The Japanese prime minister has called for clarification from Olympus’ board of directors over hundreds of millions of dollars in fees paid out during recent takeovers – deals the company’s short-lived British CEO claims he was fired for investigating.
In an interview with the Financial Times, PM Yoshihiko Noda said the board must clarify why it paid such high fees in its activities – money which appears to have been paid into tax havens. Noda also said that Olympus may bring other Japanese firms into disrepute.
It’s highly unusual for such a senior political figure to raise concerns about corporate life, but the Olympus case has many people nervous.
“What worries me is that it will be a problem if people take the events at this one Japanese company and generalise from that to say Japan is a country that [does not follow] the rules of capitalism,” Noda said. “Japanese society is not that kind of society.”
At issue is the $687m paid out in fees after the 2008 purchase of the Gyrus Group, a British medical device manufacturer, for approximately $2bn. The amount far exceeds the usual fees paid to consultants in such a deal, and have raised fears of financial irregularities.
In April, Olympus appointed its first non-Japanese president, Michael Woodford – a British 30-year company veteran – and then promoted him to CEO six months later. However, two weeks after being unanimously voted in, he was unanimously voted out – a decision he said stemmed from him asking too many questions about the fees paid in the deal.
“Michael C. Woodford has largely diverted from the rest of the management team in regard to the management direction and method, and it is now causing problems for decision making by the management team,” the company said at the time.
However, the questions Woodford raised have not gone away, and the company has found itself under increasing scrutiny. Last week, Woodford’s replacement as president, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, was forced to step down as speculation over the affair grew and Olympus’ share price almost halved, wiping billions from its value.
Southeastern Asset Management, which owns about five per cent of Olympus’ stock, has now also chimed in, with a letter of concern it sent to the board on 20 October but has not made public. It said that it is very concerned by the Woodford allegations and requested the board minutes covering the transactions and details on why so much was paid in fees.
28 October 2011
Last updated at 15:30
Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system uses gesture-controlled technology
Apple and Microsoft are involved in a new patent race over touchless gesture-controls.
Recently released patent filings reveal new ways to control devices that do not involve physical contact.
Microsoft describes waving one’s hands to “draw” three-dimensional objects on a computer, while Apple’s designs involve allowing users to “throw” content from one device to another.
Securing patent rights allows the firms to claim ownership of the technologies.
They could then prevent others from using the same gesture controls, or charge them a licence.
The two technology firms are not the only ones exploring the area. Less well known companies, including Qualcomm and Extreme Reality 3D, have also acted to secure touchless control patent rights.
“It’s interesting that so many companies are actually investing some very serious time and money into it,” said Chris Green, a technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group.
“But the jury is still out on whether this whole waving-your-hands-in-the-air will have a long term future outside computer games, and it’s still very much a work in progress.”
Continue reading the main story
No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels”
Former Apple CEO
The patent applications have been made public by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple’s filing, entitled “Real Time Video Process Control Using Gestures”, describes controlling images on a device, such as an iPhone, without touching it, and the ability to transfer the pictures to one of the firm’s other products using contact-free hand movements.
It suggests infrared, optical and other sensors would be used to detect the movements.
One use could be to transfer a video from a mobile phone by “flicking” it to a television.
“Say you’re browsing a TV app on your phone and you found a programme you wanted to record, you could literally – just with a wave – take that programme and throw it to the other device using a gesture rather than using a Bluetooth or cable connection,” said Mr Green.
Steve Job’s biography suggests he had been working on a new Apple TV project
The patent application’s release coincides with renewed speculation about Apple branded television sets.
The firm’s former chief executive, Steve Jobs, appears to have hinted at the prospect to his biographer.
Walter Issacson wrote: “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant”.
Mr Isaacson quoted Mr Jobs as saying: “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
The book was published following Mr Jobs’ death, earlier this month.
Microsoft has already put touchless gesture technology into practice with the popular Kinect motion sensing device for its Xbox games console.
“Microsoft’s Kinect system has been widely praised for its accuracy and clarity, and even university research departments are using the Kinect devices, hacking them and using them for their projects,” said Mr Green.
Continue reading the main story
You no longer have to use a mouse to draw a shape – you can just wave your hands in the air and it’ll appear”
Davies Murphy Group
“But it is still fairly large, and if you’d like to apply it to a smartphone, you’d need to compress the Kinect down into something the size of your thumb.”
Microsoft’s recent filing details potential business applications for the technology.
It says it would be possible to make a gesture near a device’s surface to “draw” and manipulate virtual 3D objects.
One possible use would be for someone giving a presentation to draw a square in the air and then have it appear behind them on a screen or mid-air from a 3D projector.
“You no longer have to use a mouse to draw a shape – you can just wave your hands in the air and it’ll appear,” Mr Green explained.
“That aspect potentially has some enterprise applications in terms of computer-aided design…. but it’s still very expensive.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-15492980
Last month chip maker Broadcom, with hardly a whimper, began disengaging from the smart TV and Blu-Ray player markets, despite having some high profile CE customers such as LG in this sector.
Then around three weeks later in mid-October, Intel, with tail between its legs, also announced its withdrawal from the smart TV market that it had entered with such fanfare and optimism three years ago.
At first Intel’s love affair with the TV had intensified, leading one of its executives to utter that smart TVs represented the biggest revolution in the industry since the introduction of colour. As recently as July 2011 VP of Intel’s UK digital home group Erik Huggers declared: “Smart TV is the opportunity.”
The change of heart then appears to have been rather abrupt, ostensibly because of the failure of Google TV and consequent disappointing sales of smart TVs (although they are gaining share in US TV market).
Broadcom’s pull-out however has been attributed more to its realisation that the CE equipment will be ruled by low-end commodity chips, and Intel has historically also exited markets when margins become too tight. Historians of the industry will recall how in 1984 keenly competitive Japanese companies, including Hitachi, Fujitsu and Toshiba, were squeezing margins dry in the memory chip business, from which Intel, then led by legendary CEO Gordon Moore, promptly withdrew to focus on microprocessors for the rapidly growing PC business.
So while both Broadcom and Intel are staying in the STB chip business, one wonders for how long, at least in the case of low-end vanilla boxes. Another US STB supplier, Trident Microsystems, is reducing its workforce to 20 per cent because of declining sales and margins.
It is easy enough to see where Broadcom is heading, since the company acquired NetLogic Microsystems in September 2011 for $3.7bn in cash – hardly a trifling sum. This highlights how Broadcom is moving from commodity CE chips into System on Chips (SoCs) and other components for high-end networking devices. With NetLogic, Broadcom gains a portfolio of patents and processors for routers. Analysts gushed about the wonderful synergy with Broadcom’s CE business, but as we can see now it represented more of a consolidation around the networking and communications arena, where it will focus increasingly on intelligent routing, quality of experience, and security.
Another reason for the apparently rapid change of mind by Broadcom and Intel is the sluggishness of the overall CE market in North America and the West at a time when it is still booming in several Far Eastern economies. This is encouraging a shift east, or west depending where you are looking from, where Taiwanese chip makers MediaTek and MStar in particular stand to benefit.
It would be a mistake though to assume the Far Eastern chip makers are only commodity component companies, for they are just as formidable competitors at the high end. Taiwan-Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) has been very successful with its SiS9561 Internet TV SoC package since its launch in January 2011, which has been adopted by TCL, China’s biggest TV maker, for its first smart TVs.
Perhaps then the problem was that Broadcom and Intel’s chips were not smart enough. Certainly the SiS9561 is well optimised for the Chinese market, supporting multiple languages and fonts as well as fast boot up and ability to connect over wireless with any Android device. Support for Android devices was cited a major reason for TCL’s choice of the SiS9561, given the operating system’s recent seismic growth over the last year to take 50 per cent of the Chinese mobile operating system market.
Meanwhile Intel does at least have plans to create some disruption in the tablet business, being far from ready to throw in the towel to the ARM-powered iPad. Intel’s big idea is the ultrabook, which will be a hybrid between the tablet and the current families of small laptops and notebooks. It will combine the thin, light design and rapid boot-up of the tablet with the content creation ability of the laptop, including a keyboard.
This could well appeal to the many wordsmiths out there who have spurned the tablet, but Intel’s prediction that such devices will account for 40 per cent of laptop sales by the end of 2012 might say as much about the laptop’s decline as the ultrabook’s ascent.
The message though is clear enough, that the US chip makers want both volume and margin in the connected TV era. Whether they will achieve as much of either as they would like must be doubtful, in their traditional markets at least. ®
Copyright © 2011, Faultline
Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week’s events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.
29 October 2011
Last updated at 21:55
Minecraft allows players to manipulate a randomly generated landscape
Minecraft is the winner of a new arts award for computer games.
The prize was announced at the finale of the GameCity videogame culture festival in Nottingham.
The title is the work of an independent Swedish company, Mojang. Players have to build objects out of blocks in an open environment.
The game was selected over rivals from big name publishers, including Valve and Electronic Arts’ Portal 2 and Microsoft’s Ilomilo.
“It’s a great honour to be compared to those games,” said Markus Persson, Mojang’s founder.
“Winning this award helps us to try to make Minecraft the best game it can be.”
Nearly four million people have already bought the title online, despite the fact it is still in beta. It is scheduled for a formal release next month.
“It just wasn’t like anything else… it felt like it had an expanding life of its own. It had an organic nature,” one of the judges, Ed Hall, told the BBC.
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I think that technology is a real red herring…. Otherwise we wouldn’t cry at Bambi. It’s not about photorealism.”
“It’s simplistic and addictive, and there’s an element of beauty in what you are doing.”
GameCity’s director, Iain Simons, said he was “delighted” by the choice.
His festival is now in its sixth year. Over that time he says he has seen a rise in the average age of gamers, and more women attracted to the activity.
“There is a much broader constituency of people playing games,” he said.
“They have become more normalised, they have been more culturally confident and this prize, and the festival, is very much about exploring that confidence.”
Part of the phenomenon is linked to the rise of smartphones. Today’s handsets helped popularise the kind of sophisticated games that used to be restricted to dedicated mobile games machines, and larger home consoles.
The GameCity festival was created to give the public a chance to meet the talent behind computer games
Advances in computer processors and graphics chips undoubtedly offer developers a bigger palette to choose from. However, Mr Simon does not think the developments make any difference to the designers’ status as artists.
“I think that technology is a real red herring. What technology is driving forward is the ability for games to look more real. To look like what a triple-A blockbuster would look like,” he said.
“I don’t think that is in itself something that makes them art. Otherwise we wouldn’t cry at Bambi. It’s not about photorealism.”
The contest’s judges appear to agree, admitting they picked the most basic looking title on offer.
The diverse 13-person jury included Dr Who actress Frances Barber, Labour MP Tom Watson and the artistic director of London’s Southbank centre, Jude Kelly.
Not everyone was convinced of Minecraft’s merits at first. The composer, Nitin Sawhney, who was also on the panel, was critical of its soundtrack.
But ultimately neither the look of the game nor its music proved fatal to its chances.
“[We asked] was there one that we felt was head and shoulder above the rest? Was there merit in the game enhancing life and enjoyment beyond just playing the game itself? Could it make your view of the world better?” said Mr Hall.
Minecraft lets players become architects, creating buildings and changing the game’s landscape
“Could a computer game be viewed as something that wouldn’t be sneered at in the future?”
Minecraft does involve traditional staples of gaming, including night-roaming monsters and the chance to fight multiplayer battles online.
However, it was ultimately selected on the basis of its mood and ability to encourage gamers to become creative.
“It’s the broadest definition of art that you can have,” said Mr Hall.
“But computer games are definitely artistic. There are images and storylines that engage you, ideas that confuse your mind for hours and a whole package that keeps you coming back for days.”
Valve and Electronic Arts announced their retail distribution agreement for Portal 2 last December.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-15509330
Investors may be turning off the group buying craze in the US – courtesy of Groupon – but in Australia the verve for online discounts continues to ka-ching.
James Packer backed, CatchOfTheDay, the operator of Scoopon.com.au and online supermarket Groceryrun.com.au, has hit its fifth year of operation on track to deliver revenues for full year 2011/12 of $AU250 million.
The e-commerce group is still attracting new members, with approximately 4,000 customers signing up each day. Collectively the group has more than 1.5 million members, with an item being purchased every 3 seconds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Founder Hezi Leibovich also debuted on the BRW young rich list this year in 22nd place with an overall valuation of $AU80 million of the companies he founded with brother Gabby in 2006.
In June, Packer and Tiger Global Management infused the company with an $AU80 million, prompting a group valuation of $AU200 million.
“Investments have been geared towards improving service delivery and ensuring we have in place the people, infrastructure and technology platform to support our next phase of growth,” said Leibovich
In September, the group launched groceryrun.com.au and in its first 5 weeks of operation, delivered average revenue around $AU1.5 million per week for, with an average 20,000 orders being placed per week.
Leibovich announced that it will be exploring new verticles including Brandstreet.com.au, which will offer branded fashion apparel and footwear. ®
28 October 2011
Last updated at 15:57
An Australian chocolate shop is one of the first retailers to sign up to the service
Google has started a pilot project allowing the public to look inside shops and other businesses found on its maps.
The feature is an extension of the firm’s Street View technology, which already lets users view 360-degree exterior images.
The existing service prompted some privacy complaints from people who claimed the technology was intrusive.
However, Google said the new scheme was on a completely voluntary basis.
“Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence,” said a company spokesman.
“We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery.”
Initially the roll-out is limited to select locations including London, Paris and a number of cities in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
The US company said it was beginning the process by inviting the most searched types of businesses to request a visit by its photographers.
Google said these included restaurants, hotels, shops, gyms and vehicle repair workshops.
However, it has ruled out big-brand chains for the time being. Hospitals and lawyers’ offices have also been excluded.
Business owners are told they must warn their customers and employees about the photoshoot before it begins. Google has promised it will blur out or refuse to publish any images that include bystanders.
The photoshoots will produce 360-degree images using fish-eye and wide-angle lenses as well as stills. Business owners are also invited to upload their own pictures.
The search site notes that all photographs taken will become its property and that they may be used for other applications. Business owners may request their removal, but the terms and conditions do not include a commitment to comply.
“Retail is always a competitive sector, but this is particularly true at a time of falling disposable incomes,” said Sarah Cordey, spokeswoman for the British Retail Consortium.
“Many retailers are increasing their online presence and use of technological innovations, so this is a development some businesses will no doubt consider with interest.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-15493333
Quantum returned to profit after its unexpected loss last quarter and has expanded into SME filer storage and virtual server backup and dedupe.
There was a $5m loss in its previous quarter the first in its fiscal 2012, on revenues of $154m, some of that put at the door of sales mis-execution. This time, in the quarter ending 30 September, revenues came in at $165m, 2 per cent down on the year-ago quarter, with profits of $3.56m, up from the year ago $3m figure. New sales head Ted Stinson has done the business.
Debt repayment continues to feature in these quarterly reports; Quantum paid down $30m of its senior debt, finishing the quarter with $69m of senior debt, $135m of convertible debt and $49m in cash and cash equivalents. Standard Poor’s Rating Services upgraded its outlook on the company from stable to positive during the quarter. Encouragingly, the total cost of revenues this quarter was $93.4m – which compares well to the $96.32m amount spent a year ago. Quantum is becoming more efficient.
There was still an overhang from the move away from OEM sales, but not much, and branded sales were up, CEO and president Jon Gacek saying: “This was our eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year branded revenue growth and one in which we generated our highest level of disk and software revenue to date.”
The July-launched DXi6701/02 appliances did well. Quantum said this launch “was the most successful branded systems product launch in the company’s history in terms of revenue generated”. All good stuff. The even better stuff relates to product range development and expansion.
Expanded product portfolio
Quantum has entered the mainstream SME filer market and has announced a removable disk backup product. The NDX-8 NAS is an 8TB NAS product which can replicate data to another off-site NDX-8. The company said it has an Intel Core i3 3.3 GHz processor and 4 GB RAM, “with twice the performance and memory of competitive NAS products”.
An NDX-8d version has Datastor Shield software, meaning agent-less backup and DXI deduplication, with client-based dedupe and up to 20:1 deduplication rates. The NDX-8d costs $5,139 (suggested retail price) and the NDX-8 $4,029.
It has also announced an RDX 8000 removable disk storage product, coincidentally also offering up to 8TB of capacity with its 8 RDX drives, and saying 1.5TB 2.5-inch drive cartridges are coming next year. The RDX 8000 with deduplication is $4,999, and $3,889 without it.
The vmPRO 4601 is a capacity-on-demand, 2U rackmount, virtual machine backup and deduplication product offering 4TB capacity increments by license key up to a 12TB max. This uses acquired Pancetera technology and supports vSphere v5 and incorporates Quantum’s DXI deduplication technology. It also can replicate its contents to another vmPRO 4000. Pricing starts at $24,250.
Quantum says “The vmPRO software utilities present a file system view of VM files, automatically create native-format VM copies on secondary disk, reduce VM backup data by up to 75 per cent, and raise deduplication rates. All vmPRO utilities operate inside the virtual environment, eliminating the need for external servers, and they support third-party backup applications.”
It claims that this software “delivers the most effective deduplication rates and the fastest VM recovery in the industry”.
We also hear good news is coming on the file virtualisation StorNext front. Using ATTO Celerity FC adapters, NetApp says its Media Content Management (MCM) system has outperformed all previously ATTO-tested storage subsystems. This was achieved with an Engenio-based E5460 array and StorNext, implying NetApp could be a meaningful StorNext reseller. ®
27 October 2011
Last updated at 22:48
Hewlett Packard shares fell 20% the day it proposed selling its personal computer arm
Hewlett Packard (HP) says it will now keep its personal computer division after reviewing a plan by its former chief executive to sell it.
The decision to retain the personal systems group (PSG) was made by HP’s new head, Meg Whitman, who said HP would be a “stronger” firm as a result.
Her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, said earlier this year the company would look to spin-off the hardware arm.
PSG is the world’s biggest maker of personal computers.
Ms Whitman said in a statement: “Keeping PSG within HP is right. HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG.
“HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger,” said Ms Whitman, a former eBay executive who took over in September.
She added: “It’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.”
Analysts welcomed the decision, with Forrester’s Frank Gillett saying: “Hopefully this is a beginning of a set of events over the next year that demonstrates the board has a better grip on things.”
The plan to sell PSG was part of Mr Apotheker’s strategy to refocus HP on software and cloud services.
But within months of being appointed in November last year, shareholders and analysts became uneasy about his planned changes and subsequent acquisition of the UK software company Autonomy.
HP shares fell 20% the day after Mr Apotheker announced the possible spin-off of the PC arm, and lost 40% of their value during his tenure.
Shares in the company rose 4.8% on Thursday.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/business-15487317
Small and medium manufacturing businesses that don’t put IT high up in their strategy decisions are scuppering their chances of success, according to a new study.
Researchers at Concordia University in Canada looked at IT performance at 44 manufacturing SMEs (those with between 10 and 299 employees) in France and found that the role they gave to their technological applications had a direct effect on their business value.
The business school researchers said that the internet was key to surviving, much less competing, in a fragile economy, but IT applications that allowed small manufacturers to control their channel and assess the impact of their product on the market were also important.
The research showed that SMEs often leave IT to the finance or accounting department when they should be looking at technology at the management level, something many BOFH readers will know plenty about.
“We found that the role given to technological applications in a manufacturing SME’s strategic plan positively affects how they perform for the business,” said Anne-Marie Croteau, an associate professor in the department of decision sciences and management information systems (DSMIS) at Concordia’s school of business.
“First, it affects IT performance directly, and second, it affects how IT performs in an indirect way, via its influence on how well the technology is managed but how users exploit the information made available to them through the applications,” she added.
The study said that an autonomous IT with a designated manager high up on the ladder was “an indication of a sophisticated management”.
The research was presented as part of the Sixth International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services. ®
26 October 2011
Last updated at 10:29
Nokia unveiled its new Lumia phones at a London event
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has launched two new smartphones based on Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7.5 operating system.
The Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710 mark the beginning of Nokia’s fightback against Apple’s iPhone and rivals using Google’s Android software.
Nokia’s new boss, Stephen Elop, had previously warned that the company was stuck on a “burning platform”.
Today he said the launch marked the “rebirth” of Nokia.
In an unusual move for the company, it will start shipping the Lumia 800 range almost immediately and hit the shops in France, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain and the Netherlands in November.
The firm also announced four new basic phones.
The brightly coloured handsets are pitched at developing countries.
Mr Elop said the phones would blur the boundaries between feature phones and smart phones, bringing the internet “to the next billion people”.
The new range will be called Asha, a name that clearly identifies Nokia’s target market: the name is derived from the Hindi word for “hope”.
Although the phones will be relatively cheap, they will sport features like touch screens, 5 mega pixel cameras, bright screens, 32GB storage for music and long battery life.
Profit margins in the market for basic phones are razor thin, and so Nokia’s main focus will be on its new smartphones.
Until recently, the company was the world’s largest maker of smartphones.
However, its market share has been falling rapidly, and in one of his first moves after taking over at Nokia a year ago, Mr Elop ditched Nokia’s two operating systems for phones – the venerable Symbian and the Linux-based MeeGo – and struck a broad alliance with Microsoft.
Continue reading the main story
The question is will Indian and Chinese consumers continue to want Nokia phones if they are shunned by American and European buyers?”
Now Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7.5 operating system, also dubbed Mango, will power all Nokia’s smartphones.
Mr Elop acknowledged that the Lumia 800 was a design development of a previous Nokia phone, the MeeGo-based N9.
Mr Elop said the “Lumia is the first real Windows phone” and predicted the company would be the leader in “smartphone design and craftsmanship”.
The Lumia 710, which comes in a range of funky colours, will be pitched as the “affordable” Windows phone.
The phone’s product manager, Kevin Shiels, said the new phones would have integrated cameras with high-end Carl Zeiss lenses.
In an explicit dig at Apple’s iPhones, he demonstrated how Windows Phone shows information and updates directly on the first screen, without having to tap into applications.
Speaking at the Nokia World congress, Mr Elop said Nokia had “some tough decisions to make, but [we] have started to deliver some early results”.
Nokia had been seen as “reliable, trustworthy”, like a mother that will “comb your hair… but that’s not good enough,” he said.
“We expect people to see something special when they hear Nokia,” said Mr Elop.
To distinguish itself from other makers of Windows phones like HTC, Samsung and LG, Nokia is betting on a range of services.
Key among them is the integration of location-based services like Nokia Maps, real-time navigation software Nokia Drive, a live-streaming music service Mix Radio and Liveview, an augmented reality service.
Nokia’s navigation service Drive will be free. It will not run in an app but will use HTML 5 technology, and will be updated with traffic information in real-time.
Nokia will also deliver its phones with the ESPN sports hub, which will provide free access to text and video news from ESPN.
The biggest innovation, though, could be Nokia Pulse, a service that combines elements of social networking with location services. It allows users to share with friends and family experiences – from pictures to whereabouts to activities, integrated with Nokia’s mapping service
Shortly before Mr Elop announced the switch to Microsoft Windows Phone, he sent an email to his staff, in which he compared the company to a man on a burning platform, who had the choice of burning to death or jumping into the icy waters below.
The launch of the new phones is Nokia’s splash landing. Mr Elop will hope that the new hardware and software offering will be popular enough with consumers to allow the company to swim.
The Lumia 710 is a cheaper alternative to the 800 model
But it is not just Nokia that has a lot riding on the launch of these phones.
Software giant Microsoft has been struggling for years to break into the mobile phone market. Its most recent offering, the Windows Phone 7 software, has been well received but gained little traction in the market.
The company will hope that Nokia’s close relationship with mobile phone network operators around the world will give it the access to consumers that has been lacking so far.
The Lumia launch, with 35 network operators, will be accompanied by a campaign called “The Amazing Everyday” involving viral marketing stunts.
Microsoft is reportedly supporting both Nokia and Samsung with tens of millions of dollars to advertise new Windows Phones in the market.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/business-15459118