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Big New Mobile Deals

Mega-billion dollar deals between Verizon, Vodafone, Microsoft and Nokia. It’s all about mobile computing. We dive in.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, left, shakes hands with Nokia's Chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa during a press conference in Espoo, Finland on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, left, shakes hands with Nokia’s Chairman of the Board Risto Siilasmaa during a press conference in Espoo, Finland on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP)

Giant deals on the mobile – wireless – front this week.  Verizon ready to pony up $130 billion dollars – the second biggest acquisition in world history – to own all of Verizon Wireless.  To buy the chunk it doesn’t own from Britain’s Vodaphone.

Microsoft putting up $7 billion to buy Nokia’s mobile business.  A final admission that the desktop PC era is over.  That it has to go mobile to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.  It’s all about mobile computing now, and how that will change our lives.

This hour, On Point:  The world goes mobile.  Our lives and billions follow.

- Tom Ashbrook


Brian Barrett, managing editor of the technology blog Gizmodo. (@brbarrett)

David Gerzof Richard, professor of social media and marketing at Emerson College. Founder of BigFish, a marketing and communications firm. (@davidgerzof)

Joe Brown, New York editor of Wired. (@joemfbrown)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Microsoft Acquires Nokia Units, and Leader – “Microsoft said it had reached an agreement to acquire the handset and services business of Nokia for about $7.2 billion, in an audacious effort to transform Microsoft’s business for a mobile era that has largely passed it by.”

USA Today: Vodafone completes Verizon Wireless sale for $130B – “The largest U.S. wireless carrier is now 100% American. In one of the most expensive acquisition deals ever, U.K.-based Vodafone said Monday that it agreed to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion in cash and stock.”

Bloomberg: Verizon Doubles Down on U.S. as AT&T Seeks a Hedge in Europe – “Verizon’s gamble contrasts with AT&T Inc. (T), which is hunting overseas for acquisitions that would offer better returns than the U.S. McAdam already has used $5 billion in deals in his two-year tenure as CEO to invest in the American wireless business just as the industry’s revenue growth stalls. The Vodafone deal lays the groundwork for what McAdam is betting will be a demand boom for a broad range of telecommunications services.”

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  • 2Gary2

    these should be blocked. its just another way for corporations to stifle competition and provide a substandard product for inflated prices–sort of like we have for internet service. We get slower speeds for more money than the other developed countries.

    Another failure of capitalism. Time to try something new.

    Please do not say we do not have capitalism we do and this is what it will always turn into. it is an inherent flaw of capitalism.

    • JobExperience

      Like American Airlines and US Airways merging?
      Pretty much. The object is stock manipulation, not technology. The hole in the DVD is healing up.

  • TyroneJ

    This smells like the HP-Compaq deal of years ago. Two companies with a history of bad corporate & product decisions merging into one company making good corporate decisions? Not very likely. Like the HP-Compaq deal, it won’t end well for the stockholders or the customers.

    • TFRX

      The big question is, Who’ll be the next Carly Fiorina, Peter Principling their way from bad CEO to worse Senate candidate?

  • Coastghost

    “It’s all about mobile computing.” (Insert laughtrack here.)
    No, Tom, et al., it’s NOT all about mobile computing: it’s all about the monetization of mobile computing, and probably worse things, too. (You think movies and TV went down the tubes? Watch our glorious internet.)

    • JobExperience

      When we want your opinion we’ll Tweet it to you.
      I see what you’re saying…. it’s scrolling now.

  • RolloMartins

    Any way you slice it, this is a big win for Google/Android. Maybe Microsoft has finally turned into that boring uncle who is now taking a nap in the chaise lounge.

    • JobExperience

      Personifying the dead again?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Do we really need more or better mobility?

    In the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Buckaroo Banzai made the humorously simple observation that Where ever you go, there you are.

    Mobile technology strives to defy this seemingly unavoidable conclusion.

    This merger is not about more mobility for the masses, it’s about mobilizing the reach of Microsoft and consolidating power.

    • JobExperience

      But ain’t the Information Superhighway wider and smoother in Europe and Japan? with lower tolls?

      Even Buckaroo Banzai can’t get “off the map” these days.
      People are now totally dependent because of no direct access to resources. Food actually “comes from the grocery store” because its initial source is proprietary information. Working hard when your fitness devices ain’t connected just makes you tireder. Anomic humans don’t count. They cease to exist even in limbo.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        Methinks making out has been replaced by sexting.

      • TFRX

        “Anomic” is a new word to me. Makes me wonder if I am an anomic human.

        • AC

          only if you want to be, right? i had to google it myself…..

    • geraldfnord

      I remember in 1993 seeing some pundits’ show in which someone opined that Americans would never accept national photo-id cards; they broke for a commercial for CitiBank[?]‘s new credit card whose big new feature was…your very own photo.

      We are properly afraid of giving out a lot of data to the State, but will sell it for a small bit of dubious pottage to a firm. Though this were strictly speaking voluntary, once it becomes harder and harder for a normal life not to include doing such, how many _will_ protect their own data, irrespective of how many _could_? This were bad in itself, and also we have seen just how zealously such ‘persons’ guard our privacy from the State (expectable: artificial persons, creatures of the law, had better respect it when the lawmen are serious [as they are when they want something, as opposed to when it's just the public's or employees' grievances] ).

  • Art Toegemann

    I embrace mobility, but it is false so say mobility means the death of the PC.

  • AC

    are the traditional media companies quietly buying into this market? i mean like cable, etc…

  • AC
  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Mobile computing is a misnomer for what most people do with their mobile devices. It’s more like mobile dithering. Moblie communications have become a huge distraction from one to one communications. Sure there are a bazillion cool apps to do useful stuff, but most of the time, the smart phone has replaced the TV as a means to kill time in new cool and hip useless ways.

  • jgeigerphoto

    Door Bot? Nothing new. I like this one much better:


  • Scott B

    If they want me that wired, they need to give me a European price plan, where $15@mo gets me more than 10 cents a minute for talking, and a phone I can use with any cell provider.

  • homebuilding

    Tom, later in hour two, the discussion moved to the actual consumer use of social media and hand held devices.

    Sometime, we might have part of a show dedicated to our increasingly ‘face down’ culture. HP has a recent teeee veeee ad where all shown individuals are looking down at their mobile equipment. It’s NOT a stretch to see a group of friends, congregated, perhaps for a restaurant–to see more than half of them concentrating (maybe the wrong word), rather clearly attending to the immediacy of their gizmos.

    Surely, at the least, there are crashes and falls in their future. And the level of concentration to social ties moves steadily toward tenuous, doesn’t it?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Are we adapting faster than we are devolving?

  • MurielV

    I just came back from one week in Kenya. Everyone there, poor, midlde-class, well-off, has a cell phone from which they buy food, pay bills, bank, etc, including on safaris in the remote National Parks. Cell phone technology is so much better in the rest of the world than in the US.

  • MurielV

    And cell phones as well as phone service are cheap allowing poorer people to go into small, individual businesses when they could not buy a regular computer.

  • AC

    given this convo, can Disqus pls fix their mobile app? oh wait, they don’t have one – pain in the neck

  • MsAbila

    This idea of being everywhere at anytime is misleading! I have to be cynical when it comes to these devices. They are good tools to do certain things but as human beings we need more than just mobile phones alerting us to do something or to receive a coupon to buy something just because we are visiting in a store to get some milk.

    Somebody on the program just mentioned being with his grandfather at the nursing home while he was hiking somewhere. What if grandpa needed to have a diaper change – where were you then? Was your the smartphone ‘smart’ enough to know to send a quick message to the nursing home staff to quickly change grandpa’s diaper?

    The main point of my post is that we don’t talk about the behavioral challenges these devices bring. With the rise of mobile device use, people may think they are at so many places at once and can do some many things at the same time – but the reality is that they can’t fully pay attention to one thing at a time because of the distraction.

    We need to discuss the ‘distraction factor’ of our technology.

  • Fran

    I am a property manager that owns my own business. I have a cell phone but no smartphone, nor do I want one. I don’t text, either. I prefer keeping to the dinosaur flip phone and my laptop. Voicemail and voice-to-voice conversations keep senseless traffic to a minimum.

  • Ani Td

    I am listening to the show right now on my iPad. I am also a Russian national who’s been living in Boston for 21 years, and my family lives in Siberia. By far, my favorite thing about mobile technology is illustrated by the following: during theis wonter’s large snowstorm in Boston, my mother Video-called me via Skype on my iPhone while is was underground on the T, and I showed her the impending storm once I got above ground. 20 years ago, I literally had to place trunk calls through operators to speak to my family, and it cost a fortune. Now, I have video chats with people all around the globe from under the pavement. I love being connected, and I am glad that mobile connectivity is the future.

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