1st - Nokia partners up with Microsoft and adopts Windows Phone
PhoneArena Awards 2011: Most Significant Deal
Ladies and gents, after bringing you the best innovations and the top technology breakthroughs of 2011, it is time for us to highlight the most significant deals that occurred over the past year. And no, it is not the 12 free games with every Kyocera Echo kind of deal that we are talking about. We mean business, serious business that the big boys in the wireless industry so much like to shake the tectonic plates with.
We believe that giving out a Most Significant Deal award is necessary because every shift of the mobile landscape affects everyone one way or another – from humble consumers to major corporations, no matter whether we feel it or not. But while some of the many deals that were struck in 2011 will fade away over time, there are those, which left a significant imprint on the industry carving the path of its development. Only three of them, however, will get mentioned today, and can you guess which ones we have selected? Read along to find out.
And the award goes to: Nokia adopts Windows Phone
It wasn't that long ago when Nokia was considered the sinking ship of the wireless industry. Symbian was slowly starting to look archaic in comparison to the ever-evolving Android and iOS, while MeeGo was nowhere near completion. Something had to be done ASAP if Nokia was to remain afloat.
The bomb was dropped on February 11 – the day on which Nokia announced that it is adopting Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. While Microsoft agreed to provide the software part of the symbiotic partnership, Nokia's responsibility was to bring Windows Phone to a broader spectrum of market segments, price points, and countries.
Well, fast forward several months in the future, and the fruits that the Nokia Microsoft deal was promised to bear are already a reality. The Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 were announced back in October proving that Nokia is not quite ready to kick the bucket just yet.
First runner-up: AT&T T-Mobile merger
The seas of the U.S. wireless industry were mostly calm back in March, but then one major announcement started what was to become a whirlpool of unknown proportions. AT&T, the nation's second largest wireless carrier at the time, unveiled its plans to purchase T-Mobile, the nation's fourth one, from its parent company Deutsche Telekom in exchange for $39 billion in cash and stocks.
But while AT&T was claiming that the deal was going to boost economic growth, create more jobs, and promote competition, others were not quite sure about that. Most notably, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse took each and every opportunity he had to oppose the merger fearing that the carrier he was given command of could be situated in a very uncomfortable position should Mecha AT&T become reality. And he had a point as if the merger had gone through, the biggest two of the nation's wireless carriers – AT&T and Verizon, would have had a duopoly over the market by controlling 43% and 39% of it respectively.
Well, there might be no AT&T T-Mobile merger after all as the carriers have already withdrawn their application papers from the FCC, but the story is not quite over yet. The companies might still try to push the deal forward once more should the right time come, but chances of that happening remain slim at this point.
Second runner-up: HTC acquires 51% share in Beats Audio
In the fierce battle in the smartphone arena, one needs something to make them stand out of the competition if they are to be successful. And HTC found a reliable partner to back it up in its fight – 51% of Beats Audio by Dr Dre was purchased by the Taiwanese company for no less than $300 million. It wasn't long until the HTC Rezound – the first smartphone enhanced with Beats Audio technology, hit the market and took one of the prime spots in the Android food chain.
However, this is nothing but the beginning. Not only are we about to be introduced to more HTC Android handsets bearing the familiar b logo, but the company's future Windows Phone lineup is expected to get a piece of the pie as well. And with the affinity of celebrities like Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber and LeBron James for the Beats brand, we are pretty confident that HTC is not going to play second fiddle on the smartphone scene.
These were the deals we believe made the most impact on the wireless industry, but the PhoneArena Awards of 2011 are far from over. There is another award to be presented as soon as tomorrow so stay tuned!