News briefs April 26, 2013

Toronto-based unified communications solutions maker Aastra Technologies is conducting an informal review of its options — including a sale or merger — after reporting a slim after tax profit of about $85,000 for the first quarter of the year during to falling revenue.

The company reported this week Q1 sales of $133.5 million compared to $147.3 million for the same quarter in 2012, a decrease of approximately 9.3 per cent. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, revenue dropped approximately 10.4 per cent from the same period last year.

“Q1 results were ugly,” wrote National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson in a note to investors, although cash flow is good.
“Aastra has attractive assets that would complement a strategic merger with a number of vendors including Mitel Networks, Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications,” he added. 

“We believe the company will ultimately be acquired by either a strategic competitor or private equity.”

The company makes the MX-ONE multimedia communications server, a contact centre and a number of desktop phones.


Samsung still Number 1 
Samsung Electronics extended its lead in smart phone sales in the first three months of the year, according to figures released Friday by Juniper Research.
The company estimates that Samsung shipped just over 68 million handsets, equal 34 per cent of all smart phone shipments in the quarter. Sales were led by its standard sized Galaxy S III handset and its oversized Note II.
Apple Inc., which this week announced falling profit, shipped 37.4 million of its iPhones. That’s up 7 per cent compared to Q1 2012.
In third place with just over 5 per cent of the market is LG, which shipped 10.3 million handsets, led by sales of its Optimus G and Nexus 4 units.China-based manufacturers Huawei and each shipped an estimated 10 million smart phones.
Nokia and BlackBerry are in a battle. Nokia shipped 6.1 million smart phones in the first quarter, while Juniper estimated BlackBerry shipped 6 million, one million of which were the new Z10 units.

Skype for BlackBerry’s new handsets is almost here.
A preview version of the app was released today on AppWorld for the Q10 – which won’t be released until May 1.
As for Z10 users, they’ll have to wait until the BB 10 operating system is upgraded to version 10.1. BlackBerry said in a news released that the upgrade will be released “in the coming weeks.”

Skype, which enables free voice and video calls over Wi-Fi to other Skype users, said the app will work similar to the version for Android smart phones. Once a user signs in their Skype contacts will be added to the BlackBerry phonebook. Skype notifications will be seen in the handset Hub.
To hype the coming of the app, BlackBerry is giving away three-month vouchers allowing unlimited calling around the world for Z10/Q10 owners.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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