As I spent a good portion of the week considering the impressive move Motorola made by introducing a well-specced $179 smartphone, I realized they were doing something Nokia has been talking about doing for years. Never-mind for the moment whether Nokia should have gone all-in on Android before their risky and as-of-yet market share boosting bet on Windows Phone. In fact, I see that the thoughts I had in my head already being echoed by Stefan Constantinescu at Mobile Industry Review.
The Verge has a great behind-the-scenes look at Motorola’s Moto X factory in Texas that is currently pumping out around 100,000 units of the new flagship device per week. We reported this morning that Motorola is currently shipping a disappointing 100k units a week, so it’s not that surprising to learn that around 200,000 square feet of the factory is not being used.
To accomplish this, Motorola partnered with Flextronics to refab a factory in Texas formerly used by Nokia. In a mere six months, the factory was completely updated and transformed to Motorola’s specifications, which including the hiring of 2,500 workers to make it run. Motorola did not actually make a final call to do manufacturing in the US until late 2012, but the factory was operational by August 6th of this year. The factory currently puts out about 100,000 devices per week, but Motorola says that it’s possible to scale it to tens of millions of units. Given that more than half of the over 400,000 square foot factory floor sits unused right now, that’s not too hard to believe.
It also spoke with Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside about why bringing assembly to the US was crucial for the Moto X’s MotoMaker customizations features. Read more
According to a new report out of the Financial Times, Huawei is considering buying Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia. Richard Yu, Huawei’s consumer business group chairman explained at the company’s Ascend P6 launch event that Huawei is looking into the acquisition, but how far negotiations go would depend on the willingness of Nokia. “We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia. We are open-minded,” Yu stated.
Huawei is not a household name here in the United States when it comes to smartphones, most likely due to the company’s shaky relationship with the U.S. government, but Yu says the company is certainly looking to take on the likes of Samsung and Apple, and having Nokia behind it would definitely be helpful. Read more
According to a new report out of the Financial Times, Google is being investigated by European officials due to allegations that it has anti-competitive deals set up with select smartphone manufacturers. This isn’t the first time Google has run into trouble with the EU, as the company has been investigated for antitrust issues in the past.
Microsoft and Nokia made these allegations and claim that Google is forcing Android manufacturers to delay the launch of devices running their two operating systems. The European Union is also looking into claims that Google requires manufacturers to preload its services on their devices. Read more
While Samsung has conveniently left specific smartphone sales numbers out of its Q4 earnings release yesterday (as usual), today we get a look at the latest estimates for the quarter coming from research firms Strategy Analytics and IDC.
We know that Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones during the quarter, and today both research firms put Samsung just over 63 million units for Q4 2012. That means Samsung was able to capture 29 percent of the market last quarter (up from 36.2 million units and 22.5-percent of the market in the year ago quarter). Apple is of course a close second among the top five smartphone vendors with 21.8-percent—down slightly from the 23 percent it held in the same quarter last year. In Q4 2011, Apple and Samsung were neck and neck at about 23 percent of the market each.
The increasing market share for Apple, and especially Samsung, over the past year comes at the expense of Nokia. It experienced a drop from 16 percent to 5 percent of the market during the past year. Read more
“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made,” said Google in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, while Microsoft deemed the search engine’s filing as a “desperate tactic.”
According to the filing, Microsoft and Nokia entered agreements that allow Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce patents and share the outcome’s revenue. Reuters further specified that the two collaborating companies moved 1,200 patents to Mosaid.
Google called Mosaid a “patent troll” for holding patents and litigating hawkishly, and then it described its filing as a “pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners.” In a nutshell: Google’s “legal hazard” concerns if smartphone manufacturers begin to view Android as a legal danger, they may decide to do business with Microsoft and Nokia instead.
“Google is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 percent of mobile search and advertising,” added Microsoft in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal.