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Eurobites: Swisscom Plans Its Own Google

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange looks to make a change in Africa; TeliaSonera's sub-Arctic fiber; storms hit eircom profits; Iliad under scrutiny from regulator.

  • You can't fault their ambition: Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has formed a partnership with media firm Tamedia to create what it hopes will be a "strong Swiss alternative to Google." The new venture will combine search companies local.ch and search.ch in a joint subsidiary, with Swisscom holding 69% and Tamedia the remainder. Confusingly, both Swisscom and Tamedia have recenntly launched takeover bids for PubliGroupe SA, another media firm.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has launched its third African incubator partnership and extended its "Data for Development" (D4D) program. The incubator, designed to spur new SMB startups in "future-oriented sectors," is based in Niger and follows similar efforts in Senegal and Mauritius. The D4D initiative is a competition open to teams of researchers that rewards the best suggested projects making use of anonymized data sets from Orange Senegal's mobile network. The aim of the competition is to tackle issues relating to the wellbeing of the local population, such as healthcare and agriculture.

  • Telia Company plans to lay more than 1,000km of new fiber to serve the cluster of data centers in and around the city of Luleĺ, just south of the Arctic Circle. The new fiber section, Skanova Backbone North, forms part of the operator's long-haul network and will be built by its subsidiary, Skanova. (See TeliaSonera Lays Fiber to Subarctic Data Centers .)

  • The cost of repairs to damage wreaked by Ireland's winter storms dented eir 's third-quarter profits, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down 8% compared with the previous year at €119 million (US$161 million). Revenues were also down, slipping by 5% to €315 million ($428 million). The operator said that the extreme weather in January and February caused €10 million ($13.6 million) worth of damage to its network.

  • French regulator Arcep is responding to complaints from Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s rivals that the cut-price mobile operator is not building out its network fast enough, reports Reuters. Iliad is supposed to cover 75% of the population by January 12, 2015. (See Euronews: Iliad Shares Soar in Wake of Bouygues Pact.)

  • The European response to the Court of Justice's "right to be forgotten" ruling continues: Bloomberg reports that the German government is considering the setting up of arbitration courts to pronounce upon what information people can legitimately force Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and its rivals to delete from search results. The interior ministry believes that automatic deletion of data would put public information at risk. (See The Right Not to Be Forgotten.)

  • UK cloud services provider Azzurri Communications has poached Chris Jagusz from SSE Telecoms as its new CEO. Prior to his time as managing director of SSE Telecoms, Jagusz held positions at BT Wholesale , among others.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's chairwoman of the board, Sun Yafang, met up with the UK government's Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, China. In the words of our esteemed Asia-Pacific specialist, Robert Clark, "Huawei will be sure to tap this Cable connection." You get a better class of gag in Eurobites.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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