Another hurdle is out of Redmond’s way to close its acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division. The European Commission approved the deal today, saying that the overlap of the activities of both companies is minimal and strong rivals such as Apple and Samsung will continue to compete with the merged entity. European Commission’s approval comes merely days after the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal from its end. With Nokia shareholder approval already in the bag, there’s not much that can jeopardize the deal in any way now.
When Microsoft announced its decision to acquire Nokia’s division for $7.17 billion, it detailed its intention to close the transaction in early 2014. Given how smoothly all regulatory hurdles have been crossed, it certainly looks like Microsoft will be able to meet the timeline it set out. Upon completion of the deal, Microsoft will take residence in the once iconic Nokia House. Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will head back to Redmond where he will lead an expanded devices team, which would include smartphones, Surface tablets and the Xbox console. There have been rumors that Elop is being considered for the CEO slot at Microsoft, though no official announcement has been made as yet.
It has already been said multiple times that Samsung is going to focus a lot more on tablets next year. The company is expected to release multiple large tablets, as large as 12.2 and 13.3 inches. These tablets are believed to enter mass production later this month, with release expected in early 2014. The latest rumors coming in from Korea suggest that Samsung is planning to adopt metal mesh touch screen panels for its tablets, and that it has already started testing a few panels and aims to complete reliability tests by the end of this month.
Since metal mesh panels have low surface resistance, they bend easily and can be used for flexible displays in tablets. They are also cheaper to produce. These panels would also enable Samsung to bring much better stylus support without needing a dedicated digitizer for deciphering stylus actions. What this means is that the metal mesh panels will allow Samsung to integrate better stylus support in almost all of its tablets, not just the premium models. Eliminating the need for a dedicated digitizer would further reduce costs. Another recent rumor suggests that Samsung might bring back AMOLED displays for tablets next year, but so far the company hasn’t confirmed anything about its tablet plans for next year.