Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia's tax troubles in India; Ericsson appoints new strategy head; analysts claim BSkyB's lost TV subscribers.
The European Commission is clamping down on what it sees as the abuse of smartphone patent rights by Motorola Mobility LLC and Samsung Corp. The Commission is focusing on so-called "standard essential patents" (SEPs), which relate to 2G and 3G technologies. The Commission believes that Motorola abused its "dominant position as a SEP holder" by seeking and then enforcing an injunction against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) in Germany, while it has required Samsung to commit to refrain from seeking SEP-related injunctions in Europe for the next five years. Samsung had sought injunctions against Apple in various EU member states on the basis of SEPs relating to the 3G standard. More details can be found on this Commission release. (See Euronews: EC Probes Moto Mobility and EC Hints at Smartphone Patent Probe.)
Despite deciding not to include its plant in Chennai in the sale of its handsets business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) isn't clear of tax complications in India yet. Reuters reports that state authorities in Tamil Nadu have demanded a $396 million sales tax payment from Nokia, relating to the Chennai plant, but a court in Madras has ordered them to reconsider and asked Nokia to deposit 10% of the disputed claim within eight weeks as a condition of the two sides meeting to renew their negotiations over the claim. The authorities had alleged that handsets from the Chennai plant were being sold in India rather than being exported, a claim Nokia dismisses as "absurd".
Long-time Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) staffer Rima Qureshi has been appointed chief strategy officer by the Swedish giant. Qureshi has been with Ericsson for nearly 21 years, working in management roles all over the world. Among other resume highlights, she led the team charged with integrating the CDMA and LTE assets of Nortel Networks. (See Ericsson Appoints Chief Strategy Officer.)
Analysts at Credit Suisse and Berenberg have estimated that Sky has lost TV subscribers for the first time in more than a decade, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). The analysts believe that the satellite broadcaster lost around 5,000 subscribers net between December 2013 and March 2014, suggesting that rival pay-TV services offered by the likes of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) in the UK are taking their toll on the once all-conquering Sky TV offering. BSkyB will reveal its fiscal third-quarter results on Thursday. Meanwhile, BT has announced that it is to continue offering its Sport TV channels for free to broadband customers through the 2014/15 English Premier league soccer season. BT Sport is currently being delivered to 5 million UK homes, either direct from BT (3 million homes) or through wholesale deals with other TV service providers.
BT has partnered with Exostar , a provider of cloud-based identity and access management solutions for the life sciences industry, to offer scientists a means of gaining secure access to the BT for Life Sciences cloud computing platform.
Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has entered into a national roaming agreement with Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN)'s Norwegian subsidiary that spans 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage. Tele2 will use Telenor Norway's network to fill in the gaps in its own, which has become the country's third-largest mobile network in recent years.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading