the second quarter of 2010, total customers declined by 93,000. T-Mobile saw a net customer additions of 325,000 in the second quarter of 2009. The company reported a decline of 77,000 customers during the first quarter of 2010. In the end, T-Mobile is serving 33.6 million customers at the close of the 2010 second quarter.

As we saw with AT&T and Verizon's quarterly reports, T-Mobile experienced an 18% increase in data service revenues. During the 2010 second quarter the company earned $1.17 billion on data. Of the 33.6 million customers, 6.5 million were using 3G capable smartphones, an increase of 25% from the 2010 first quarter and dramatically up from the 2.1 million reported in the second quarter 2009.

“In the second quarter of 2010, customers embraced T-Mobile USA’s industry leading value which makes it simple and affordable for consumers to trade-up to next generation products and services,” said Robert Dotson, President and CEO, T-Mobile, USA. “The number of 3G smartphones in the hands of our customers year-over-year has tripled to 6.5 million supported by a network that offers the broadest reach of 4G speeds in the U.S. as our growth continues through data revenues.”


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