The dark satanic rumour mill is churning out a hell on earth yarns claiming that Microsoft is close to buying up a slice of the canadian telecommunications company BlackBerry.
A few other tech companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei are also amongst those interested in buying the outfit but Microsoft has been wining and dining a few investment firms to assess their chances of taking over BlackBerry.
Its plan is to upgrade its intensity in the business mobile solution segment and its patent portfolio in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), as well as mobile platform and communications sectors.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturers are mainly intended to invest in BlackBerry so that they can improve their brand visibility across US and European business sectors.
So far it is all rumour and speculation but BlackBerry has frequently been tipped to be ready for buying out before and it has never happened. However sources in the Redmond lair have admitted that the stuffed head of Blackberry would look nice on its CEO’s wall.
BlackBerry said recently that it will lay off number of employments across the globe and will merge its device software, hardware and applications business. It also indicated that it was “changing assets to profit” by development opportunities and accomplish benefit over all regions of business.
So far that involves scaling down its mobile phone division, which might mean Microsoft will have to move fast if it there is going to be anything left of Blackberry.
In 2014, sales of smartphones to individuals reached 1.2 billion units worldwide, a rise of 28.4 percent compared to 2013.
Worldwide sales of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2014 saw an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, totalling 367.5 million units, according to Gartner.
And in the fourth quarter, Samsung lost its number one spot to Apple – as a result of product introductions in Apple’s case, and erosion of sales in Samsung’s case.
Samsung lost 10 percent in market share, according to Anshul Gupta, a Gartner analyst. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” said Gupta.
For the whole year, Samsung remained the leader, shipping 307,597 units worldwide, while Apple shipped 191,426 phones.
The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, according to Gartner. These last three vendors are all Chinese companies.
A report said
Samsung faces increased competition from mainland China.
And that will affect Apple’s bottom line too, according to a survey by Taiwanese market research company Trendforce.
It published figures that showed that in 2014 home grown companies Huawei, Xiaomi and others managed to ship 453 million units – nearly 40 percent of total smartphone shipments worldwide.
Samsung is being squeezed by Apple as well as Chinese smartphone brands but Apple itself is showing signs of losing the brand loyalty it largely depends on.
The company predicts that during 2015 the Chinese branded smartphones will account for shipments of 531 million units. That will be a growth, year on year, of 17.2 percent.
But the Chinese brands showed a growth last year of 54.8 percent.
One of the reasons for the smaller growth is because Chinese telcos have been cutting subsidies, making handsets more expensive.
But that is also likely to affect Samsung and Apple too.
When Samsung released its financial results recently, it reported smaller profits on its smartphone devices in the face of increased competition from Apple and others.
shipment numbers for tablets last year are forcing vendors to contemplate their marketing navels and come up with new ideas.
According to Digitimes
, one way vendors want to turn the market round is to persuade their suppliers to slash the cost of their components so they can cut prices on production.
And Apple, the wire reports, had disappointing sales of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which were launched last autumn.
Sales of HTC products and Xiaomi products haven’t been that brilliant either.
Apple is rumoured to be introducing a 12-inch iPad that it hopes will cause waves of excitement.
The problem is that once you have a tablet, there isn’t much desire to get a new one that’s shinier unless you’ve more money than sense.
Apple appears to believe it can launch all sorts of new applications for the 12-inch iPad when it appears.
Over 375.2 million
smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter of 2014 – that’s up by 28.2 percent compared to the same period the year before.
Apple had been the number two vendor in 11 previous quarters before Q4 2014, but, according to IDC, it was close to a tie with Samsung, the market leader.
IDC now predicts that Samsung could well outstrip Samsung during 2015.
It’s not just Apple that is challenging Samsung – as we’ve reported before, is under challenge from small Android OEMs selling products at much lower margins.
Growth in 2013 represented 40.5 percent but according to IDC, “the market clearly still has legs”. It estimates growth will fall to a mid teen figure during 2015.
The top five vendors for the fourth quarter were Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi. The last showed growth of 178.6 percent during Q4 2014, compared to Q4 2013.
which is beginning to challenge smartphone players including Samsung and Apple, turned over close to $12 billion in 2014, according to its CEO.
Lei Jun, the CEO of the company, said the revenues rose 135 percent compared to 2013, in a blog on the company’s website.
The company isn’t public but that hasn’t stopped it denting sales of the global giants as well as having an impact on another Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, Huawei.
Lei claimed that Xiaomi shipped over 60 million phones in 2014, an increase of 227 percent compared to 2013.
But while Xiaomi might well be making waves and causing its competitors some alarm, it’s doing so using a model which doesn’t yield big profits. Estimates are that its margins are in the low single digits.
Although Xiaomi remains a private firm, it is receiving investment from a number of big names in Asia and Reuters claimed the market value of the company is as much as $45 billion.
Xiaomi has said it is ready to open talks with Ericsson after a patent row resulted in a temporary ban on its Indian business.
In New Delhi, the city’s high court issued an ‘ex parte’ injunction that prevents Xiaomi from importing and selling some of its smartphones in the country.
Officials have been ordered to visit Xiaomi India’s office to ensure it does not sell, advertise, manufacture or import devices that infringe the patents in question.
Xiaomi sells its Mi3, Redmi and Redmi Note phablet in India, but it is not clear which models are affected by this ruling.
Ericsson described Xiaomi’s use of its Standard, Essential Patents (SEPs) as “unfair.” It said its action is “a last resort” after Xiaomi ignored its letters for more than three years.
“Ericsson’s commitment to the global support of technology and innovation is undisputed. It is unfair for Xiaomi to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable licensee fee for our technology,” a spokesEricsson said.
He said Ericsson was looking forward to working with Xiaomi to reach a mutually fair and reasonable conclusion, just as we do with all of our licensees.
Xiaomi said that it had not received any note from the high court yet but claimed that it was willing to discuss the issue with Ericsson:
“India is a very important market for Xiaomi and we will respond promptly as needed and in full compliance with India laws. Moreover, we are open to working with Ericsson to resolve this matter amicably,” Xiaomi said.
Ericsson is said to be negotiating compensation for patents with a number of Indian smartphone makers, and it could be that its dispute with Xiaomi goes the same way.
China’s Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer, is stepping sideways and getting into television.
Writing in its official Weibo microblog the company said it will invest $1 billion in building television content.
The big idea is that providing TV content will help enrich the company’s content and becoming a ‘leading bellwether for the industry.’
Details of the move are sketchy at the moment, but Xiaomi is entering a rocky sea where many leading bellwethers, including Microsoft, Intel and Apple have run aground.
It most likely that the content that the company is thinking of creating will be for the Chinese market, and might provide a different sort of service to what has been attempted in the West.
However, the company’s business model does require it to provide more content. The company sells their phones at cost, stating that the hardware is the delivery vehicle for the software. It has its own ecommerce platform, which is the third largest in China and pushes itself as a form of social media.
Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, which faces continual attacks from the Tame Apple Press for daring to make a phone similar to Apple’s, is facing a cloning problem of its own.
Chief Communications Officer Li Lei at Xiaomi said that it was wrong that Xiaomi was an iPhone clone and the outfit created a masterpiece from scratch.
Where Xiaomi is similar to Apple is that it has a strategy of selling single models in large quantities.
“That is why Xiaomi products give such impression,” added Li. “We release very few models a year. As everyone knows iPhone 4 and 5, everyone knows Xiaomi 3 and 4.”
Li said that Xiaomi’s strong points were that its products reflect Chinese users’ unique characteristics or experiences. That is the same to other Xiaomi electronic products, including mobile phones.
Ironically Xiaomi’s biggest problem is knock offs. It has launched its products in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It plans to advance into 10 more countries within this year.
“The biggest problem of a fake is that it cannot guarantee the quality and also taints reputation of Xiaomi. Consumers may complain ‘How come a Xiaomi product is in poor quality,’ and give poor evaluation on Xiaomi products,” Lei said.
Of course, the Tame Apple Press thinks that is just one giant karma boomerang which they are praying is returning to bite Xiaomi.