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Business

Microsoft has announced that the company has expanded its effort to cover 17 more countries with its Surface tablets. Redmond is attempting to get as many units sold to businesses through numerous authorised distributors previously unveiled in the US. With these distributors in place, bulk ordering can take place from education, government and business customers.

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Nokia has been delving in both the consumer and enterprise market, but has never really tackled the business sector with full force. The company then chose to back Microsoft and build hardware running Windows Phone. This gave Nokia numerous possibilities, one being stronger foundations for heading into the enterprise market and snapping up businesses.

What better way to get in bed with companies than partnering with the software giant that provides backend solutions?

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Nokia has announced a new partnership with Gi Group (www.gigroup.com), a leading Italian multinational human resources company. Replacing BlackBerry, Windows Phones will now be used as its business smartphone. Dealing with temporary employment, staff leasing, research and selection, outplacement, HR consulting and training in 19 countries around the world, mobile technology is certainly an important part of the business. 

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Microsoft today announced an increase in the length of the company's support lifecycle for Windows Phone 8, from 18 months to 36 months. Beginning with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft notes in an official blog post that updates, including security updates will be available for 36 months. Each update will (as we already know) incremental, with each release building on the preceding one. While the company will have the update available, the mobile operator and / or mobile phone manufacturer may control the distribution of updates.

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Today in Germany, the District Court of Mannheim ruled that HTC was not guilty of infringing on two patents owned by Nokia, including one involving the use of Google Play on HTC Android devices. The patent (EP0812120), which nebulously covers a "method for using services offered by a telecommunication network, a telecommunication system and a terminal for it," was one that HTC called the "flagship patent" in the suit that alleges over 45 intellectual property violations by HTC.

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Today Nokia released its financial Form 20-F to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission which outlines its long-term business targets and outlines their relationship with Microsoft. Amongst the dense financial lingo and obvious goals to grow their sales ahead of the market, while keeping costs down, came an interesting tidbit. In 2013, Nokia stands to receive more money from its partner Microsoft than it will pay out in royalties to them.

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The Windows Phone 8 Company Portal App does exactly what it says on the tin. The app enables Windows Phone 8 hardware that are managed by Microsoft System Center 2012 and Windows Intune to view, download and install business applications. Administrators are in control of the installation and signing of the app, which can then be made available to the management infrastructure to enable device enrolment.

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Nokia has announced that UK sports retailer Sports Direct has joined the line of companies moving across to Windows Phone 8 and will be adopting the Lumia 820. We appear to be banging a drum to a repetitious rhythm with these business success stories, but it's not often that we're able to shout out about big name companies joining the platform, and it's rare that Nokia has managed to bundle all its partnership deals into one month so far.

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Nokia has announced that Lumia Windows Phones will be used by select sales teams at The Coca-Cola Company in Vietnam and Cambodia. The hardware will be utilised on a daily basis by sales associates in the market for order processing, equipment validation and market execution improvement. The reasons behind the switch are a familiar story.

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Microsoft is due to demonstrate integration between Skype and Lync next week at its Lync Conference held in San Diego.

Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. A business version of Skype, if you will, that connects people everywhere, on Windows 8 and other devices, as part of their everyday productivity experience.

The integration will give Skype and Lync users that ability to contact each other, launch IM text sessions and communicate via audio calls. The integration should be delivered to customers in June with video conferencing integration coming later.

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Windows Phone has always had the foundation to excel in every market. For example, with Xbox on board it could be the killer mobile gaming device – once they work out a few kinks. Same could be said for business, every device has the best Office experience built-in, but it’s not exactly taking over the corporate world by storm yet.

It’s not that the platform doesn’t have the chops, it could just be a lack of communication about what it can do. So Microsoft has gone and set up the Windows Phone business hub (www.windowsphone.com/business) – a place where you can learn all about business features of the operating system.

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Microsoft is reportedly set to partner up with Samsung to push Windows Phone out to businesses. According to reports, the two companies are looking to form a similar partnership that Microsoft has developed with both Nokia and HTC with Windows Phone 8. This will come as a slight surprise to those who believe Samsung continue to place Windows Phone on the backbench while Android hardware remains top priority.

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As part of their 2012 initiative cut costs and realign certain business functions, Nokia announced it will begin outsourcing certain IT responsibilities to HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services.

This decision could affect about 1100 current Nokia employees, including 300 layoffs and up to 820 employees getting transferred to the aforementioned consulting firms. All changes are expected to occur solely within their workforce in Finland.

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Preliminary estimates by Nokia indicate that the Finnish phone giant's Q4 2012 financial performance has exceeded expectations in their Devices & Services division, thanks in large part to the success of their Lumia line of Windows Phone devices. Their estimates suggest that Nokia achieved what it calls "underlying profitability" in Q4. In a press release, CEO Steven Elop shared his thoughts on the news:

"We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in Devices & Services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks. We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter."

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We heard rumours of this app being in development as far back as early last year but it is now available to download for Windows Phone. RSA securID tokens should be familiar to many who work remotely, they allow business to secure access to their systems.

The app is an important addition to the business credentials Windows Phone now exhibits as a platform for work and play. Having the token on a users smartphone allows IT departments to stop giving out expensive hardware fobs to its mobile workers. The app is compatible with devices running Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8. Read on to find out more.

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Chinese electronics giant, Huawei, is opening a new Research and Development facility in Helsinki, Finland, home country of mobile phone competitor Nokia. The $90 million R&D venture will start with 30 employees whose purpose will be “optimizing the user experience of existing operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone 8" and is expected to grow over the next five years to as many as 100 employees...

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With the operating system juggernaut called Windows 8 looming closer by the day it seems everyone is talking about Windows. Is the conversation going to include Windows Phone more frequently too now?

Samsung’s UK vice president has dropped a few encouraging words about where the company sees opportunity in the business sector for an end-to-end solution for tablets and smartphones based on Windows 8.

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Recently-hired Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, has kicked off a new endeavor at Yahoo in which all employees will receive their choice of a free smartphone, including the Nokia Lumia 920. The program called "Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!" is intended to get workers using the same technologies as their customers and was announced to Yahoo employees across 22 countries in a memo, part of which said:

"We'd like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do."

Yahoo workers will get to choose from the Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, and HTC EVO 4G LTE and will cover the corresponding monthly voice and data plans as well. In a blow to RIM, Yahoo has made it part of their IT policy to no longer support Blackberries.

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Interestingly on the eve of another iOS announcement, there are signs that business leaders could be more excited about the combined possibilities of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 than iOS.  Jason Hiner spoke to some IT leaders to see what they were waiting for. The results were surprising.

Its no secret that IT departments have begrudgingly come to the current ethos of bringing your own device to work. Ever since the iPhone caught on, they have been forced to find ways to lock down and secure them, all the time trying to protect precious corporate data. I have personally worked in IT departments where they have been forced to relax corporate security by allowing iPads and iPhones and Android devices access to the network. It’s not a pretty sight, often times it has meant implementing a solution like Good to ensure that the device can provide a secure environment for email.  

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