The digital business week

14 Feb 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Nokia to move to Windows Phone, restructures company

Nokia outlined its new strategic direction, including taking on Windows Phone as its primary OS, a major organisational restructure and a focus on getting developing growth markets connected to the internet.

The company hopes the new board will “expedite decision-making and improve time-to-market of products and innovations, placing a heavy focus on results, speed and accountability.”

From 1 April, the company will have two distinct business units – Smart Devices and Mobile Phones, focusing on developing high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones.

Many other areas of the company have also been restructured, including its location and advertising business, its services and developer experience area and its CTO office.

Global mobile sales totalled 1.6bn in 2010

Mobile phone sales soared 31.8pc higher during 2010, according to Gartner, with sales reaching 1.6bn devices. Smartphones make up close to 20pc of the total market.

“Strong smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 pushed Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) up in our 2010 worldwide ranking of mobile device manufacturers to the No 5 and No 4 positions, respectively, displacing Sony Ericsson and Motorola,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner.

“Nokia and LG saw their market share erode in 2010 as they came under increasing pressure to refine their smartphone strategies,” Milanesi said.

Twitter merger and acquisition rumours rampant

Companies such as Facebook and Google are showing a growing interest in purchasing Twitter with an estimated valuation of $8bn to $10bn.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other companies have held meetings with Twitter, discussing the possible acquisition of the company. The company had estimated revenue of $100m and $110m in 2011. Twitter only made revenue of $45m in 2010 due to expenditure on hiring and data centre.

A Twitter spokesman however, refused to discuss its finances or the valuations and interest by other companies. Google and Facebook also remained quiet on the subject.

Financial crime top concern for senior management – survey

Financial crime management is back on the senior-management agenda in 2011, a survey by Norkom Technologies on the global financial crime and compliance community suggests.

Norkom Technologies, a provider of financial crime and compliance solutions to the global financial services industry, reveals the main concerns for senior management in 2011 include internal fraud, anti-money laundering and payment fraud. Financial crime teams will attempt to combat these threats by increasing budgets and consolidating financial crime information.

AOL buys Huffington Post for US$315m in cash

In its strategic drive to snap up as much digital media real estate as possible, AOL has acquired The Huffington Post blog for US$315m in cash and has appointed its founder Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief.

The move is the latest in a line of digital acquisitions including TechCrunch and Engadget, aimed to position AOL at the nexus point for connected news at a time when newspapers, despite three years of recession, have still not figured out a viable digital business model.

Huffington will be made editor of all AOL digital content and the warring editors of TechCrunch and Engadget, Michael Arrington and Joshua Topolsky, will have to report to her.

HTC invests in on-demand gaming and video companies

Smartphone maker HTC plans to invest US$40m in on-demand cloud gaming company OnLive and has acquired UK-based mobile video specialist Saffron Digital.

According to the Wall Street Journal, HTC will spend US$40m on 5.33m shares in OnLive. It did not specify how big its share in the company would be.

OnLive has a game system which gives gamers access to instant-play newly released video games on TVs, PCs or Mac without requiring a disc, download or update.

HTC has also acquired Saffron Digital for stg£30m, which distributes video-on-demand services for mobile devices.

These two deals seem to be a part of a content strategy, possibly providing on-demand gaming and video content for HTC devices.

However, the nature of the deals suggests they won’t exclusively be attached to HTC. Both companies will keep a large degree of autonomy.