Mobile third-quarter 2013: analysis and outlook

1Executive Summary

Three proposed acquisitions led the news in the third quarter of 2013: Verizon Communications Inc. struck a deal to take full ownership of Verizon Wireless by acquiring Vodafone Group PLC’s stake for $130 billion; Microsoft Corp. announced it will spend $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia Corp.; and a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. inked a preliminary agreement to buy BlackBerry Ltd. for $4.7 billion and take the struggling vendor private.

Meanwhile, Apple Inc. released two new iPhones — the latest version of its customary high-end device and a new, more affordable handset — and, just as importantly, gave the iOS 7 a major makeover.

Other highlights from the third quarter include:

  • The path of near field communication (NFC) to become the gold standard technology for mobile payments faces roadblocks. PayPal and Apple pushed initiatives based on Bluetooth low energy (BLE), a competing technology, which appears to be more convenient and affordable than NFC. Further tripping up NFC, Google Inc. dropped its NFC requirement for Google Wallet, and the new carrier-backed Isis system — based on NFC — continues to founder.
  • Twitter Inc. acquired the mobile ad exchange MoPub for reportedly $350 million. The pickup highlights the ever-increasing importance of providing advertisers more visibility into the performance of their mobile ad campaigns, enabling them to better determine return  on investment (ROI). Ad performance data is crucial for delivering accurately targeted mobile ads that ultimately fuel the market’s growth.
  • The first commercial handsets running Firefox OS came to market through carriers in Spain, Poland, Colombia and Venezuela. Mozilla has assembled an impressive list of carrier partners as it targets the low-end smartphone market. Its operating system is the first of several HTML5-focused platforms in various stages of rollout.

This report examines these and other developments in mobile during the third quarter, and discusses trends that will affect the industry through the rest of the year and beyond.

Source: flickr user Telstra Corporation

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Colin Gibbs

Colin Gibbs

Mobile Curator Gigaom Network

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