Europe

Salesforce.com has taken the wraps off its first EU-sited data center in Slough, England, little more than a week after Amazon opened up its second European facility in Frankfurt. The SaaS CRM giant will also open two data centers in France and Germany next year, with all three being powered by renewable energy sources. Apart from offering lower latency to European businesses, going local in the EU also makes life easier from a compliance point of view – sensitive customer information, for example, should ideally stay within European borders, or even national borders when it comes to countries like Germany that have strict data protection regimes.

As predicted a couple weeks back, the British mobile operator EE has begun rolling out LTE-Advanced “4G+” across central London. The technology aggregates spectrum in EE’s 1800MHz and 2.6GHz holdings to provide “real world” peak speeds of 150Mbps and average speeds of 90Mbps, EE promised in a statement. As the carrier noted, the use of EE’s 2.6GHz spectrum will take some of the load off its existing 1800MHz 4G network, theoretically speeding things up for 4G users who don’t have the latest devices – such as the Samsung Note 4 – that can take advantage of so-called 4G+. EE also said its 4G network now covers 300 cities and large towns.

The Google-owned artificial intelligence outfit DeepMind has revealed a partnership with Oxford University that involves a “substantial donation” to set up a research relationship with the venerable institution’s computer science and engineering departments, and the acquisition of two Oxford spin-off startups. One, Dark Blue Labs, is working on deep learning techniques for understanding natural language; it was founded earlier this year by professors Nando de Freitas and Phil Blunsom, and doctors Edward Grefenstette and Karl Moritz Hermann. The other, Vision Factory, was founded by Dr Karen Simonyan, Max Jaderberg and Prof Andrew Zisserman to work on visual object and text recognition, again using deep learning. According to a Thursday post by DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis, the three professors will continue working part-time at Oxford.

Progress Software, the Bedford, MA-based enterprise software infrastructure firm, is buying the Bulgarian UI framework and app development tools outfit Telerik for $262.5 million, to help its customers make nicer user interfaces for their cloud and on-premise apps. Telerik is used by 1.4 million developers, including those at 450 of the Fortune 500 companies – founded in 2002, it started with a focus on Microsoft’s .NET platform before expanding to other platforms under the name “Kendo UI” (it consolidated its brands last year.) According to Progress CEO Phil Pead, the acquisition will make his company “a destination site for the largest developer population on the planet – ABL, .NET, Java, JavaScript, Node.js and mobile.”

The Norwegian printed electronics firm Thin Film – which we recently covered for its smart label partnership with Cisco-backed Evrythng – has taken a healthy $23 million in investment from local conglomerate Ferd. Thin Film CEO Davor Sutija said in a statement that the investment, for a 7.3 percent stake, “fully funds” the firm’s current product roadmap. Printed electronics are generally pretty cheap to implement, and Thin Film (an entry on our Mobile 15 list a couple years back) wants to add electronic functionality to items such as perishable food packaging, disposable goods, single-use medical products and so on.

Telefónica will cut 1,600 jobs in Germany following the merger of O2 Deutschland with E-Plus, to get rid of duplicate roles. The jobs will be phased out by 2018, the firm said Friday, noting that positions would go from both O2 and E-Plus. It also stressed that E-Plus’s Düsseldorf office would retain an important role in the combined operation, alongside Telefónica Deutschland’s Munich headquarters and Hamburg office. Telefónica completed its purchase of E-Plus from Dutch telecoms group KPN at the beginning of October following European Commission approval in late August, in the process becoming Germany’s biggest mobile operator.

Uber keeps getting disrupted by European laws. On top of those recent Dutch driver arrests, the U.S. quasi-taxi outfit has now been fined €100,000 ($128,000) in France for falsely marketing its paid-for UberPop (a.k.a. UberX) offering as a carpooling service, and told by the Parisian court to warn its drivers that they face “criminal conviction.” Meanwhile, in the U.K. transport authorities have referred Uber to the tax authorities for, unlike other taxi firms, not paying any tax in the U.K. (Revenues go to a Dutch subsidiary that’s owned by a Bermuda subsidiary.) Indian authorities are also on the firm’s case over tax, so at least it’s not just Europe.

Swiss/U.S. infrastructure-as-a-service provider CloudSigma has joined the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in gaining Ubuntu certification — a move that should make it more attractive for those looking to deploy the much-used guest operating system. Ubuntu certification means CloudSigma, which pitches itself as a more highly configurable alternative to its rivals, is now integrated with Canonical’s repositories, so that the Ubuntu server images in CloudSigma’s marketplace are optimized and updated on a near-daily basis. Because CloudSigma now also has local mirrors of the Ubuntu archive, it’s also promising faster installation and patching than before, and of course, the Ubuntu tie-in means apps can be deployed into its cloud using JuJu.

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