markets

It would appear that Nokia isn't too keen on India these days. At least from a manufacturer's stand point. The issue at hand seems to be a hefty tax bill that has the Windows Phone OEM considering the country its "least favourable" market to operate in.

Nokia is fighting a $20 Billion rupee tax demand from the Indian Government (about $311 million U.S.). A tax burden that may have Nokia move the manufacturing of their mobile phones to China and import them to the Indian market.

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Microsoft and Nokia are planning to tackle the smartphone market and hit hard with new low-end hardware, according to a report by Reuters. With multiple high-end products from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung already available, the company is now looking at the cheaper price points that attract a large portion of consumers. The Lumia 521 is such a Windows Phone that Microsoft hopes will win over the minds of consumers.

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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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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer eyes up a developer in the audience

Windows Phone developer registration has opened up in 13 new markets, according to a blog post published on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Small improvements and enhancements are being periodically applied to the Dev Center, which today includes further market adoption bundled with over 100 fixes and changes. 

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The developer of Markets & Me has released its premium version to the Marketplace. Markets & Me + is to compliment the recent app update that rolled out last week. This premium version of the app will not sport advertisements and will feature a few exclusive features that users will have to upgrade to should they wish to make use of extra functionality...

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We previously looked at Markets & Me, a stock portfolio management app for Windows Phone, earlier in the year. We praised the work by the developer, who managed to create a beautiful experience for those who are interested in checking out the markets, or who have a heavy inventory full of stock. You may have seen Windows Phone Central use the app while taking shots for other stories.

Version 2.0 has been in development for some time and we're pleased to relay the announcement that it has been submitted to the Marketplace. We expect the Markets & Me update to go live sometime next week. So, what's included in this latest release? 

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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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How low can it go?

Although Nokia has been catching headlines for their downturn in market performance, HTC too has also been feeling the pinch of poor profits.

Nokia yesterday finished the week off at $1.92 a share, falling below the $2 mark for the first time since September 1994. A lot can be made of that $2 number which is more of a psychological barrier than anything real but make no mistake, Nokia is feeling the financial pinch.

The drop seems to correlate with new rumors that Amazon may be making a go at its own phone which results in fears of tougher competition down the road.  Combined with the Mozilla news earlier this week, the Eurozone financial crisis, lagging sales of the Lumia line and no confidences from investors and you have a plummeting stock price. It’s a vicious cycle and often one not hinged on reality.

Seeking Alpha actually has a nice summary of the Nokia situation.  In short, they are still optimistic as Nokia should be fine for the next 12 months and they don’t foresee any more bad news for Nokia i.e. the worst may finally be out of the way. Nokia is poised to cut 10,000 jobs by 2013 and continue to restructure, reducing overhead costs in the long term. The question for would be investors is should you buy Nokia yet? At least for one contributor at Seeking Alpha, the answer is “almost” as the stock may still dip lower but a return to profitability status is expected sooner than later...

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Microsoft may not be dominating in the United Sates or Europe but that isn't stopping them from expanding to the rest of the planet. In their continued expansion of the web Marketplace, which we use everyday, Microsoft has added a healthy chunck of countries to the list.

Twenty-two in all were brought online today, including Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Ubiquity is the key word here and Microsoft has always been a fan of market saturation. So long as Windows Phone apps and games are available everywhere, developers will be encouraged to create new products and customers will enjoy the convenience.

Launching last September, the Windows Phone web Marketplace has continually and constantly expanded over the last few months, enabling users to browse, purchase and send apps right to their phone without any wires. Recently however, there were some problems as Microsoft makes adjustments to the backend, resulting in some unplanned downtime for customers.

To learn how the web Marketplace works check out Microsoft's tutorial.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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If you're an extremely busy developer with little time available to submit your app(s) to emerging markets that are being added to the ecosystem, then Microsoft is ready to lend a hand. Developers (including our Jay Bennett) have or will be receiving an email from the software giant requesting permission to submit apps to the new markets with no effort required from the developer. From the email:

"We are reaching out to ask your permission to cross-submit each of your Windows Phone apps into the markets* identified below, which includes more than 25 new markets.  We realize that the process to cross-submit takes time out of your busy schedule, so we are requesting your permission to submit all of your applications on your behalf to save you time and effort.  This will provide an opportunity for your apps to get additional exposure in new markets which may lead to more downloads and more revenue for your app(s)."

Markets included in the cross-submission are Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela and will announce UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand, and Vietnam. For paid apps, Microsoft will convert the base USD pricing set to local currencies.

Developers who receive the email have until April 27th to respond. It's good to know the team is looking at ways to aid the app building community whenever possible.

Thanks Scott and Dave for the tip!

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Microsoft has announced the opening of AppHub submissions to the 23 new countries added to the pool of support. Developers in these countries (and beyond) will be able to submit their work to the localised Marketplaces, which will open up to consumers in the near future.

To recap on the newly added countries: Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The total number of supported markets is now at a respectable 63.

A quick reminder to developers - it's now reportedly taking more than 7 days to approve Marketplace submissions. Something to consider when keeping to announced release dates.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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AdDuplex has released some interesting statistics from a couple of days activity of almost 700 apps using the network's advertising service. Over the course of two days, the apps on the network were used in 189 countries, by 166,000 users. The U.S. (as expected) is leading the group with 34%, but should we look at data from just last month (chart below) you'll notice a slight change.

Countries that saw Windows Phone (and the Marketplace) being launched jumped up in usage percentage (India, Russia, etc.), which are positive signs of reach and let us not forget that this is data only on the AdDuplex network. Head on over to the AdDuplex blog to read up the full report (as well as see the breakdown of countries).

Source: AdDuplex

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While the long term impact of Google's acquisition of Motorola (Googarola?) is still anyone's guess, one short term effect appears be to Microsoft and Nokia's benefit. Microsoft's stock rose 1.63% (up .41 points) and Nokia's stock rose 17.35% (up .93 points) in today's trading activity.

In comparison, Google's stock fell 1.16% (6.54 points) while Motorola Mobility's stock made the biggest jump at 55.78% (up 13.65 points).  We're pretty sure the jump with Motorola was due to the 63% premium Google paid for them but it is a little surprising to see Google sag. In addition, it's now been disclosed that Google has agreed to pay Motorola Mobility $2.5 billion if the deal doesn't go through, a figure that is six times the average according to Bloomberg.

Granted none of this could have a thing to do with the $12.5 Billion deal and the stock market these days may not be the best litmus test.  As crazy as Wall Street has been lately, tomorrow we may see completely opposite results. 

Still, it's nice to see Microsoft and Nokia stocks doing well.

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