Russian web giant Yandex may focus on customers in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but its research efforts are widespread — speech recognition R&D takes place in Zurich, and on Thursday the company said it’s coming to Berlin for mapping work. Yandex’s mapping partner is Navteq or, as it is known these days, Nokia Here, and Berlin has long been a hub for that team. Yandex said it will hire 30-40 people for its Berlin office during 2014 to work on its global Yandex.Maps service and, while the company still has no intention of pushing into the German market, a spokesman told me it would look into partnership opportunities with local startups.
Both TeleGeography and Cisco are pegging 2013 as the year that global 2G connections stopped growing globally, giving way to newer 3G and 4G devices. But it will be a long path toward obsolescence. Read more »
The deal should make it easier for shops to accept contactless payments from the handsets of Vodafone, EE and O2 customers. Read more »
Roger Levy says SkySQL will move into a relational database innovation phase now, rather than just trying to provide an alternative to Oracle’s MySQL. Read more »
The European Commission is happy with Google’s latest antitrust settlement proposals, but the Microsoft-funded complainants say they must be given a chance to market-test what Google is proposing. Read more »
The Czech security firm Avast, which provides popular consumer antivirus software, has taken an investment from European private equity outfit CVC. The amount has not been disclosed, but Avast says it puts a billion-dollar valuation on the company (perhaps it’s preparing to shop itself around). The company says it will use the cash to beef up its mobile security products and push further into the U.S. and Asian markets in particular. Globally speaking, Avast’s 200 million users give it an antivirus market share just above 15 percent, putting it in second place behind Microsoft.
A GCHQ presentation shows how the agency infiltrated and launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on chatrooms used by internet activists and hackers. Until now, no western state has been shown to use DDoS tactics. Read more »
Iridium and Globalstar have started selling satellite hotspots. They’re slow, and they’re expensive, but they’ll work on mountaintops, in the deepest jungle or most windswept desert, and in Iridium’s case, even at the Earth’s poles. Read more »
Netflix wants to spend close to $3 billion on content in 2014, which is why the company is raising additional debt. Read more »
Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s third CEO in 39 years, replacing Steve Ballmer at the helm. Bill Gates will remain on the board but relinquish his chairmanship to John Thompson. Read more »
Customers buying Telefonica Firefox OS handsets in Spain, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico will get exclusive access to the platform’s Line app, a competitor to the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Read more »
WebRTC is useful for all sorts of things, and it turns out peer-to-peer, real-time file transfer is one of them. Read more »
The Chaos Computer Club has filed a criminal complaint against the German government and the presidents of the German secret services over their NSA links, and it wants to call Edward Snowden as a witness. Read more »
Jean-Jacques Quisquater says the Belgian federal police tipped him off that he had been hacked in an attack related to that on telco Belgacom, which fell victim to GCHQ last year. Read more »
The former deputy director for cyber defense operations at the U.K.’s signals intelligence agency has made the leap to the private sector, heading up a firm with an unusual approach to network security. Read more »
Though certain details remain frustratingly absent, a CBC News report suggests Canadian spy agency CSEC unlawfully tracked people using free public Wi-Fi in a Canadian airport, and possibly elsewhere, in what was a trial run for a now-operational program. Read more »
The Berlin startup scene also has another big exit to be proud of, with the deal carrying a value of just under $24 million. Read more »
The online payments firm has provided a breakdown of the traffic it handled in the fourth quarter of 2013, showing from the e-commerce side how tablets are taking over from desktop PCs. Read more »
Berlin’s tech startup scene isn’t all about e-commerce and apps – there are a few hardware startups in there too, and one, Pockethernet, has just launched a $50,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its rather handy piece of kit. Aimed at network admins and other technicians, Pockethernet is a small Ethernet cable tester and network analyzer that hooks up to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The benefit here is that the brains of the device are offloaded to the handset, which cuts costs and allows for easy upgrades. The $200 retail price is a far cry from the $500+ you’d pay for more traditional Ethernet network analyzers. It may not be sexy, but it is smart.
Telegeography has published the 2014 edition of its submarine cable map, providing an excellent representation of the infrastructure that makes global connectivity global. Read more »
Having already opened three dedicated Samsung mobile stores in Spain, with handset retailer Carphone Warehouse managing the outlets, the companies announced on Wednesday that more than 60 Carphone Warehouse stores will be converted into Samsung shops. The stores, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands, will only sell Samsung mobile devices, laptops and wearables – no TVs or washing machines here. This is very much a head-on challenge to Apple’s stores. The fact that Carphone Warehouse is willing to sign this “preferred partner” agreement may also say something about Samsung’s trouncing of other Android manufacturers.
The Finnish firm has raised what it calls a “pre-Series A” round to help it hire more engineers and salespeople, as it pushes further into the U.S. market. Read more »
At the start of 2012, a Dutch court ordered two of the country’s ISPs, Ziggo and XS4ALL, to block access to The Pirate Bay, due to its frequent use for copyright infringement. Two years later, the providers have won their appeal against the blocking order, meaning customers will get to access The Pirate Bay again. According to XS4ALL’s lawyers, free speech specialists Bureau Brandeis, the key was the block’s ineffectiveness – EU law states that access providers don’t have to take measures that are disproportionate and/or ineffective. Looks like the legal system is catching up with today’s VPN and proxy-filled reality. ISPs in other blockade-happy European countries should take note.
The Berlin-based firm, which is developing a more touchy-feely alternative to LinkedIn’s legacy clutter, has taken on serial entrepreneur Thomas Madsen-Mygdal as chairman. Read more »
Golden Frog says Chameleon scrambles VPN metadata, making it harder for firewalls to spot that the traffic is VPN-protected. The protocol is proprietary, though, making its trustworthiness hard to evaluate. Read more »
If your devops team is sick and tired of clicking from cloud status page to cloud status page, they might want to check out Server Density’s Ops Dashboard. Read more »
Android device sales continued to rise overall in the final quarter of 2013 but the big winner in China isn’t a name you might have expected. The top dog isn’t Samsung; it’s Xiaomi, which only entered the market in 2010. Read more »
European Commission VP Neelie Kroes and Angry Birds Chief Marketing Officer Peter Vesterbacka are among the guest speakers at a Gigaom event in Brussels on Feb. 13 to promote and discuss the final results of a study into the EU app economy. Read more »
The world’s largest broadband provider outside China is about to get a bit bigger, as it is buying out what it doesn’t already own of Dutch cableco Ziggo. Newly-installed Ziggo CEO Rene Obermann will leave if the transaction goes through. Read more »
The latest twist in that very long-running rumor about AT&T buying Vodafone? AT&T said in a statement on Monday that it “does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone.” The statement came at the request of the U.K. Takeover Panel, and it means the U.S. carrier can’t launch a takeover bid or try to buy 30 percent or more of Vodafone stock for the next 6 months. However, according to Bloomberg, AT&T chief Randall Stephenson did discuss potential European takeovers with EU commissioner Neelie Kroes at Davos last week.
The U.S. uses its digital surveillance capabilities to commit industrial espionage, Edward Snowden has claimed in an interview with German network NDR, broadcast on Sunday night. The NSA whistleblower suggested German industrial giant Siemens was a target, with information being taken by the intelligence agency even when it had nothing to do with national security. When the agency was previously shown to have spied on Brazil’s Petrobras, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper insisted it never used that information to give U.S. firms an unfair advantage. Australia’s intelligence agency, an NSA partner, has reportedly spied on Japanese firms for the benefit of Australian companies, and France is generally seen as a world leader in that regard.
Max Mosley has for the second time won a case that forces Google to act as a censor. The search giant is appealing the ruling. Read more »
The activist coalition Privacy Not Prism has made some headway in its quest to prove that mass surveillance by UK intelligence agencies is illegal. Read more »
Consumers complaining of poor Netflix and YouTube streams on certain ISP networks are the pawns in a fight over internet business models. Too bad knowing why this happens doesn’t fix this problem. Read more »
The payments startup has become a hot item since PayPal/eBay’s $800 million acquisition of competitor Braintree. As e-commerce increasingly shifts to mobile payments and collaborative consumption, Stripe’s developer-friendly payments platform holds a key advantage. Read more »
Europe’s in the process of thrashing out its first explicit net neutrality legislation, and amendments made on Thursday mean ISPs and content providers will no longer have a legally-protected right to strike deals with one another. Read more »
The company, which takes in many of the original MySQL crowd, is taking its fight against Oracle into the enterprise as promised. The bundle is unsurprisingly called MariaDB Enterprise. Read more »
Microsoft says foreign customers will be able to choose to have their data stored outside the U.S. However, there are a couple of problems to bear in mind, with the big one being the Patriot Act. Read more »
The multi-modal travel service hopes to cover at least 7 European countries by the summer, giving users the ability to plan trips that include planes, trains and automobiles. Read more »
Verizon gave accounts of the subpoenas, security orders and warrants it received and the wiretaps it executed for law enforcement. But it said nothing on FISA, which it’s barred from reporting on. Read more »