Verizon and Redbox-owner Coinstar on Monday announced a new joint venture in which the two companies will offer a new streaming video service. The joint venture was originally called “Project Zoetrope” and initial details began to surface in December of last year. It’s still unclear what the joint venture will be called or what exactly each company’s role will be, however Verizon said that the companies will begin to offer a “video on demand streaming and download service” that will no doubt compete directly with services such as Netflix and Vudu. Verizon’s press release follows below. More →
Samsung and Corning — best known for its Gorilla Glass products — announced a new joint venture this week that will manufacture specialty glass substrates for OLED displays. The joint venture will be based in South Korea and will combine Samsung’s OLED display technology with Corning’s ultra tough Lotus Glass substrate. The new displays will be utilized in mobile devices as well as larger products, such as televisions, and will be used in Samsung products and sold to other South Korean manufacturers. “Corning and Samsung have a long and successful partnership in the display industry, dating back nearly 40 years to the early days of television,” Corning chairman, President and CEO Wendell P. Weeks said. “The strength of our business relationship is built on Corning’s ability to develop and make high-technology glass with the key attributes that enable Samsung’s next-generation displays.” Samsung’s full press release follows after the break. More →
NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor, NEC and Panasonic announced plans on Tuesday to establish a joint venture in which the firms hope to work together to create LTE and LTE Advanced products. The fabless JV will specifically focus on the development of “feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality” for LTE and LTE Advanced networks. Products developed by the companies will be sold globally. NTT DoCoMo will invest $5.8 million in the joint venture but it is unclear how much of an ownership stake it will have, or how much the other five companies plan to invest. They hope to have the partnership fully established by March of next year. NTT DoCoMo’s press release follows after the break. More →
Samsung will purchase Sony’s 50% share of S-LCD, a joint venture created by both companies in 2004, for $939.6 million. Both companies will continue to cooperate on the development of new LCD panel technology, however, and Sony says it hopes to “secure a flexible and steady supply” of LCD panels from Samsung moving forward. “With whole ownership of S-LCD, Samsung anticipates heightened flexibility, speed and efficiency in both panel production and business operations,” Samsung said in the statement. Samsung expects the purchase to be finalized by the end of January 2012 pending approval from regulatory authorities. The full press release follows after the break. More →
AT&T is reportedly considering a joint venture with T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telekom instead of buying T-Mobile USA outright. Sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal said the plans are far from final, but such a deal could be looked at more closely now that AT&T is facing a number of roadblocks with its planned merger. AT&T recently withdrew its application from the FCC to acquire T-Mobile USA; the carrier will instead focus on a lawsuit brought against the merger by the Department of Justice, which is expected to begin in February. The FCC released a 109-page document that suggested it was not in favor of AT&T purchasing T-Mobile for a number of reasons, including an apparent failure on AT&T’s part to convince the FCC its T-Mobile USA acquisition would create new jobs.
Huawei announced on Monday its intentions to purchase Symantec’s 49% stake in Huawei Symantec, a joint venture between the two companies that was originally formed in 2008, giving Huawei full control of the company. “The integration of Huawei Symantec’s innovative security and storage technology with Huawei’s enterprise products will reinforce Huawei’s leading position in cloud computing,” said Guo Ping, deputy chairman of Huawei.” The $530 million purchase is still pending regulatory approval, but Huawei expects the deal to close during the first quarter of 2012. Read on for the full press release.
NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC and Panasonic are discussing a joint venture with Samsung that could be created as early as next year, Reuters reported recently. The companies will develop new smartphone baseband chips in an attempt to compete directly with Qualcomm, which currently has an 80% grip on the baseband chip industry. NTT DoCoMo will be the majority owner in the Japan-based joint venture and the total investment is expected to be about $390 million. The joint venture will help each firm cut down procurement costs. Samsung has considered using the new chips in its future family of GALAXY-branded handsets, but the group will also sell the new chips to other smartphone manufacturers. NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung have not yet announced formal plans for the venture. More →
Nokia and Siemens have given up efforts to sell Nokia Siemens Networks, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The firms had been trying to sell the joint venture, which has had troubles reporting a profit, for the past year. “The timing for selling the unit could hardly have been worse; there are clear signs from companies like LG and ASML of European handset market descending into a slump and selling a mobile network company on the eve of a handset market downturn is a tough challenge,” MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen told Reuters. Reportedly, a Siemens spokesperson also said that the firm was still looking to get out of NSN “sooner than later.” The Nokia Siemens joint venture was formed in 2007. More →
Facebook and Google are in separate talks to enter joint ventures with Skype, Reuters reported on Thursday. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also reportedly been in clandestine meetings discussing an all-out purchase of the VoIP service. Skype’s IPO, which is expected to occur later this year, could be worth $1 billion, however, deals with Facebook or Google could bring in as much as $3-$4 billion, Reuters said. Skype 5.0 launched in October of this year and added tight Facebook integration, but the social network has yet to include native video calling into its website or mobile applications. Google could benefit from Skype’s mobile technology to build out its Android video-chat feature, too, which just launched late last month. Neither company has offered a comment on the matter. More →
Apple announces Joint Venture to retail employees; looks to service small businesses at Apple Stores
On schedule and as we exclusively reported, Apple announced its Joint Venture service this weekend to Apple Store employees. The new offering aims to bring small business customers into retail stores, providing more business-centric and personalized services. Users can enroll in Joint Venture for an annual fee of $499. What does that steep fee get you? The fee covers up to five users (additional users can be added for $99 per person per year) and provides priority service at Apple’s Genius Bars (skip the line), phone support from business-focused Geniuses, loaner machines for repairs taking over 24-hours, and access to customized workshops. The new service is set to roll out beginning March 2nd.
There has been quite a bit of noise recently about a quarterly, morning meeting for Apple retail employees scheduled for this Sunday, February 27th. Apple retail staffers have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement — not a standard procedure for such meetings — sparking speculation about Macbook Pro, iPad, and other hardware-related unveilings. BGR has learned that the topic in question is a new, retail-based service being called Joint Venture. First rumored back in March of last year, Joint Venture is an extension of Apple’s current Genius Bar services aimed at small businesses and prosumers. Subscribers of the new service will be able to speak with a store-based Apple technician — lovingly referred to as Geniuses — over the phone for one-on-one consultation and troubleshooting, or they can request an on-site visit. Currently, Apple’s Geniuses are not allowed to provide support remotely via the phone or in-person outside of Apple’s retail locations. A source has confirmed that Apple will reveal these plans to retail employees this Sunday, explaining how to properly position, explain, and sell the new offering. Not quite as sexy as new hardware or software, but it’s something, right?
Asustek confirmed Monday that the Garmin-ASUS joint venture it entered into with GPS giant Garmin two years ago will end early next year. The confirmation comes following last week’s report that the unsuccessful venture would come to an end when the companies’ deal expires in January 2011. With the popularity of navigation apps for smartphones exploding over the past few years, the joint venture seemingly started as an experiment that posed a single question: are consumers interested in a product that is a personal navigation device first and a smartphone second? The answer, at least in this case, is no. Further details on the split will be provided Tuesday, though initial reports suggest that the two companies will continue to work together in some capacity after their current deal terminates. More →
It was all but written in the stars, and now it is also written in the Chinese paper Economic Daily — Garmin will soon be un-ASUS’d and ASUS is losing its Garmin. The two companies will reportedly not be renewing a two-year contract that birthed such mediocre smartphones as the Nuvifone M20 and T-Mobile’s Garminfone. Truth be told, each of the aforementioned handsets provided a navigation experience that was well above average when it comes to phones, but a great integrated nav experience seemingly isn’t enough to seal the deal with smartphone-seeking end users. The joint venture that started with a bunch of question marks and exclamation points nearly two years ago will end with an ellipsis, however, as the two companies will apparently continue working together in some capacity; Garmin will provide navigation software for future ASUS-branded handsets. We would love to say something like, “It was fun while it lasted,” but we imagine the entire ordeal was pretty stressful for everyone involved.