An Apple-free look at some of the big stories in mobile today: HTC delivers bumper results; Skype faces a patent suit; the longstanding CEO of the GSMA wireless trade association steps down; AT&T (NYSE: T) gives frank comments on Windows Phone challenges; and Sony (NYSE: SNE) launches its newest PSP device, the Vita.
HTC: Impressive results for the Taiwan-based handset maker, which develops devices based on both the Android and the Windows Phone smartphone platforms. In a statement to the Taiwan stock market (via Reuters), HTC said that sales for the month of May totalled 40.62 billion Taiwan dollars ($1.4 billion). That is more than double the T$18.82 billion HTC took in May 2010.
The company has been bullish in trying to carve out a niche for itself distinctive from other Android and WP7 OEMs. Last week, it announced that it would make its Sense user interface open source to encourage more developers to create content and links directly within it.
— Skype: The internet calling giant, currently being acquired by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) for $8.5 billion, is also facing a patent lawsuit. The plaintiff is another Luxembourg-based company, Via Vadis, which claims that Skype is infringing on patents it owns that specify the management of data on distributed networks. It says that Skype is using this architecture in its “supernodes”, which site within its peer-to-peer network (via TechCrunch).
— GSMA: Rob Conway is stepping down as the longtime CEO of the GSMA, the wireless trade association that organizes the huge Mobile World Congress trade shows, among other events. He will formally leave the role on September 1, after 12 years in the job. In a statement, the GSMA does not give a reason for the departure. The organization is at a critical point in its direction — it is due to vote on which city will next host the MWC after six years in Barcelona; and a new chairman, Franco Bernabe, was only appointed earlier this year — and some believe that there have been tensions of late among top management. The board is now embarking on a search for a new CEO.
— AT&T and Windows Phone 7: In the wake of an interview in which Ralph de la Vega gave a frank assessment of the challenges for Microsoft with the first generation of Windows Phone 7 devices (“They just need to make it better.”), reports are surfacing of would-be WP7 customers getting hard-sold on other devices, namely Android models, when they do go to AT&T retailers to try to buy them. Not a promising message.
— Playstation Vita: While Sony continues to work on trying to restore the rest of the PlayStation Network, and restore some goodwill following the bad PR that came along with the repeated hacker attacks, the company has launched its latest PSP device, the Vita. The Vita, previewed at the E3 conference, features a five-inch touchscreen as well as front and rear cameras. A WiFi version will be selling for $250, while a version that also works on 3G — which will initially be sold exclusively via AT&T — will retail for $299.