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Eurobites: Was Nokia Held to Ransom Over Symbian?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Europe's cable operators strategize; UK spooks licensed to spy on Facebook et al; Telefonica's new doubles partner.

  • Was Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) blackmailed over Symbian? That's the claim being made by Finland's MTV news channel, which says that in 2007 -- when Nokia ruled the handsets world -- the vendor paid millions of euros to a blackmailer to prevent an encryption key to the Symbian operating system being revealed to the world. And just like in all the best movies, the ransom money was apparently left in a bag in a parking lot. According to the news channel, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that the case in still unsolved, though Nokia, not surprisingly, has declined to comment.

  • Back to the present day, and Nokia has signed a contract with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) to deploy its IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), enabling du's customers to experience HD voice and HD video, amongst other mobile wonders. At the last count (Q1 2014), more than 7.5 million customers were on du's books.

  • The UK government has ruled that its intelligence agency, GCHQ, can legitimately snoop on Brits' use of Google, Facebook, and web-based email without specific warrants because the companies behind them are based abroad, reports the BBC. The platforms' foreign ownership means that communications made through them can be classed as "external communications" and therefore eavesdropping on them is covered by a general warrant that does not need special security clearance. (See Euronews: UK Spooks Tapped Into Yahoo Webcam Chats, Digging Into Mobile Security, and British Spooks Tap the Global Net.)

  • Cable Europe, the lobby group that connects broadband cable TV operators and their national trade bodies throughout the European Union, has called for the formulation of a pan-European spectrum strategy for the cable industry. Speaking at the 9th Annual European Spectrum Management Conference in Brussels, Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth urged all sides of the spectrum debate to work together on, amongst other things, "future-oriented planning." (At Eurobites Towers we always find that future-oriented planning works so much better than the retrospective kind.)

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has made a binding offer of €295 million (US$400 million) for Mediaset Spain's 22% stake in pay-TV firm Digital+, which last month Telefónica acquired for €750 million ($1.02 billion). Meanwhile, the Spanish giant has signed up indestructible tennis phenomenon Rafa Nadal as its new "global ambassador." As a result of this sponsorship, the "Rafa Nadal Academy By Movistar" will be brought into being in the star's native Majorca, promoting the benefits of sport in general and tennis in particular to children.

    Brilliant, super-fit, and a babe magnet: Cesar Alierta has it all.
    Brilliant, super-fit, and a babe magnet: César Alierta has it all.

  • Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW), Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer, is set to secure unconditional European Commission approval for its planned ₤3.8 billion ($6.38 billion) merger with Dixons, the UK-based electricals retailer, according to a Reuters report. (See Eurobites: IoT Drives UK Merger.)

  • A study by UK regulator Ofcom has found that the availability of high-speed broadband in cities is affected by the affluence of the particular area. In Glasgow, for example, Ofcom found that in the lowest income area, 57.8% had access to high-speed broadband, markedly lower than the city average of 67%. Go figure.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 6/19/2014 | 9:25:49 AM
    Re: Nokia And next it'll be: Give me 2 million dollars or the Betamax gets it!
    Kruz 6/19/2014 | 7:50:23 AM
    Nokia Oh no! So Symbian is still in danger??
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