Microsoft is preparing to ship its Windows Phone 8.1 update with two significant changes: a notification center and a Siri-like personal assistant. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is currently beta testing copies of Windows Phone 8.1 internally, with plans to fully detail its features at the Build Developer Conference in April, 2014.
In the three months to August, Windows Phone increased its share of the top five European markets (U.K., Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) to 9.2%. That’s up from just 5.1% over the same period a year ago. While its closer competitor BlackBerry posted a market share decline, Windows Phone also bested growth from Android and iOS. In Germany, Windows Phone has closed the market share gap with iOS and is now within just one percentage point. Much of this can be attributed to Nokia, which has attack the low-end and mid-tier markets in these countries with low-cost Windows Phone devices
Microsoft today announced the Windows Phone platform has surpassed 9 million transactions, which encompasses both app and in-app purchases, per day. At the same time, the company revealed a policy change for developers: it will no longer wait to receive app sales proceeds from carriers before issuing payment to developers.
Risto Siilasmaa has been the chairman of Nokia’s board since his appointment in May 2012. A Finnish entrepreneur, the founder and chairman of the board of F-Secure, Risto continues to lead Nokia into its next chapter.
Microsoft is spending $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia’s devices and services unit in a move that’s focused on the company’s “One Microsoft” plan. Although the pair were already working closely on Windows Phone, it’s clear there are some areas that could be improved. In an interview with CNET, Joe Belfiore — the head of Windows Phone product definition and design — has revealed that Nokia kept secrets from Microsoft.
Stephen Elop will step aside as CEO of Nokia and return to Microsoft as head of its devices team — this all on the heels of the recent announcement that Steve Ballmer would step down as Microsoft CEO within the next 12 months. According to Ballmer, the deal was in place before the public announcement of his plans to exit the company.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is hardly as influential as its desktop counterpart. And now that Steven A. Ballmer has announced plans to retire, it is easy to point fingers at the Microsoft chief executive for the lackluster success the company has had in mobile computing. But that would be an inaccurate recounting of the story. Mr. Ballmer took the helm at Microsoft in 2000, just as the company was preparing to enter the mobile business with Pocket PC 2002, the earliest version of Microsoft’s mobile software.
Users of smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system may finally catch up with their iOS and Android counterparts with an app for photo-sharing service Instagram. However, the app is not an official one from Instagram owner Facebook but rather one authored by French developed Rudy Huyn, tech site The Verge reported.
IDC has released its Mobile Phone Tracker report, showing that in the second quarter of 2013, Windows Phone is the second most widely used operating system in the Latin American region. The report shows that Windows Phone has been ranked second in Mexico for the second consecutive quarter, and in the second quarter of 2013, Windows Phone was also ranked second in both Colombia and Peru.