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Eurobites: Huawei Washes Its Hands of Arrested Exec in Poland

Paul Rainford
1/14/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica chooses Wind River for UNICA NFV program; TIM shows interest in BT's tainted Italian unit; Germany tightens the screw on Facebook.

  • In a move that might not have impressed country legend Tammy Wynette, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd has fired its head of sales in Poland, who last week was arrested on suspicion of spying. As Bloomberg reports, the Chinese giant said that the actions of Wang Weijing brought Huawei "into disrepute," and gave Wang his notice before judges even had time to hear the plea of the accused. Huawei has been the subject of security concerns in a procession of countries that includes the US and the UK in recent months, all of which magnifies the significance of the arrest in Poland. (See Huawei's Head of Sales in Poland Arrested, Eurobites: Norway Contemplates Huawei Freeze-Out, Trump to Ban Huawei, ZTE in US in January? and Eurobites: Huawei Faces Device Sales Ban in UK.)

  • After extensive evaluation, Telefónica has chosen Wind River's Titanium Cloud virtualization platform to play a role in the Spanish operator's UNICA network virtualization program. (See Telefónica's Elizondo on UNICA's Promise of Network Automation.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has made an exploratory bid for BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Italian unit, which was the focus of a major accounting scandal for the UK incumbent back in 2017. According to Bloomberg, BT's Italian arm has also caught the attention of Wind Tre and Retelit. The irregularities at BT's Italian business were first revealed in October 2017, when BT estimated the cost of a write down at £145 million ($186 million). A longer investigation then massively revised the actual cost of the write down at £530 million ($680 million), and the whole mess was a significant factor in the departure of then-CEO Gavin Patterson. (See Dodgy Italian Job Savages BT Earnings, Share Price Tanks and BT's Patterson Feels Italian Heat.)

  • Meanwhile, Facebook 's European woes continue, with news that Germany's Federal Cartel Office plans to force the social media behemoth to stop gathering certain types of data on users -- particularly that data acquired from third-party apps using Facebook's platform. As Reuters reports, citing Germany newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Facebook disputes the antitrust watchdog's findings, maintaining it has done nothing wrong.

  • Sweden's Telia has joined forces with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Atomico, Bonnier and others to launch an AI Sustainability Center in Stockholm, which will look at ways of broadening the use of artificial intelligence while observing ethical and societal concerns. Established companies, startups, regulators, academia and policymakers are all expected to have input into the project.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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