Qualcomm acquires Atheros for US$3.1 billion

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Jan 052011

Qualcomm today announced that they will acquire Atheros which makes wireless and wired communications products. The transaction is valued at US$3.1 billion.

“With this acquisition and our complementary products, Qualcomm will be in a strong position to take our successful mobile strategy of bringing the best technologies together into a systems solution and apply this to new opportunities,” said Steve Mollenkopf, EVP and group president of Qualcomm. “We see this strategy as central to helping our customers capitalize on the ubiquitous connectivity and seamless experiences that are developing across mobile phones, computing and consumer electronics.”

Atheros makes chipsets offering GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ethernet connectivity. Qualcomm is likely to integrate these into its own chipsets for future smartphone, tablet and other connected devices.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of the year.

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HTCSense.com goes live

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Oct 072010

HTC has launched its new HTCSense.com website. Designed as a companion site for (so far) the HTC Desire Z and HTC Desire HD, it offers services such as backup, location services (to find your phone if you have misplaced or lost your phone), contact management, a selection of tested applications, and more.

HTC Sense website

Too bad the HTC Desire Z and HTC Desire HD are not available yet.

Note: As I write this, it appears that HTC is dealing with a redirect issue. The address http://htcsense.com works whereas http://www.htcsense.com does not.

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Motorola not ruling out future Windows Phone 7 devices

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Oct 062010


Despite a lawsuit from Microsoft just days ago, Motorola remains open to the idea of developing future devices running the upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Motorola co-Chief Executive Sanjay Jha said, “I am open to finding ways to work with Microsoft. But it has to be a compelling offering.”

If Motorola does decide to jump back on the Microsoft bandwagon, it will be a while before we see any devices. To date, Motorola engineers have not even seen Windows Phone 7, according to Jah.

Motorola was forced to abandon plans to use Microsoft’s mobile operating system after Microsoft failed to deliver its new operating system in 2009. Instead it focused its efforts on Android in a (successful) bid to turn the struggling company’s fortunes around.

Jah was also dismissive of Microsoft’s lawsuit, calling it “part of business.”

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WIND Mobile parent company Weather Investments SpA to merge with Russian VimpelCom Ltd.

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Oct 042010

WIND Mobile

Russian-based VimpelCom Ltd. and Weather Investments S.p.A today announced that they will be merging to become the world’s fifth largest mobile telecommunications carrier with over 174 million subscribers and operations in 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. As part of the agreement, VimpelCom will hold 51.7% of Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E., the backing company behind Canadian carrier WIND Mobile.

At this point, it is unclear what this will mean for WIND Mobile, the carrier that launched back in December 2009. One option would be status quo. Another would be for VimpelCom end the agreement between Orascom and WIND Mobile and sell WIND Mobile to another foreign operator. It’s also not clear what it means for the new round of financing worth several hundred million dollars that WIND Mobile is currently negotiating with Orascom.

With the transaction not expected to be completed before Q1 2011, it may be a while before we understand the ramifications of this merger for WIND Mobile.

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Microsoft sues Motorola over Android smartphones

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Oct 012010


Microsoft today sued Motorola, citing patent infringements in Motorola’s Android smartphones. The nine patents in question focus on the user experience. According to Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing:

“Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.

We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year in bringing innovative software products and services to market. Motorola needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its Android smartphones.”

Motorola had apparently licensed some of these patents from Microsoft between 2003 and 2007. Despite not extending the agreements, it continued to use the technologies in its devices.

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Windows Phone 7 officially released to manufacturing

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Sep 012010

Microsoft Windows Phone

Microsoft today announced that Windows Phone 7 has been released to manufacturing. This means that the code has been finalized and is being handed over to partners so that they can finalize the development of their forthcoming devices. According to Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Phone Engineering Terry Myerson:

Windows Phone 7 is the most thoroughly tested mobile platform Microsoft has ever released. We had nearly ten thousand devices running automated tests daily, over a half million hours of active self-hosting use, over three and a half million hours of stress test passes, and eight and a half million hours of fully automated test passes. We’ve had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback. We are ready.

LG, HTC and Samsung are all expected to release Windows Phone 7 devices in time for the holidays.

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Google responds to Oracle lawsuit

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Aug 142010

Google Android

Google has responded to Oracle’s lawsuit over Google Android. Its statement is short but suggests that this could be in the courts for a while:

We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.

Oracle claims that Google has infringed on seven patents and copyrights that deal with Java. It is looking for an injunction and unspecified damages.

Oracle sues Google over Android

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Aug 122010

Google Android

Oracle today announced that it was suing Google over patent and copyright infringement in Google’s Android mobile operating system.

“In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement,” said Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman.

Oracle claims that a total of seven patents it inherited when it purchased Sun are being infringed.

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Today: Samsung launches Galaxy S with free Metric concert

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Aug 042010

Samsung Canada has been teasing us over the past few days with its Twitter #SamsungSecret campaign. The details are now out and the company will launch its Galaxy S smartphone with a free concert tonight here in Toronto. Here are the details:

    What:  Samsung Mobile presents a free impromptu street concert featuring
           Metric, one of Canada's most critically acclaimed independent
           bands. Metric will give Toronto music fans an unrivalled 45-minute
           set of chart-topping hits that will rock the city core.

    Who:   Multi-Juno award-winning rock group Metric
           Samsung Mobile

    When:  August 4, 2010
           7:00 p.m.

    Where: Union Station - Union Square Plaza
           65 Front Street West

I’m hoping to be able to make it down tonight – I love Metric and I have a feeling I’ll love the Samsung Galaxy S as well!

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Mobilicity gets CRTC conditional approval

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May 072010


Another new player in Canada’s wireless space got approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to begin operations. As with other recent reviews, the CRTC wanted to ensure that Mobilicity’s (formerly DAVE Wireless) ownership structure met Canadian ownership rules.

As with Public Mobility’s review last month, the approval is conditional upon some modifications to the company’s Shareholders Agreement.

The Commission finds that, upon completion of the required modifications to the Shareholder Agreement set out in the Appendix to this decision, DAVE Wireless will be Canadian‑owned and controlled, meeting the requirements set out in section 16 of the Act, and will be eligible to operate as a telecommunications common carrier.

Mobilicity is expected to launch in Toronto this spring with Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa to follow later on.

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Research In Motion to acquire QNX

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Apr 092010

Research In Motion

Research In Motion today announced that it is buying QNX Software Systems from Harman International. QNX is an Ottawa-based company with technology that develops in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems that include wireless services such as Internet radio, video-on-demand and navigation.

“In addition to our interests in expanding the opportunities for QNX in the automotive sector and other markets, we believe the planned acquisition of QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms of supporting certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals, adding valuable intellectual property to RIM’s portfolio and providing long-term synergies for the companies based on the significant and complementary OS expertise that exists within the RIM and QNX teams today,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM.

Beyond better integration between RIM’s BlackBerry and vehicles, RIM is probably interested in bringing some of the features in QNX’s Neutrino operating system into its own BlackBerry OS. QNX Neutrino RTOS is an open-source microkernel operating system that includes support for touchscreen displays and support for ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, SH-4, and x86 chipsets.

The acquisition is expected to close within 35-45 days. Terms were not disclosed.

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Apple sues HTC over user interface patents

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Mar 022010


Nokia and Apple are already facing off in court. Now, Apple and HTC will face off as well after Apple announced today that it filed a lawsuit against HTC, alleging infringement of 20 of its patents related to the iPhone user interface. According to Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs:

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

I expect that the lawyers will be busy for a few years with this one…

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Lenovo to buy back mobile device division

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Nov 292009

LenovoLenovo is buying back the mobile-phone division that it sold off last year. It sold the money-losing division in January 2008 for US$100 million. It will now buy it back for US$200 million.

Today’s announcement signals that Lenovo is gearing up its efforts in the burgeoning mobile Internet market in China. Lenovo Mobile now ranks No.3 in China’s mobile handset market and is the No.1 domestic brand.

The handset division made a profit last year as demand in China continued to grow. Estimates now suggest that China mobile Internet market could top US$16 billion by 2014.

Lenovo will first focus on growing its market share in China. Later, it will offer its handsets globally.

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Rumour of the day: Nokia to buy Palm?

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Nov 132009


Is Nokia about to buy Palm? That was the rumour today that pushed Palm stock about 8 percent higher.

Rumours of Palm getting bought out have swirled for some time now. Other suitors mentioned in the past included Motorola, Dell, Microsoft and Nokia.

Not everyone believes that such a deal is imminent. Some analysts have pointed out that such a deal would cost about US$2 billion. Would Nokia in particular spend this much on a new strategy after investing so much into the Symbian and Maemo operating systems? Instead, it could license Palm’s webOS instead.

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TELUS to acquire Black’s Photo

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Sep 082009


TELUS announced today that it has acquired Black’s Photo Corporation, a Canadian imaging and digital retailer. The move gives TELUS 113 new retail locations across Canada for its wireless products and services.

“Black’s is an impressive Canadian retailer with a great brand, reputation and management team,” said Joe Natale, executive-vice president and president, TELUS Consumer Solutions. “Black’s premium locations provide an established network across Canada for the distribution of TELUS’ wireless products, which nicely complements our extensive network of dealers and stores. In anticipation of our clients’ evolving needs and as more wireless devices have imbedded high quality photo and video capability, there is a natural link between TELUS and Black’s.”

The acquisition cost TELUS CA$28 million.

Earlier this year, rival Bell bought electronic retailer The Source in a similar move to boost its retail presence.

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