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Tech News: Samsung Continues to Surpass Apple in Phone Production


Plus, the creator of the World Wide Web calls for innovation, the EU enlists tech companies to fill jobs, and Microsoft's profits dip

This column brings you the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on the world of technology every day.

The Samsung Juggernaut Widens Its Lead Over Apple

"If there were any doubts about Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) maintaining its world's-top-phone-manufacturer status for the short to medium-term future, they should be dispelled as of now. The Korean company's results for the fourth quarter of 2012 show profits up a whopping 76% since Q4 2011, reaching 7.04 trillion won ($6.55 billion).

"Much of that is down to Samsung's two Android flagships, the Galaxy S III and Note II. Samsung's Mobile Communications division brought in revenues of 27.23 trillion won ($25.35 billion) during the quarter, which represents just under half of the overall company's revenues in that period – remember that Samsung also makes everything from semiconductors to refrigerators.

"Samsung doesn't break out actual mobile phone shipment volumes in its financial reports, but analyst house IDC estimates shipments of 63.7 million smartphones during the quarter. That's up against Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) 47.8 million iPhone shipments during the same period."

Inventor of the World Wide Web Calls for More Online Innovation to Break Down Cultural Barriers and Build New Business Models

"Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, isn't entirely happy with what he has created - and has thrown down the gauntlet to web developers to come up with more disruptive forms of online communication that can break down cultural not just geographical barriers.

"Talking about the web as it is today, rather than the 'collaborative tool' he originally designed, he said: 'World peace has not miraculously occurred. People still mainly talk to their neighbors, people still mainly talk to the people who have the same religion, and the same culture, so for all it's breaking down geographical boundaries in principal it hasn't really broken down cultural boundaries. Can we develop systems on the Web which will actually help solve that sort of challenge?'"

Microsoft Profit Dips Ahead of Office Revamp

"Microsoft Corp's (NASDAQ:MSFT) quarterly profit edged lower as Office software sales slowed ahead of a new launch, offsetting a solid but unspectacular start for its Windows 8 operating system and sending the company's shares down 1.4%.

"The results mark a stark change from the 1990s, when Microsoft was the unchallenged king of computing and the release of a new Windows operating system would supercharge sales, generate excitement and generally boost its stock.

"None of that appears to be true now, as Microsoft has been overtaken by Apple Inc and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the rush toward mobile computing, while sales of traditional desktop computers are in decline."

Nokia, Telefónica, HP and Others Pledge Support for New EU Digital Skills Coalition
"In a boost to tech hopes, the European Commission has announced a digital skills coalition that brings together high-profile companies to help fill around 700,000 unfilled ICT jobs.

"Vice President of the EU Commission, Neelie Kroes pointed out on her blog earlier this week that getting the right skills and jobs together to help give Europe a competitive edge was her mission at Davos this year.

"According to the EU Commission, the number of digital vacancies across the continent is growing but the number of graduates and other ICT works with the required skills is shrinking.

"In order to combat this, the coalition is taking pledges from companies that can offer training, free online university courses and startup cash to get things going. So far Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Telefónica (NYSE:TEF), Randstad (AMS:RAND), SAP (NYSE:SAP), ENI (NYSE:ENI), Telenor Group (PINK:TELNF), and ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) have made pledges."

BlackBerry 10: How RIM is Reaching Out to Developers
"RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) has been stepping up its outreach to developers, perhaps realizing a rich and thriving app ecosystem is now an essential requirement for any smartphone platform.

"Indeed, it's been trying to close the gap on Android and iOS in a number of ways. For example, in May 2012, RIM launched its series of developer-focused BlackBerry Jam World Tour events, providing presentations, workshops and access to RIM employees to developers.

"Since the first, there have been a total of 44 events, hosted in 37 different countries and attended by nearly 9,500 people. Over the course of these events, RIM has issued more than 8,000 'Dev Alpha' test hardware units to developers in order to help them familiarize themselves with the platform and build apps that take advantage of the core features."
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