iFive: Microsoft Pays Nokia $1B, Facebook Movie Rentals, Adobe Morphs Flash, Nokia’s Music Phone, Angry Birds on Facebook

Groggily contemplating the world over a pre-commute cuppa joe? Let us help you with our easy-to-read early news roundup:

It’s International Women’s Day–and in fact it’s the hundredth such event. Google‘s celebrating with a new Doodle, and a link to the “Join me on the bridge” campaign, a congregation of women at over 300 bridge locations across the world. On with the news:


1. How much does it cost a big tech firm to buy a ride on a big cellphone maker’s hardware? Over a billion dollars. That’s how much, it’s emerged, Microsoft is paying Nokia to champion its ailing Windows Phone 7 OS for smartphones, in an attempt to revive both business’s hopes in the smartphone game that’s quickly being eaten up by Apple and Google. That kind of money may help Nokia’s off-kilter phone designs.

2. Warner Bros. is trying out a new way to rent movies to consumers over the Net–via Facebook. Starting with The Dark Knight, users can rent a movie for 30 Facebook credits or $3, and then have 48 hours to watch the movie inside a special Facebook app (which can be blown up to fill the whole screen). If you’re a Facebook addict you’ll be pleased to note you retain full functionality during the movie, which is certainly what WB is aiming at–lots of folks posting on friend’s walls to say they’re watching the film.

3. Stinging from Steve Jobs shunning of Flash on the hot-selling iPad and category-breaking iPhone, Adobe has just released a new technology dubbed Wallaby that it hopes will sneak Flash web-tech onto the iDevices. How? By automatically converting proprietary Flash files into open-standards, cross-browser-friendly HTML5 code. It’s not 100% a sop to Jobs, however, and demonstrates Adobe’s route to future revenues in an HTML5 world.

4. Trying to access new markets, Nokia has just launched a music-centric featurephone, the X1-00, that’s aimed at accessing the “next billion” consumers in emerging nations. It’s a simple phone, but it packs music-focused features including an FM radio and blasts (undistorted) music out loudly enough that it could act as a home’s entertainment center. Meanwhile Spotify, still aiming at the “next 500 million” in the U.S., has revealed it’s got over one million European subscribers.

5. As Zynga’s ‘Ville games cross from Facebook to smartphones, runaway iPhone success Angry Birds has just been confirmed as going the other way: The popular game will arrive on Facebook as an app sometime in May. It will apparently leverage Facebook’s social nature with some gameplay tweaks, including giving the pigs more prominence.

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