Nokia’s fourth-quarter earnings report painted a grim picture of the Finnish phone maker’s business last quarter, but amid the red numbers peppered throughout Nokia’s earnings release, the high-level terms of its agreement with Microsoft were revealed. In exchange for royalty payments estimated to reach into the billions over the life of the agreement, Microsoft makes quarterly “platform support payments” of $250 million to Nokia according to the vendor’s earnings report. Read on for more. More →
Your prayers have been answered if you’ve been looking for a 4G LTE without having to empty out your wallet. Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, is now free with a two-year contract through January 26th. The ThunnderBolt was first announced last year during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and it’s a bit slower than the high-end smartphones on the market today. It offers a 1 GHz Snapdragon chip instead of the dual-core 1.4GHz processor that’s included in top-of-the-line Android devices. However, it’s also equipped with an 8-megapixel camera, a 4.3-inch display with an 800 x 480-pixel resolution and more. With Mobile World Congress right around the corner it’s tough to commit to a two-year contract with a year-old smartphone, but users on a budget might be happy to forgo the bells and whistles in an effort to save a little cash. More →
Mozilla announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with Google in which Google Search will remain the default search engine in Firefox for the next three years. “Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come,” said Google’s senior vice president of search, Alan Eustace. While terms of the agreement remain confidential, Mozilla reported in October that its partnership with Google helped the company achieve a large portion of the $123 million in revenue in reported last year, CNET said. More →
Australian Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett has ruled that Apple must show Samsung its contracts with Vodafone, SingTel and Telstra if it cannot reach an agreement on Samsung’s accusations that the iPhone maker contractually forces the carriers to subsidize the iPhone. Samsung has also argued that the Apple iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS infringe on its patents, and has sought to ban sales of the devices in Australia. Apple, however, has already successfully banned Samsung’s Australia-based subsidiaries from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. “We will resist any attempts by our friends to push us into a corner,” Apple lawyer Andrew Fox said. “This is quite clearly a fishing expedition.” Earlier this month, Samsung requested the iPhone 4S source code and, according to Bloomberg, Apple provided the company with 220 pages of code, but left out one file. Samsung also has ongoing lawsuits with Apple in Japan, Germany, France and the United States.
Sprint and Clearwire are negotiating a network-sharing contract that will last beyond 2012, Bloomberg recently reported, noting a 29% surge in Clearwire’s stock price earlier Wednesday. CEO Dan Hesse explained on a conference call that Sprint could take advantage of Clearwire’s network in an effort to balance traffic on its planned 4G LTE network. While Sprint is “making very good progress on the technical front with Clearwire,” a deal is not yet final or definite. Sprint announced earlier this month that it plans to accelerate its 4G LTE roll-out and will launch its first markets by the middle of next year. The project is expected to be fully completed in 2013. Sprint’s move to LTE had originally suggested that its WiMAX relationship with Clearwire was coming to an end, but it appears that is no longer the case. Like Sprint, Clearwire has also said it will deploy a 4G LTE network if it can find the money. Most recently the carrier was courting AT&T and Verizon in an effort to bring in enough cash for the roll-out, which it expects to cost $600 million. More →
Netflix on Thursday confirmed that as of early next year, it will no longer offer Starz content to its “Watch Instantly” subscribers. The streaming movie and television show service, which can be had for as little as $7.99 per month, allows users to stream any content from Netflix’s digital portfolio on demand. Said portfolio currently includes approximately 1,000 titles from the Starz movie library, and those films will all disappear as of March 1st next year when the current contract expires. According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix offered Starz as much as $300 million per year to continue offering its content, but Starz was pushing for a deal closer to the terms it has with DirectTV and Time Warner Cable, which reportedly amounts to approximately $7 per subscriber. Netflix service starts at just $7.99 per month, so the only option was to walk away. Read on for more. More →
J.D. Power and Associates announced on Thursday that Verizon Wireless ranked highest in the company’s 2011 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study, Volume 2. The carrier’s overall score was 770/1000, which was above the average 761 score in the ‘full service’ category. T-Mobile came in second place with a score of 766, followed by Sprint (752) and AT&T (751). J.D. Power and Associates also noted that non-contract customers have shorter wait times than customers with contracts (5.5 minutes versus 4.4 minutes). “There is also a disparity between the contract and non-contract segments in terms of the quality of the experience with the service representative,” J.D. Power and Associates senior director of wireless services Kirk Parsons said. “In particular, non-contract customers are considerably less satisfied than are contract customers in the areas of knowledge about plans; personal concern for customers; and apathy towards customers.” Boost Mobile ranked the best among non-contract carriers with a score of 763. Read on for the full press release. More →
Google told the Superior Court in Boston last week that it did nothing illegal with regard to blocking Skyhook’s contract with Motorola. Skyhook wireless, a private Boston-based LBS company, filed suit against Google in September 2010, alleging that the Internet giant interfered with a contract the company had recently been awarded by Motorola. The deal would see certain location-based services from Google replaced by Skyhook’s solution, which, according to Google Group Project Manager Steve Lee, were better and more accurate than Google’s own offering. Email chains made public as part of the hearings clearly show that Google took action to get its services back on Motorola phones, but Google contends that its actions were all legal. “To the extent Google took any action that affected Skyhook, those actions were the lawful exercise of legitimate rights of Google and therefore are not actionable,”Google said in a court filing. “If Skyhook suffered any damages, which is denied, then any such damages resulted solely from its own acts or omissions.” More →
Foxconn on Monday issued a formal response to reports from last week claiming the Chinese electronics manufacturer makes its employees sign a document promising they will not commit suicide or hold the company liable if they do. “Foxconn does not ask its employees to sign any such documents, any reports to the contrary are inaccurate,” a Foxconn spokesperson said in a statement. The company also denied overworking its laborers. “Foxconn takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our more than one million employees in China a safe and positive working environment and compensation and benefits that are competitive with all of our industry peers,” the spokesperson said. “In all cases, our basic wages are amongst the highest in our industry in each location and they are significantly higher than the government-directed minimum wage which is set based on a review of the cost of living in those locations.” The statement continued, “All overtime is voluntary and workers are not penalized should they choose not to work overtime.” Foxconn, which manufactures consumer electronics for a variety of companies including Apple, HP, Nokia and Dell, has been scrutinized repeatedly over the past few years following the suicides of at least 17 factory workers. More →
Terry Gou’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. is said to have landed an exclusive contract to build Nintendo’s next-generation video game console. According to a report on Wednesday from Taiwan Economic News, Hon Hai could begin shipping the Wii 2 to Nintendo as soon as this coming October. Nintendo’s Wii console had consistently been a best seller for the gaming giant, but interest has finally begun to dwindle as competitive offerings pick up steam despite their age. Nintendo’s Wii 2 is said to be a direct attack the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it will supposedly feature AMD’s new Radeon R700 GPU for outstanding graphics performance and HD video capabilities. With a rumored retail price between $350 and $450, the console may also be much more expensive than Nintendo’s current Wii console. A Wii 2 that lines up with these rumors would be an interesting move for Nintendo, which has found tremendous success with an inexpensive console aimed at more casual gamers compared to its competitors. More →
Verizon Wireless has confirmed to BGR that it will eliminate the option to sign on for a 1-year contract beginning on April 17th. “The reason behind the change is the greater majority of customers sign up for a 2 year contract and take advantage of the discounted (promotion) price,” a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told BGR in an email. “Customers will still have the option of choosing month to month, prepaid or service with a two year contract.” Verizon’s one-year contract option allowed subscribers to halve the length of their contracts by paying a price with a lower subsidy than the fully-subsidized two-year price. After April 17th, a customer purchasing a new device must either sign a two-year agreement and pay the standard advertised price, or pay the full cost of a handset, which is typically several hundred dollars above advertised two-year contract pricing.
CBS confirmed today with Dow Jones that it will pull some of its Showtime television shows from Netflix, and apparently Netflix is pretty shocked by the news. A Showtime spokesperson said that it will remove the episodes of shows that are currently still airing on television from Netflix’s portfolio when the current partnership deal between the CBS and Netflix ends this summer. “We’re perplexed by this,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesperson told Dow Jones. “We have great Showtime shows available on our service, and we expect to continue with those shows. We have a very good relationship with CBS and all its channels.” Two popular shows that are currently offered by Netflix and are still airing are “Californication” and “Dexter.” As big “Californication” fans here at BGR, we’re pretty bummed by the news. More →
The day is finally here — as if we even have to remind you. Verizon Wireless’ first LTE handset, the HTC ThunderBolt, is now available on store shelves and online, ready to take home. If you plan on being one of the very first consumers to acquire the 4G handset, and suck up some of those virgin LTE airwaves, you have options. Verizon Wireless, Best Buy, and a host of others will be selling the handset for $250 on-contract, but if you don’t mind waiting for the 4.3-inch monster to be mailed to you, Wirefly will be selling the device for $199.99 and Amazon Wireless has it priced at a very affordable $179.99. Who doesn’t like saving a little money? If you’re heading out to grab some lightning today, good luck. More →