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Europe

No Joke for New JV

3:00 PM -- Is April 1, All Fools' Day, the best day to be launching a new business?

Clearly the team at Nokia Networks doesn't have any qualms about being referred to as an industry practical joke, as that's the day the new infrastructure joint venture comes into being, following a slight delay. (See Nokia Siemens Targets 4/1 and Nokia Slashes, Siemens Still Scandalized.)

And this is a company, with pro forma revenues of about $22 billion in 2006, ready to come out fighting from Day 1. Unlike Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which is now in its fourth month, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has already clearly set out its product portfolio, so that, from CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie down, the company's 60,000 staff know exactly what they're taking to the market. (See Nokia Siemens Reveals Product Picks.)

But there will also be the shadow of the Siemens corruption case hanging over the new venture. (See Nokia Siemens JV in Jeopardy.)

So the company has made it clear that the new venture's ethical policy will be based on those of the Finnish parent. "Since Nokia will consolidate the financial results of Nokia Siemens Networks, both companies have agreed that the compliance processes will be based on Nokia's system and practices," the new company notes in a press release. "Nokia Siemens Networks has zero tolerance for financial or other business misconduct and has also defined anti-corruption policies, principles and materials."

And Beresford-Wylie has had to position himself as the industry's most squeaky-clean executive. "Ethical behavior is about more than strong policies, programs and processes," he states in the release. "It is also about company culture and individual choice. Integrity will be a prominent and deeply embedded part of the Nokia Siemens Networks culture."

That could make for an interesting first morning of April Fools' hoaxes...

— Ray Le Maistre, Practical Jokes Editor, Light Reading

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