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Certicom accepts RIM offer… rakes in $130 million

certicomlogoMississauga-based encryption technology company Certicom has announced that RIM will acquire all issued and outstanding common shares at a cash price of C$3.00 per share… there are about 43.7 million shares outstanding which makes this deal valued over $130-million.

RIM initially offered $1.50 per share, then Certicom took them to court, blocked the hostile takeover bid… later to be offered $2.10 by VeriSign and finally taken over by RIM. Since the last day of trading on December 2nd, 2008, this comes out to a staggering 252.9% over the TSX closing price.

Jeffrey Chisholm, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Certicom said “The Board of Directors of Certicom has concluded that the RIM transaction is in the best interests of the Corporation, and unanimously recommends that shareholders of Certicom vote in favour of the Plan of Arrangement at the shareholders’ special meeting to be held in respect of the RIM transaction.”

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Nokia lays off 320, closes R&D plant…

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Nokia has issues a statement that in order to “adapt to the market situation, Nokia today announced plans to close its mobile devices R&D site in Jyväskylä, concentrating mobile devices R&D in Finland at its sites in Tampere, Oulu, Salo and the Helsinki metropolitan area. Nokia also plans to scale down Salo production with staggered temporary lay-offs, aligning production with market demand while continuing operations without interruption.”

So for the 320 employees in Jyväskylä will be starting to look for new work as the plans are to officially shut it down by the end of 2009. (more…)

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Bell Q4: 470,000 activations (down 7.8%)… 2009: key execs getting the boot?

Bell Cuts Another 250 jobs. (We created this mock logo to see if things are getting better at Bell?)What a crazy year Bell had in 2008… botched 52 billion takeover bid, restructuring management and cutting almost 3,000 employees, a decision to invest in 4G LTE technology with TELUS.

Today Bell announced their Q4 results and BCE President and CEO George Cope said “This was another quarter of clear progress by the Bell team in executing on our strategic imperatives in order to achieve our goal: to be recognized by customers as Canada’s leading communications company”.

A few months ago in his 90-day plan he executed his Strategic Imperatives: Improve Customer Service, Accelerate Wireless, Leverage Wireline Momentum, Invest in Broadband Networks and Services, and Achieve a Competitive Cost Structure.

Although for 2008 their subscriber base reached 6,497,000 (up 4.5% over last year)… the Bell Q4 results show a “Total gross activations were 470,000 this quarter, or down 7.8% from last year’s record high; Postpaid net activations grew by 3.9% to 80,000 this quarter. Prepaid net activations decreased to 37,000 from the 118,000 experienced last year due to fewer prepaid gross activations and higher churn.” Some more juicy numbers show that “Wireless service revenues increased by 5.4% to $1,033 million due to a larger subscriber base. Wireless product revenues decreased by 17.9% to $92 million due to lower gross activations as a result of slowing economic conditions and heightened market competition, particularly in the prepaid market.”

Remember a short time ago that Bell was slapped with a $200 million lawsuit from its Dealers? I can now understand why they are somewhat frustrated as the Q4 report also states that the “cost of acquisition decreased by 4.8% to $373 per gross activation due to lower handset subsidies and lower commissions“.

What is more interesting is in their 2009 outlook and why they may not hit their numbers: “downward pressure on blended ARPU from our competitors’ discount brand pricing strategies, the potential for new wireless competitors to enter the market in the second half of 2009… health concerns about radio frequency emissions from wireless devices; delays in completion of the HSPA overlay of our wireless network and the successful implementation of the network build and sharing arrangement with Telus to achieve cost efficiencies and reduce deployment risks; and loss of key executives.”

Ouch… more execs getting the boot this year? Just blame it on the rain too!

[Bell]

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Virgin: 56% of Canadians rather hold their cellphone on Valentine’s Day

richard-loveVirgin Mobile has conducted another brilliant survey. This time is based all around Valentine’s Day. The survey shows that 56% of Canadians, aged 18 to 34, would rather hold their mobile phone than their partners hand.

And another staggering result is that 40% would give up their Valentine before their phone?? Whacked. Some more stats are recorded that 52% say their mobile phone is with them all day, every day. The survey was done between February 4th & 5th, 2009 of 1,000 randomly-selected Canadians.

Nathan Rosenberg, Virgin Mobile’s CMO said “Clearly, people have a deep love affair with their mobile phones, especially younger Canadians, and this survey shows just that… Virgin Mobile is happy to report that love is still alive, despite the deep bond that some people have with their mobile phone.”

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“Kindle Killer” Shortcovers appears on CBC

shortcovers-logoIndigo Books & Music is almost set to launch the “Kindle Killer” Shortcovers by the end of February. We first wrote about them during CES this year and can be found here.

For those not familiar with Shortcovers, it’s app will be available free on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices and basically turns your phone into a mobile bookstore. Users will be able to sample the first chapter for free, then have the option to purchase additional chapters for $0.99 if they want to continue reading.

With relationships with all major publishers the aim is to take on Amazon’s Kindle by coming in at a lower price point. CTO Michael Serbinis of Chapters Indigo said Shortcovers “won’t cost you $359 to start experiencing just how convenient it is to find your next great read”.  Seems like they will also have to take on Google as they have recently announced the availability of over 1.5 million out-of-copyright books.

Serbinis appeared on CBC The National and spoke about how Shortcovers is part of the growing e-book business that is estimated to be a $1 billion business a few years.

Update: Shortcovers has now put out a semi-tutorial of their upcoming product:

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Exclusive Interview: Public Mobile CTO Brian O’Shaughnessy

pblicmobilePublic Mobile, formally BMV holdings, launched their brand last week and have an overall goal to offer “unlimited flat-rate talk and text package, with no term commitment, no credit checks, no fine print and no surprises” for around $40 a month. They are looking for a Q3 official launch and availability of several devices.

During the Wireless Auction last summer a total of $52.3-million was invested to win the “G-block” licence. They will compete directly with Fido, Solo, Koodo, Virgin and Globalive. We had a brief conversation with Brian O’Shaughnessy, Public Mobile CTO, about their next steps.

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$99 iPhone coming this Summer?

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Have you been holding out for a more cost effective iPhone?

Good news from the rumour mill as Mike Abramsky at RBC Capital Markets has gone on record to say that Apple will most likely release a $99 iPhone this June or July… along with a revised set of data plans to meet the entry level pricing.

Abramsky said “Should Apple expand entry-level iPhone distribution beyond existing carriers and/or secure a higher subsidy, entry-level iPhone economics become more attractive. However, an entry-priced iPhone may make it difficult to sustain iPod momentum without lowering iPod pricing.”

In his 7-page report he did not give any insight into his sources but also stated that the iPhone 3G will get a “performance upgrade”. In regards to the nuts and bolts of the possible $99 iPhone, Abramsky said will be similar to the current design with the same screen size, lower resolution around 480×320. In addition, there will be no 3G, no GPS, and only a 2-megapixel camera… with no video.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said a few weeks ago about the iPhone Nano rumour: “You know us, we’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are. That’s not why we’re here. We’ll let somebody do that, our goal is not to be the unit share leader in the phone industry. It is to build the best phone.”

Only time will tell…

[Source]

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TELUS asks Canadian Small Businesses to “Play the Game”

telus-play-the-gameIf you own a small business in Canada you might want to get involved in a new contest by Telus… it can be worth up to $20,000 “technology makeover” if you win the big prize! The contest goes until October 30, 2009. If you’re interested you can start playing at: http://playthegame.telus.com

To enter, all you have to do is register online and play the skill testing brain game, basically you fill out surveys. Apart from the big kahuna prize there are 9 monthly draws for $1,000. The technology makeover is redeemed at Staples for all your office needs.

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VeriSign will not pursue RIM’s “Superior Proposal” of Certicom

certicomlogoThe Certicom/RIM/VeriSign saga has been fun to watch and would make a great movie.

Certicom has issued a statement that they have received notice “that VeriSign will not exercise its right to match the offer by Research In Motion Limited”. This now means that Certicom will officially be purchased by RIM for a “Superior Proposal” of $3.00 a share (close to $131 million)… double from what they originally offered. Certicom’s Board of Directors are meeting later to today to officially approve the RIM offer. Under the VeriSign agreement, Certicom will pay them a $4 million termination fee.

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