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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Financial Times
India has declared it will institute a ban on all BlackBerry services on Tuesday, affecting one million users in the country, according to FT. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October, the Indian government is escalating its intelligence gathering, which has resulted in an impasse with Research in Motion, a firm that has had a deadline to provide the government access to BlackBerry emails and messaging services. RIM states the demand is technically impossible, claiming the BlackBerry server is heavily encrypted and that it does not possess a key to break the codes, which belong to its customers. Stating its service is only one of many such encrypted communications services, RIM has offered instead to establish an “industry forum” to debate misuse prevention while ensuring privacy. Operators claim that although only corporate BlackBerry functions, and not private ones, need to be shut down, it will not be possible to distinguish between them, resulting in the need for all BlackBerry services to be shut down. 

FT reports that Nokia and Siemens have now publicly acknowledged talks over possible private equity investments in their 50-50 joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks, although both companies deny seeking an early exit from the venture ahead of its slated end in 2013. NSN, originally established in 2007 to compete with such rivals as Ericsson, acquired Motorola’s network infrastructure business for USD1.2 billion last month and has recently cut costs, making it more attractive for private equity companies. FT writes that sources close to the situation note interest from several potential investors in a deal worth up to USD1 billion, with the possibility of an initial public offering down the line. Rajeev Suri, CEO of NSN, stated fresh capital was not essential, but that the company was looking for new ideas and that private investment would provide “greater strength and flexibility.”

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