’s Top 6 Posts for September 2013

by Jeff Wiener on October 2, 2013

1. Fairfax Bids $4.7 Billion for BlackBerry, Aims to Take Company Private

Once Canada’s shining beacon of mobile dominance, the Research in Motion cum Blackberry we once knew and loved is no more, as this month, amidst warnings of disastrous fiscal reports and mass layoffs, the final nails of Blackberry’s coffin were secured.

The world didn’t have to wait long, though, to see what the future had in store for Blackberry, as a financial consortium led by current investor Fairfax Financial Holdings has proposed a purchase and privatization plan for the company, allowing the new ownership group to assess Blackberry’s strengths and find a way to license them.

2. Apple Doubles Down with Two New iPhones

One the much anticipated ‘budget’ downgrade of the iPhone line-up, the other the similarly anticipated upgrade of the entire franchise, Apple unveiled two new members of the iPhone family at its always overhyped annual release event held yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino.

Dubbed the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S respectively, the former is the long awaited ‘budget iPhone,’ a step down in price (and performance) from its bigger brothers, created specifically for burgeoning global markets where the standard iPhone is simply unattainable, while the latter is the newly upgraded fully packed version of the nation’s most popular smartphone, looking similar to its iPhone 5 predecessor but featuring a revamped interior that, at first blush, rockets the handset to the front of the smartphone class.

3. Its Official! Microsoft Acquires Nokia’s Mobile Division

In a move that has been two years in the making, Microsoft has officially acquired Nokia’s struggling mobile division. In May 2011, following the announcement that Microsoft and Nokia were partnering to create the next generation of Windows smartphones, rumours first emerged about this particular endgame scenario of such a relationship. While I was sceptical at the time (doubting the timing of the rumour more than the inevitability), the reality was that Microsoft was indeed kicking the tires of the fading mobile brand ahead of this paradigm altering acquisition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Redmond based PC giant has purchased Nokia’s mobile division for a cool $7 billion, a move that will instantly vault Microsoft into contention in the global cellphone space, allowing it to access Nokia’s worldwide market reach (its last true asset).

4. Fourteen Firms Confirmed for Spectrum Auction, Mobilicity Absent

After months of speculation and guessing about which networks would participate in the 700MHz spectrum auction, Industry Canadahas finally revealed the list of participants in line to make bids on January 14th.

Out of the fourteen participants listed, the two notable names missing from the list are struggling independents carriers Mobilicity and Public Mobile. Instead, the attention turns to several new bidders such as Feenix Wireless and Calgary-based 1170129 who are launching a venture called CCS Wireless. Several of the more established players such as Telus,Rogers,Belland Wind Mobile had all revealed previously that they would be participating in the auction before the list was released to the public.

5. Apple’s Present Struggles to Compete with Apple’s Past

We all knew that the torrid pace of expansion and the exponential rate of innovation of the smartphone market couldn’t last, at least we should have known, because the ironclad reality of business is, it never lasts. While smartphones have enjoyed five years in the limelight, with consumers lapping up every new advancement and salivating over every new feature, that blazing youthful passion we all had for this new and exciting market has, unsurprisingly, turned into the slow burn of a maturing relationship.

So perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on Apple because of this month’s veritable snooze fest, for while the company’s marketing machine will try to ram the hype down your throat that the new iPhone 5S and 5C are the greatest inventions since sliced bread, the truth is, there simply wasn’t that much to look at. But again, it’s really hard to compete with Apple, particularly when you are Apple, as everyone will always compare what you’re doing now to the great things you used to do, and that’s a fight a company like Apple simply can’t win.

6. Rogers and Sprint Pioneer In-Vehicle Wi-Fi

Although Wi-Fi technology has expanded in many areas over the past few years, the idea hasn’t yet worked its way into our cars or vehicles to help us enjoy the web while on the road. However, this could be all set to change as bothRogers and Sprint have revealed that they are working on developing a Wi-Fi network that will be included in personal vehicles.

This new technology would give drivers and passengers access to a high-speed internet connection whenever they are on the road. The move is something that is likely to go down well with the public although road safety organizations are concerned about the potential distractions to drivers.

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