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Nokia's Testing Titters

Handset behemoth Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) will be chuckling into its bottle of Finlandia this weekend following revelations that a consumer watchdog investigating the quality of its handset batteries may itself have fallen victim to the dodgy underworld of counterfeit goods.

Last month Unstrung reported on a series of incidents where Nokia cellphones resembled sticks of dynamite, causing injury to the unsuspecting owners (see Nokia's Flaming Fortunes).

Nokia initially denied responsibility for the faulty handsets, claiming that the use of counterfeit Nokia batteries were to blame in each case. European consumer boards were less than satisfied with this explanation, launching their own investigations into the matter.

In a rich twist of irony, it now seems the Belgian watchdog Test-Aankoop may be gorging on humble pie as it gathers 'round the family table for Sunday lunch. The group has acknowledged that its recent test results -- which led them to announce that Nokia batteries are unsafe -- were “most probably unreliable” due to the likely inclusion of counterfeit batteries in the test sample.

In light of this embarrassing setback, Test-Aankoop has agreed to a new round of tests, using only Nokia batteries [ed. note: i.e., the ones not labeled “Made in Tijuana”].

Meanwhile Nokia is prepping itself for a counterfeit war -- a market it describes as “a very sophisticated enemy” (see Nokia Fights Battery Woes). The vendor has promised to post illustrations of the most obvious examples of counterfeit batteries on its Website, and claims to have developed a series of “aggressive, regional anti-counterfeit measures.”

Naturally, the company can’t reveal the specifics just yet, for fear of giving the mischievous rogues “a headstart” [ed. note: hmmm... how very conveeenient].

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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