THEWRAP: Terminating OPEL, and Motorola cuts back

03 Apr 2008

It was the week when the Australian government pulled the plug on publicly-funded broadband and Motorola began winding back its Asian operation.

The new minister terminated an $870 million plan to build broadband in rural areas, claiming that OPEL partners Optus and Futuris had not met the conditions. The two firms denied the claims and say they may seek compensation.

Motorola will close its Singapore handset plant, part of a global effort to shave $500 million in costs. The factory will shut by year-end but its R&D and Asian RHQ will remain in Singapore.

Google will lay off about 300 employees from its new acquisition, the online ad firm DoubleClick.

The International Olympic Committee official warned Beijing Games organizers not to block the internet during the August games. IOC vice-chairman Kevan Gosper said it "would reflect very poorly" on the host nation if media were not able to operate in the same manner as in previous games.

IOC officials also said the games would be broadcast live, with no transmission delays.

The Indonesian information minister has asked ISPs to block YouTube to cut access to a Dutch film critical of the Koran.

Scandinavian telco TDC launched a free, unlimited and legal music download service for mobile, online and cable customers.

AT&T and Sony will launch the first mobile movie network over Qualcomm's MediaFLO network.

Intel foreshadowed tiny "Atom" processors that it said would bring desktop performance to mobile phones. Microsoft said the new version of mobile Explorer would enable desktop-style browsing.

Sprint has flagged a new touchscreen device from Samsung that will compete with iPhone at a much lower price. Amazon is bringing comparison shopping to the cellphone.

Yahoo unveiled mobile voice search and other features for the mobile Web users, and led a $20 million second funding round for voice search firm Vlingo. Yahoo also took the wraps off Shine, a site for women between ages 25 and 54, aimed at the key decision-maker in many households.

US FCC chairman Kevin Martin rejected a petition from Skype to force open wireless networks.

Hong Kong-listed China Telecom acquired Beijing Telecom from its state-owned parent as the fixed-line carrier sought new sources of growth.

An Australian man has been swamped with offers after putting his life on sale on eBay. And Finland's foreign minister was sacked after media published suggestive text messages he had sent to an erotic dancer.

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