Eurobites: BT Italia Suspends Key Execs – Report

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: another day, another automotive-telecom alliance; Salesforce wants EU to probe Microsoft/LinkedIn deal; Brexit doesn't mean Brexit.

  • BT Italia, which sells business services from the UK incumbent's Global Services unit, has suspended two of its key executives, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources. CEO Gianluca Cimini and COO Stefania Truzzoli were suspended earlier this week pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation, the subject of which has not been made public.

  • Earlier this week we had Nokia and friends teaming up to form the 5G Automotive Association; now 37 automotive companies have joined forces with various telecom bodies to create the Automotive-Telecom Alliance, to promote the wider deployment of connected and automated driving in Europe. Most of the big-name vehicle manufacturers have signed up, as have the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) , the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) , the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) and the GSM Association (GSMA) .

  • Yesterday Eurobites reported on how EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager warned that future ownership of user data could be a key factor in deciding whether or not proposed acquisitions gain the European Commission's approval: Today we see the potential ramifications of that approach, with Salesforce.com Inc. , which failed in its bid for LinkedIn Corp. , urging the Commission to investigate possible antitrust issues surrounding Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s $26 billion bid for the professional network. As Reuters reports, Salesforce claims the deal threatens competition, its Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton saying: "By gaining ownership of LinkedIn's unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage." (See Under Microsoft, LinkedIn's Big Cloud Plans Face Uncertain Future.)

  • In similar territory, the UK's new information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has told the BBC that she wants the UK to adopt forthcoming EU data protection laws, even though the country is due to exit the European Union in due course. "I don't think Brexit should mean Brexit when it comes to standards of data protection," she said.

  • UK regulator Ofcom has issued a new code of conduct intended to ensure that businesses get accurate information from prospective broadband suppliers before they sign on the dotted line. Ofcom's research found that, like consumers, businesses were confused about the potential true speed of the broadband services being offered, compared to the "headline" maximum speeds used in advertising. So far, BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM Group plc , TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), XLN and Zen have signed up to the voluntary Code.

  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and the Irish government are preparing to argue that the European Commission moved the goalposts on the investigation that prompted the Commission to force the Irish to claim $14.6 billion in back taxes off the technology giant, Bloomberg reports. The pair's argument is that the Commission omitted to notify them that there had been a change of emphasis in the investigation, though Margrethe Vestager's team refutes this. (See Eurobites: Don't Pick On Apple, Says Irish Telecom Tycoon.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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