Mark Bridge writes:
Oh, how cheerful we were last Monday. Apple previewed iOS6, which will bring mobile tickets (and 200 other new features) to the iPhone and iPad this autumn. Vodafone cut the cost of using your phone in Europe with its flat-rate £3-per-day EuroTraveller deal and a few days later Three came up with its own ‘unlimited’ European data roaming.
Yet by the end of the week there were fewer smiles in the mobile industry. The biggest bombshell came from Nokia. In a series of announcements on Thursday it said 10,000 staff would be cut (including three of the leadership team), factories would be closed and its Vertu luxury phone brand would be sold. There’ll be a new focus on location-based services and photography, helped by the acquisition of technology, patents and staff from imaging business Scalado.
There was also a Nokia link to last week’s other big acquisition story. Mobile computing business Psion plc is being combined with the Enterprise Mobile Computing business of Motorola Solutions, assuming shareholders are happy with the price. Psion’s EPOC operating system was the forerunner of the Symbian OS, now nestling within... Nokia.
Fortunately, most of the week’s other headlines were relatively upbeat. For example, it’s been a good week for mobile financial services. iZettle released its API, enabling its card payment technology to be incorporated within other applications, and picked up £20 million in new funding. Customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest were able to withdraw money from cash machines by using mobile phones instead of a bank card. And on the other side of the Atlantic, US-based mobile payment service Square said over two million individuals and businesses are now signed-up to use its app.
Supermarkets were busy moving further into mobile. Tesco took control of the WE7 online music service for a purchase price of £10.8 million, while Sainsbury’s spent much less on its eBook retailer. Just £1 gave it a 64% stake in Anobii Limited alongside HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House Group.
A different kind of selling was proposed by Everything Everywhere and Nokia Siemens Networks. They now have a machine-to-machine partnership that will allow vending machines to offer remote stock monitoring, location-based promotional messages and mobile payments.
Finally for now, our congratulations to Charles Dunstone and Dr Mike Short. Sir Charles of the Warehouse, as he’ll probably never be known, was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Meanwhile Dr Short of Telefónica Europe, who’s also president of the Institution of Engineering & Technology and a supporter of many other mobile organisations, is to receive a CBE.
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