Also in today's EMEA roundup: BT supports startups; Telefónica may Czech out; lipstick on pigs; online shopping habits.
As French labor unions prepare to protest in Paris today against proposed Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) job cuts, CEO Michel Combes has warned that the company "could disappear" unless the radical action is taken, reports Reuters. Last week the vendor announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, 900 of them in France, incurring the wrath of high-profile politicians and union leaders. (See Euronews: French Fury at AlcaLu Layoffs , Alcatel-Lucent to Cut 10,000 Jobs, and Alcatel-Lucent Builds Future Around IP.)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has partnered with TechHub, which offers collaborative workspace to would-be tech entrepreneurs, to launch the Infinity Lab program. BT hopes the competition could give rise to new applications and services that it could offer to customers to help them get the most out of their high-speed broadband connections. BT isn't going to invest in any startups (at least not for now), but is offering the winning entrepreneurs six months' support in areas such as marketing and engineering. They will also gain membership of TechHub's "community space" in East London's so-called Tech City.
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has told Reuters that it is exploring various "strategic options" for its Czech business, one of which may be the sale of its $3.6 billion stake in the unit to investment group PPF.
One of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s rivals has dismissed the search giant's proposals aimed at placating the European Commission's antitrust watchdog as akin to "putting lipstick on a pig." (If you want to know if this is a look that works, click here.) Google came under the antitrust spotlight for its perceived failure to adequately show links to rivals' services in its search results.
As the nights start drawing in and the temperature plummets here at Euronews Towers, our thoughts naturally turn to our chestnuts roasting on the open fire -- and the season of online shopping. What luck, then, that Eurostat has just released a study of Europe's online shopping habits. It seems Brits are the keenest, with 82 percent of Internet users filling their virtual trolleys in the past 12 months. Denmark and Sweden are close behind, on 79 percent each. Interestingly, Italy is way down the list, with only 29 percent buying online. Online shopping for food and groceries is still something of a minority sport, accounting for only 10 percent of Internet users or fewer in most member states, though again, the UK leads the way here with a figure of 21 percent.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading