By Jeremy Wagstaff and Devidutta Tripathy SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's acquisition of Nokia's handset business gives the software behemoth control of its main Windows smartphone partner, but leaves a question mark over the bigger business it has bought: Nokia's cheap and basic phones that still dominate emerging markets like India. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has said he sees such phones - of which Nokia shipped more than 50 million last quarter - as an entree to more expensive fare. "We look at that as an excellent feeder system into the smartphone world and a way to touch people with our services even on much lower-end devices in many parts of the world," he said in a conference call to analysts on Tuesday. But analysts warn that's easier said than done. The problem, said Jayanth Kolla, partner at Convergence Catalyst, an India-based telecom research and advisory firm, is that Microsoft simply lacks Nokia's retail and supply chain experience in the Finnish company's most important markets. "The devices business, especially the non-smartphones business in emerging markets, is a completely different dynamic," he said. Kolla pointed to the need to manage tight supply chains, distribution, and building brands through word-of-mouth. "Microsoft doesn't have it in its DNA to run operations at this level," he said. India is a case in point. Nokia has been there since the mid 1990s and the country accounted for 7 percent of its 2012 revenue while the United States generated just 6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Its India roots run deep: it has a presence in 200,000 outlets, 70,000 of which sell only its devices. One of its biggest plants in the world is in the southern city of Chennai. For sure, Nokia has slipped in India as elsewhere: After nearly two decades as the market leader it was unseated by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in overall sales last quarter. But it still sold more of its more basic feature phones. As recently as last October, market research company Nielsen ranked it the top handset brand. The Economic Times ranked it the country's third most trusted brand. LOYALTY RUNS DEEP In a land of frequent power cuts and rugged roads, the sturdiness and longer battery life of Nokia's phones have won it a loyal fan base - some of whom have stayed loyal when trading up. Take Sunil Sachdeva, a Delhi-based executive, who has stuck with Nokia since his first phone. He has just bought his fifth: an upgrade to the Nokia Lumia smartphone running Microsoft's mobile operating system. "Technology-wise they are still the best," he said of Nokia. But Microsoft can't take such loyalty for granted. Challenging it and Samsung are local players such as Karbonn and Micromax, which are churning out smartphones running Google Inc's Android operating system for as little as $50. Such players are also denting Nokia's efforts to build its Asha brand, touchscreen devices perched somewhere between a feature phone and a smartphone. Nokia shipped 4.3 million Asha phones globally in the second quarter of this year, down from 5.0 million the previous quarter. "The sales performance of the Asha line has been quite poor," said Sameer Singh, Hyderabad-based analyst at BitChemy Ventures, an investor in local startups. "With increasing competition from the low-end smartphone vendors, I'm unsure how long that business will last." That leaves the cheap seats. Singh estimates that the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa accounted for two-thirds of Nokia's feature phone volumes in the last quarter, at an average selling price of between 25 to 30 euros ($32.99 to $39.59). "I don't see how Microsoft can really leverage this volume," he said. "The market is extremely price sensitive and margins are racing into negative territory." TOO BIG TO IGNORE The quandary for Microsoft is that while the basic phone market may be declining, it may simply be too big to ignore. "If you look at markets like India and Indonesia, more than 70 percent of the volume comes from the feature phone business," Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner said. "It's still a significant part of the overall market." That means that if Microsoft wants to herd this market up the value chain to its Windows phones, it needs to keep the Nokia and Asha brands afloat - while also narrowing the price gap between its smartphones and the feature phones and cheap smartphones. Microsoft has hinted that lowering prices of smartphones would be a priority. The Windows Phone series includes the top-end Lumia 1020, which comes with a 41-megapixel camera, while it also sells simpler models such as the Lumia 610 and 620 aimed at first-time smartphone buyers. "The lower price phone is a strategic initiative for the next Windows Phone release," Terry Myerson, vice president of operating systems said on the same conference call, while declining to provide details. An option for Microsoft, analysts said, would be to shoe-horn services like Bing search, Outlook webmail and Skype, the Internet telephony and messaging application, into the lower-end phones as a way to drive traffic to those services and make the devices more appealing. "So you can bundle services with these low-end products and that way you can reach a wider audience," said Finland-based Nordea Markets analyst Sami Sarkamies. But in the meantime Microsoft needs to brace for assault on all fronts as emerging market rivals see an opportunity to eat further into Nokia's market share. In India, said Convergent Catalyst's Kolla, cheap local Android brands have been held back by Nokia's strong promotion of its mid-tier Asha brand. "Now, I expect them to pounce," he said. ($1 = 0.7577 euros) (Reporting By Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore, Devidutta Tripathy in New Delhi, Bill Rigby in Seattle, Ritsuko Ando in Helsinki; Editing by Emily Kaiser)
- The Daily Beast
Chris Jackson/GettyThe queen has a brooch for every occasion—even the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. The queen’s mourning clothes, though a stark contrast to her usual pastel ensembles, came accented with a special accessory that paid homage to her partner of 73 years.According to Express, the queen wore her Richmond Brooch on Saturday. It’s one of the largest in her collection, the paper reported, and was a wedding present for her grandmother Queen Mary’s nuptials in 1893. Usually the Queen wears the pin, made of diamonds, with a hanging pear-shaped pearl drop. But that feature was removed for the funeral.The sparkling accessory lit up the queen’s all-black look, and matched her face mask—also black, with white trim around the edges. The monarch sat alone through the funeral, which was pared-down due to the pandemic, like so many others.Prince Harry and Prince William Reunite After Prince Philip’s Funeral, Where the Queen Sat AloneBut the queen was not solitary in her statement jewelry. Kate Middleton also brought her own. Actually, it came from the queen: the Duchess wore a four-strand pearl necklace borrowed from Elizabeth’s collection.Today reports that it was made with pearls gifted from the Japanese government. Princess Diana wore the choker to a dinner in 1982.Kate’s matching pearl-drop earrings, which peeked out from underneath her netted black fascinator, were also from the Queen’s jewelry box. For the somber affair, the Duchess was able to sneak in a dash of glamour with her veil and Roland Mouret dress.One photographer caught Kate right before she exited her vehicle, and she stared straight into the camera’s lens. Such determined, direct eye contact isn’t something the Duchess is known for, but her look set the tone for a dignified, if very different, type of royal funeral.As had been previously reported, the royals did not wear military dress. Following their father and grandfather’s coffin, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, and Prince Harry were all seen wearing medals, a compromise reached after an internal debate in the royal family about the appropriate dress for Harry and Andrew.Camilla Parker Bowles wore pearls and a brooch that also dripped with significance. As Hello noted, she showed up in the so-called Bugle brooch, which honored Philip’s tenure as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles, an infantry regiment of the British Army.For his final public engagement last year, the Duke of Edinburgh passed on his position to Camilla, who is his daughter-in-law. So it’s a significant and symbolic jewelry choice for the day.Princess Eugenie, a new mother who named her infant son after Philip, wore a netted veil to the ceremony. It was similar to Kate’s, though Eugenie paired hers with an oversized black headband.Unlike the other women, Eugenie did not wear much jewelry, save for a simple pair of earrings. She did, however, wear a rather trendy Gabriela Hearst trench coat, per the Daily Mail.Penny Brabourne, Countess Mountbatten, a close friend of Philip’s and fellow equestrian, was one of the 30 guests who was not a direct family member. (She is married to Philip’s godson, Norton Knatchbull.) She wore a black pillbox hat and fitted suit, along with a crystal fern brooch.Of course Meghan Markle, who is pregnant, was unable to travel from Los Angeles with Prince Harry. She might not have been there in person—the former Duchess reportedly watched from home—but Meghan ensured a part of her was present. Per The Daily Mail, Meghan left a handwritten note on a wreath left at the chapel. The royal family did not speak at the event. Emotions were expressed in other ways. Some of it was literal, like when Sophie, the Countess of Wessex wiped away tears in the chapel. Some of it was more symbolic, like the queen sitting alone while bidding goodbye to her husband. Or William and Harry chatting after the ceremony, two estranged brothers brought together through grief. And much of it was through fashion: small nods to history, and hand-me-downs representing the continuation of longstanding royal tradition. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
18-year-old man from Ohio with assault rifle and wearing gas mask taken into custody
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Edinburgh was the "glue" that held his wider family together, his German great niece said on Saturday. Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg said the Duke's longevity meant he was the one common link to the past for foreign-based branches of the family, for whom he was an "idol". Her brother, Prince Philipp, is one of three German relatives of the Duke given the honour of being among the 30 mourners at St George’s Chapel. The Duke's four sisters all married into the German aristocracy but were not invited to his wedding in 1947 because of sensitivities around the Second World War. However Prince Philip, who outlived all his sisters by decades, remained close to their descendants and often visited them in Germany. Speaking from Munich, Princess Xenia said: "He's been like a glue for the family, because sadly a lot of our grandmothers passed away much too early. "But he was always there, he was the link, so he brought all of us cousins, even though we were in Germany – a lot of us but not all of us – he brought us all together on a lot of family occasions, the last one having been his 90th birthday celebrations 10 years ago at Windsor. We were all there, there was a huge bunch of us, and it was lovely."
- The Telegraph
The historic family ties that prompted The Queen to invite German royalty Follow live updates from Prince Philip's funeral The Duke of Edinburgh's great niece, whose brother is in Windsor for his funeral on Saturday, has remembered Prince Philip as an "idol" for the younger generation of their family. Speaking from Munich, Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg said the Duke was a powerful role model to her and his "selflessness, lack of ego and sense of humour" will never be forgotten. Her tribute comes as the Queen prepares to say farewell to her husband of 73 years at Windsor Castle. "To all of us, he was an idol, he was somebody to look up to, we had enormous respect for him and it was always very exciting when he came to visit, and he came often," said Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. "And this has become clear to me in the week since he's died - the way he lived his life, his motto, which was an unwritten motto for us, this discipline, this selflessness, this lack of ego, but also his sense of humour always underlying all of that.
Four of the eight who died at a FedEx warehouse were members of the Sikh community.
- Business Insider
Jerry Falwell Jr.'s infamous photo with his pants unzipped was taken during a yacht party honoring a raunchy TV show, lawsuit says
When the photo was taken, Jerry Falwell Jr. was the president of an evangelical Christian university that bans sexual content and alcoholic drinks.
- FOX News Videos
A San Antonio, Texas, police officer was shot in the hand before he killed two suspects and injured a third during a gunfire exchange, authorities said.
Two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine. The reinforcement coincides with a huge build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine, something Moscow calls a temporary defensive exercise, and follows an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
In London's East End, there was both adoration for the monarchy and sharp criticism of some members of Britain's royal family on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip, who died a week ago after seven decades of service to his wife Queen Elizabeth. The queen, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and other senior royals will pay their last respects to Philip on Saturday at a ceremonial funeral at Windsor Castle that will be broadcast live by television stations across the world. "My TV's always off - I watch YouTube and just internet and social media stuff," said Johnathan Roach, a 33-year-old window cleaner in Whitechapel, east London.
An Ohio teen faces multiple charges after police arrested him for carrying an AK-47 throughout a Times Square subway station
The teen was identified as 18-year-old Saadiq Teague. Police said Teague's father was fatally shot during a police pursuit in Columbus, Ohio last month.
- Business Insider
4 virus variants are spreading in the US, and studies suggest they can make people sicker, evade the immune response, or spread faster. Here's why experts are concerned.
COVID-19 "variants of concern" include the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa. These new strains differ from the original in key ways.
The billion-tonne colossus known as A68 has so thoroughly fragmented it's no longer being tracked.
- Associated Press
The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species. “Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013. This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species.
- The Independent
Biden news: President plays golf for first time in office as woman charged with threatening VP Harris
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- FOX News Videos
Fox News co-host Kayleigh McEnany responds to Biden's progressive policy and U.S. intel backpedaling on Russian bounty story.
- The Independent
Tamika Palmer slams BLM Louisville and Kentucky state representative Attica Scott as frauds
Those figures are up from the 202,282,923 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by April 16 out of 258,502,815 doses delivered. The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech,, as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine as of 6 a.m. ET on Saturday. On Tuesday, U.S. federal health agencies recommended pausing the use of J&J COVID-19 vaccine for a few days after six women under age 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot.
- Yahoo News
The Biden administration is in a political and scientific conundrum. Even as its experts project confidence in the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, they are taking pains to show that safety and transparency are paramount. That could be a risky calculation.
Queen Elizabeth bade farewell to Prince Philip at a funeral on Saturday that celebrated his seven decades of service and gave grandsons William and Harry the chance to talk in public for the first time since claims of racism threw the family into crisis. Elizabeth, dressed in black and in a white trimmed black face mask, stood alone, head bowed as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault of St George's Chapel in a service attended by senior royals including heir Prince Charles. Prince Harry, who flew from the United States to attend the funeral, walked and talked with his brother William and wife Kate at the end of the service - the first time they have spoken in public since Harry and his wife Meghan gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month.
- The Independent
Trump’s post-presidency makeover: Former president losing weight, cutting back on M&Ms and ditching spray tan, report says
‘When I saw him, he looked healthier and in better physical condition than I had seen him in a long time,’ a Trump advisor says