The Mobile Lowdown 04-05-11: Apple Nasdaq; Jott Shut; HP; HTC Patents


Credit: Nasdaq

Our look at some of the big stories today in mobile: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) gets rebalanced on the stock exchange; Nuance closes down voice to text service Jott; HP (NYSE: HPQ) loses a senior mobile exec, reaches out to startups; and HTC buys up some wireless patents.

— Apple: Nasdaq OMX is planning a rebalancing of the Nasdaq-100 index that will see Apple’s share of the index reduced to 12 percent from its current share of more than 20 percent.

The WSJ (via Marketwatch) notes that this is being done to mitigate some of the effect that any change in Apple’s share price would have on the rest of the index. Apple’s shares have quadrupled in value in the last two years and its current market capitalization is $300 billion.

In all, 81 stocks are due to get rebalanced in the index of 100 top nonfinancial Nasdaq stocks, with the changes due to take effect at the beginning of May. Other companies in the index include Google (NSDQ: GOOG) — whose share will be 5.8 percent — and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) — which will see its share go up to 8.3 percent from 3.4 percent.

Over 2,900 financial products worth some $330 billion track the Nasdaq-100 and a big selloff is expected today to start bringing holdings in line with the changes.

Jott: Another change slated for the beginning of next month. The voice-to-text service Jott, which was bought by Nuance in July 2009 for an undisclosed sum, is shutting down as a standalone service.

In a blog post on its site, the company says that effective May 3, the Jott products will no longer be accessible. However, it looks like some of the Jott functionality will be reappearing elsewhere in Nuance’s portfolio, which is sold directly to users as well as via other service providers such as AT&T (NYSE: T), Rogers, Bell Canada, Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) and Vonage: “The reality is that the technology, service, talent and imagination of Jott will continue on as part of a far broader set of services,” writes the company.

Products that will be discontinued include Jott Assistant, Jott Voicemail, and Jott for Salesforce.

It’s not clear how many users of Jott there were — at the time of the acquisition there were hundreds of thousands. But what is perhaps more obvious is that there might be some more place for further consolidation in this market: at Nuance alone, Jott suggests four other voice-to-text products sold by the company, as well as Nuance-powered services sold via carriers, that could be useful substitutes for those Jotters left in the cold.

HP: In the lead-up to the commercial launch of HP’s new mobile handsets and tablet, a step forward and step back for the company.

Yesterday, HP announced a deal with the Angel Capital Association, a trade association for angel investor groups, to provide “business opportunities, developer programs and discounts on HP products” to its members and the 5,000 portfolio companies funded by them. It looks like the announcement covers all of HP’s products, from mobile handsets to printers and more.

This is a good step forward for the company in terms of putting its products up in front of emerging tech companies that are assessing different platforms, and thinking about where best to put their often-limited R&D budgets for new products. Ultimately, though, in terms of mobile services, startups will likely only develop for a new platform like WebOS if they can see a clear market for the work — and that will depend on enough consumers taking up the products, too.

The news comes on the same day as a senior personnel change, which is destabilizing at a time when the company is gearing up for its new product launches: AllThingsD reports that Joe Hayashi, who had been HP’s VP of product management for webOS, has left his role to become the VP of marketing for Numenta, a machine learning startup founded by ex-Palm executives. He has been replaced by Lee Ott, who had been senior director of local at Yahoo.

HTC: The Taiwan-based handset maker has paid $75 million to buy 82 global patents, and 14 more pending patents, from ADC Telecommunications, based in Minnesota, writes Taipei’s Economic Daily News (via The China Post).

The patents relate to 4G technologies — an area where Google yesterday said it would pay a Nortel minimum of $900 million for related patents too. In the midst of a slew of patent lawsuits in the mobile industry, HTC has been an active investor in patents, in November 2010 paying Intellectual Ventures an undisclosed sum for access to more than 30,000 patents.

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