Sony on Thursday announced the transaction to acquire Ericsson’s 50% stake in Sony Ericsson has been completed. Sony and Ericsson announced the deal last October, which was worth €1.05 billion in cash and made Sony Ericsson a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The company will be renamed to Sony Mobile Communications and will “further integrate the mobile phone business as a vital element of its electronics business, with the aim of accelerating convergence between Sony’s lineup of network enabled consumer electronics products, including smart phones, tablets, TVs and PCs.” Read on for Sony’s press release. More →
Microsoft announced on Friday that it has completed its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype. Skype will exist as a new division within Microsoft and Skype CEO Tony Bates will continue to serve as the head of the Skype team. In addition, Skype’s employees around the globe will remain in their current offices. Microsoft confirmed that it will work to integrate Skype into its existing products, but it did not specifically say which products or when that would begin to happen. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. The acquisition is still pending completion in several other countries. Read on for the full press release. More →
For those of you who were completely underwhelmed by the realities of Project Dark and have a fear of post-paid contract rate plans, T-Mobile has something new for you. Say hello to “T-Mobile Complete.” T-Mobile Complete, and the accompanying “Complete Kits”, will come with the phone of your choice and, uh, well…that’s about it. No contracts, commitments, or legalities involved. Now, we know what you are thinking, why is this news? Well, T-Mobile has stated that the BlackBerry 8520 will be included in these plans as well, and for the first time in the States you can get yourself a BlackBerry device and not be locked into a contract. Sounds good to us. Details are still scarce on the exact pricing of the 8520 and the accompanying pre-paid plan, but we’ve heard that the kits will start at $59 with unlimited talk plans starting around $50/month. What do you guys think? Good idea? No details on the T-Mobile website just yet, but you can hit the jump to read about the release.
Verizon Wireless announced on Friday that it has completed its acquisition of Alltel. Verizon paid $5.9 billion for the equity of Alltel and assumed all of Alltel’s approximately $22.2 billion in debt. Verizon will gain an additional 12.9 million customers, making Verizon the largest wireless carrier in the US with 83.7 million total customers. Verizon will maintain the Alltel brand and customers of Alltel will retain their current handsets and calling plans during the transition. Verizon will notify customers about changes that will impact future service so we assume at some point Alltel customers will have to forfeit their Alltel plan and select one of Verizon’s calling and/or data plans. Most customers will be able to keep their current handsets after the transition since both networks support the same CDMA technology. Verizon will also maintain Alltel’s existing GSM networks. Re-branding will begin in Q2 2009 and will continue through Q3 2009. No imminent layoffs were announced but the press release states:
Alltel employees below executive level will continue in their present jobs as Verizon Wireless assesses staffing needs required to best serve customers and achieve synergies.
When a company starts throwing around buzz words like “assess staffing needs” and “achieve synergies”, you can assume that layoffs will be announced at some point before the merger and re-branding is complete. As part of the conditions of the merger, Verizon Wireless will also divest overlapping properties in 105 markets that span 24 states and will affect nearly 2.1 million customers. When all is said and done, some of you will be leaving Verizon and a whole bunch of you will be joining Verizon. if you’re among those who will be affected, let us know in the comments if you are pleased, disappointed or ambivalent about the impending changes to your cellular service.