Insight: As Ukraine Looks West To Europe, Russia’s Shadow Looms

Windows Phone gains ground in Europe

government’s first partial shutdown in 17 years, and as fears eased of a government collapse in Italy. European shares closed higher on Tuesday as investors shrugged off the U.S. government’s first partial shutdown in 17 years, and as fears eased of a government collapse in Italy. IBEX 35 — The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally up 0.6 percent at 1,254.36 points, after U.S. lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on the federal budget by the October 1 deadline. This triggered a partial government shutdown that left an estimated 800,000 federal employees facing temporary unpaid leave. economy. That does however mean that we will need to hear the right sounds out of Washington to feel confident enough that the shutdown will not damage economic growth,” Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital said in a research note. In the U.S., stocks extended their gains on the first trading day of the month and quarter, with all key S&P 500 sectors in positive territory. On the economic front, the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in almost 2-1/2 years in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). In Europe, the Italian FTSE MIB closed provisionally up 3.1 percent after the previous session’s heavy selling, as investors predicted the government would survive a confidence vote on Wednesday. The manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) fell to 51.1 in September, down from 51.4 in August.

Put out by Europe’s efforts to build closer relations with six countries in east Europe and the Caucasus – former Soviet republics that Russia regards as in its sphere of influence – Moscow has been steadily turning up the heat. Armenia was the first to cave, turning its back on an “association agreement” with the European Union and agreeing instead to join Russia’s customs union – a trade zone with Belarus and Kazakhstan launched in 2010. Moscow has also homed in on defense or trade vulnerabilities in Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan, although the first two remain likely to move ahead with closer EU ties at a special summit in Vilnius in late November. Belarus, despite friction with Moscow, remains firmly in Russia’s camp for now. The big question is Ukraine, economically and politically the most important of the partnership countries. Despite pressure on trade, including key gas supplies from Russia, which sees Ukraine as culturally its own, Kiev is determined to look West and seal closer links to Europe next month. That’s not what Moscow wants to hear, or will accept. “What we have seen during the past few weeks is brutal Russian pressure against the partnership countries of a sort that we haven’t seen in Europe for a very long time,” said Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt last month, describing Moscow’s actions as “economic warfare”. Russia has said it is merely protecting its interests. “Russia is in no way trying to infringe on anyone’s sovereign right to make decisions about their international activity,” President Vladimir Putin said in September. Nearly all the partnership countries do the vast majority of their trade with Russia and rely on it for gas. Moscow is concerned about a flood of European goods entering the country if Kiev signs a free trade agreement with the EU. Trade is particularly sensitive: Russia was Ukraine’s biggest trading partner but not any longer. Now it is the EU, with 27 percent of Ukraine’s exports and 34 percent of its imports, and the volume growing by double digits annually. Russia is also wary of the EU’s broader agenda.

September 30, 2013 10:55 AM PDT (Credit: Josh Miller/CNET) As you might expect, new research out today shows that Android is Europe’s favorite smartphone OS by a wide mile. But Windows Phone is turning into a serious contender. According to figures out Monday from researchers Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, Android featured on just over 70 percent of smartphones sold in the three months up to August across Europe’s five biggest markets: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Equally unsurprisingly, iOS is in second position with 16 percent of the smartphone market in Europe — a year over year rise of around two percentage points for both operating systems. Windows Phone, meanwhile, continues to grow its share in the five countries, hitting 9.2 percent — around double its 5.1 percent share for the same period last year. The jump has been fueled by significant gains in the three major European markets: France, Germany, and Great Britain. In the latter, its share has risen from 4.5 percent a year ago to 12 percent today, while in Germany it’s grown from 3.8 percent to 8.8 percent — the first time it’s hit double-digit share in either country. In Germany, that puts Windows Phone only one percentage point behind iOS in market share. Related posts Apple revives in-store pickup for iPhone 5S “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low- and midrange market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone,” Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. And despite recent turbulence and a proposed $7.2 billion takeover by Microsoft, Nokia, Windows Phone’s main hardware champion, is growing its own market share across some of Europe’s biggest markets. (Nokia accounted for four in five of all Windows Phone device sales across the five markets.) For the three months to the end of August, Nokia bagged 7.8 percent of all smartphone sales, up from 6.9 percent a year ago, inching up on third-place Sony, whose share stands at 8.2 percent, a slight rise over a year ago. LG is also seeing something of a comeback, increasing its European share to 6.1 percent from 2.1 percent a year ago.