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Extortionists reportedly got several million euros out of Nokia around 2007-2008, according to a report from Finnish TV station MTV. Reuters has also got confirmation from Finnish police that a blackmail investigation is ongoing. It seems the criminals had acquired encryption code for parts of Nokia’s Symbian operating system, which was the global smartphone market leader at the time. They were threatening to release this code, potentially allowing others to insert malware into Symbian phones. Nokia reportedly left money in a parking lot, and the criminals made away with it while also evading police capture.

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In Brief

Looks like there may be some consolidation in the augmented reality scene: TechCrunch reports that the U.K.’s Blippar has bought Dutch rival Layar. Both companies focus heavily on bringing print ads to virtual life. Layar is a real AR veteran; 5 years ago its original, non-marketing-centric app did a lot to popularize the concept (at least, among geeks.) Now both Blippar and Layar are trying to make AR finally take off through the use of Google Glass. If the deal’s real — I’ve been unable to get confirmation — I wonder what will happen to Layar’s interoperability pact with Metaio and Wikitude.

In Brief

We’ve covered TransferWise quite a few times – along with one or two rivals such as CurrencyFair, the London-based financial technology startup offers a genuinely disruptive foreign exchange service that significantly undercuts the banks. Its backers apparently also continue to see great potential: having led TransferWise’s $6 million Series A round just over a year ago, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures has again participated in the firm’s $25 million Series B, alongside Index Ventures, Virgin boss Richard Branson, IA Ventures, TAG, and Le Monde owner Xavier Niel. TransferWise, run by former Skype director Taavet Hinrikus, says it will use the funds for marketing.

In Brief

The not-at-all-creepily-named “digital engagement” firm LivePerson has bought a German startup called Synchronite for its co-browsing technology. The deal should help LivePerson boost its real-time customer service product by allowing agents to see what the customer sees, so they can guide him through form-filling, completing purchases and other functions of the client’s website. Other outfits doing similar things include Unblu, LiveLook and Firefly. The purchase price for Mannheim’s Synchronite was not revealed.

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