Mobile flexibility for you or your employer?

I was reading an older article at the online edition of MIT Technology Review about mobility and productivity. An experiment at Boston Consulting Group with Deborah Lovich, a consultant and head of staff, and professor Leslie Perlow from Harvard Business School turned out to have very interesting results.

In one survey of 1,600 managers from multiple companies, Perlow found that about half checked e-mail continuously while on vacation or just before bedtime. Some didn’t stop there: 26 percent admitted to Perlow that they brought their mobile device into bed with them.

Perlow even wrote a book on this issue: Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work.

I liked this part:

Some companies, particularly in Europe, are starting to enforce time away from e-mail during nonwork hours. Volkswagen has programmed its e-mail servers to stop sending messages to many of its German employees after their shifts end. Atos Origin, a French IT company, has plans to end internal company e-mail entirely, claiming it is a waste of time—only 15 of the 100 e-mails its average employee received each day were deemed useful.

How can we do this? Especially when you work for a company that handles customers from different timezones and different cultures. Weekend is not Saturday and Sunday for everybody out there…

Read everything here: How Is Mobile Computing Good For Productivity?

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Mobility: More patents than in pharmaceuticals?

Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Ericsson, RIM and EMC grabbed 6,000 (yes six thousand) patents on wireless technology from Nortel for $4.5 billion! Google was planning to spend just $900 million to get them. The enemy of my enemy… you got it. A blog post has a lot of details on this acquisition:

Some consortium members get patents, some get royalties, and some just get freedom from having to pay royalties.

At the end of the day this deal isn’t about royalties. It is about trying to kill Android.

At the same time Microsoft is getting $5 for each Android device from HTC, Wistron, General Dynamics and is heading for Samsung, Motorola and others. The patent strategy proves to be worthy, too.

A very good reading on smartphone strategy written by one of the best analysts in the industry: One cuckoo, two turkeys and three horses; how the mobile race has changed | VisionMobile :: blog. This article is five months old but I remembered it while reading about the fight over Nortel’s patents.

There will be an increase in the use of patents to fight the cuckoo club and the almighty Apple.

And he continues:

Microsoft + Nokia: running with four legs

In the past few months Nokia realised that in order to halt its slide towards irrelevance, it had to take its head out of the sand and instead take a leap of faith. The brave gamble that Nokia has now chosen is perhaps not the ideal one, but it was the only strategy available for long-term survival and is a bold rejection of the short-termism demanded by short-sighted investors in accepting the call of the cuckoo. In tying Nokia and Microsoft together they have created a rather old-fashioned type of partnership but it will be a partnership of bones not a collection of feathers.

We’ll see…

Will a “cloud” acquisition bring sunshine?

What can you do, if you have $8.5 billion to invest? You can make the next office suite or you can just buy Skype and its 170 million “customers”.

If you were thinking that the Nokia-Microsoft alliance was a bit strange and the cooperation between RIM and Microsoft (you know, regarding Bing Search and Maps on Blackberry devices including PlayBook) was also unexpected, you may say that the Skype deal is something inexplicable. Microsoft already has its own platforms for public and private communications (Live Messenger and Lync Server). But it seems that they have in mind something bigger that we don’t know yet. $8.5 billion is a lot of money, especially when it’s “all cash”. I wonder, if Skype wasn’t in a bad financial situation, what would be the price for it? It’s 2010 EBITDA was just $264 million…

Microsofts acquisition of Skype for 8.5 billion becomes official — Engadget.

Full press release:

Microsoft to Acquire Skype

Combined companies will benefit consumers, businesses and increase market opportunity.

REDMOND, Wash., and LUXEMBOURG – May 10, 2011 – Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) and Skype Global S.à r.l today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype, the leading Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. The combination will extend Skype’s world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft’s existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services.

With 170 million connected users and over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010, Skype has been a pioneer in creating rich, meaningful connections among friends, families and business colleagues globally. Microsoft has a long-standing focus and investment in real-time communications across its various platforms, including Lync (which saw 30 percent revenue growth in Q3), Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox LIVE.

Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.

“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Tony Bates. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate,” Bates said.

“Tony Bates has a great track record as a leader and will strengthen the Microsoft management team. I’m looking forward to Skype’s talented global workforce bringing its insights, ideas and experience to Microsoft,” Ballmer said.

Speaking on behalf of the investor group that sold Skype to Microsoft, Egon Durban, managing director of Silver Lake, said: “We are thrilled with Skype’s transformation during the period of our ownership and grateful for the extraordinary commitment of its management team and employees. We are excited about Skype’s long-term future with Microsoft, as it is poised to become one of the world’s most dynamic and comprehensive communications platforms.”

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Skype has made impressive progress over the past 18 months under Silver Lake’s leadership, increasing monthly calling minutes by 150 percent, developing new revenue streams and strategic partnerships, acquiring the intellectual property powering its peer-to-peer network, and recruiting an outstanding senior management team.

Other members of the selling investor group led by Silver Lake include eBay International AG, CPP Investment Board, Joltid Limited in partnership with Europlay Capital Advisors; and Andreessen Horowitz.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties hope to obtain all required regulatory clearances during the course of this calendar year.

About Skype
Skype is communications software whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they’re apart.

Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free.