Facebook Blocks Twitter’s Vine, U-Verse Back Online

In today’s mobile news roundup: Facebook blocks Vine from finding friends; Verizon to carry Nokia Laser later this year; U-Verse blackout ends; Samsung posts record Q4; and Lenovo eyes RIM for mobile growth.

Facebook blocks Vine from finding friends

The feud between Facebook and Twitter is heating up.  First, Facebook-owned Instagram terminated Twitter support, leaving Twitter users unable to post their Instagram photos on the microblog.  And now video-sharing app Vine, launched by Twitter just yesterday, is being blocked by Facebook.

Vine has a “find people” feature that allows users to find friends on Facebook and Twitter who are using the service.  When Vine launched, users were able to connect with Facebook friends, but the connection was severed by Facebook.  Now, if you click on the Facebook icon on the app, a popup appears telling you that Vine is not authorized to make that request from Facebook.

No comment yet from Facebook or Twitter.

Here with more analysis on Facebook’s decision to block Twitter is contributing editor John Casaretto, who appeared on this morning’s NewsDesk program with Kristin Feledy.

Verizon to carry Nokia Laser later this year

According to sources familiar with the matter, Verizon will be carrying a high-end Nokia device, dubbed Laser, later this year.  Nokia laser will have similar specifications as the Lumia 920, and sources claim that Microsoft will be backing the device heavily.

Nokia Laser will reportedly be Verizon’s flagship phone, which is a big vote of confidence from Verizon.  Nokia has yet to comment on the rumor.

U-Verse blackout over

After days of U-Verse being blacked out in some areas, affecting some 74,000 customers, the company announced that the suffering is over.  U-Verse is back online!

“U-verse service has been restored for all customers affected by the outage,” AT&T spokeswoman Emily Edmonds told CNN on Thursday. “We know our customers count on their U-verse service, and we apologize for the inconvenience.”

U-Verse is the phone, cable and Internet bundle offered by AT&T.

AT&T stated that the outage was due to a software upgrade, but the bug, which started the outage on Monday, was fixed by AT&T engineers on Thursday.  The company also announced that those affected by the outage will receive credit on their bills, which will appear within 30-60 days.

Samsung posts record Q4

Samsung holds on to the title of the largest seller of cellphones and smartphones for the fourth quarter of 2012, posting a 74 percent increase in profit.

Samsung’s net profit rose to 7.04 trillion won, or $6.6 billion, from 4.01 trillion won a year earlier.  Revenue rose 18 percent from a year earlier to 56.1 trillion won.  Cellphones and telecom equipment accounted for 62 percent of its operating profit in the fourth quarter.

“We’re expecting a recovery in market conditions for our component businesses due to investment cuts by rival companies and improvements in mobile-focused product demand,” Robert Yi, the company’s investor relations chief said on a conference call.

Though Samsung remains strong, just like Apple, the company’s growth may be stagnating.  Samsung’s profit margin for cellphones fell to 17.4 percent in the fourth quarter, down from the 18.8% marked in the previous quarter.  Analysts stated that the company will continue to be strong this year “due to a larger mix of products and particularly because of improving profitability in its chip and display operations.”  But because of the tiff with Apple,which seems to be working towards eventually cutting ties with Samsung, investors are becoming increasingly uncertain of Samsung’s ability to sustain such high profit margins.

Lenovo eyes RIM for mobile growth

Lenovo, the number two PC maker, knows that the PC business is declining and mobile is the company’s best bet to stay relevant in the industry.  Because of this, the company is exploring the possibility of acquiring or striking a partnership with companies that could help it boost mobile efforts.

“We are looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others,” Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

RIM is set to unveil two new BlackBerry 10 handsets at the end of the month, and the anticipation and intrigue surrounding the company has boosted its shares.  According to Bloomberg, RIM’s stocks have almost tripled since September.