Europe

A list of hacked private data belonging to 537 customers, posted anonymously on the internet on Friday led Dutch telecoms company KPN to shut down email access for two million clients for two days while it reinforced security, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
But it soon turned out that the hacked data didn’t come from KPN at all; it came from an online baby-products store called Baby-Dump (baby-dump.nl).

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Maija Palmer

The small detail in a planning application has led to speculation that Google might be opening its first retail store, at its European headquarters in Dublin.

Google is revamping the Montevetro office block on Dublin’s Barrow Street, and the plans submitted to Dublin City Council include a provision f0r some retail space in a snazzy new, attention-grabbing mezzanine development. Could this be an experiment by Google to see if a physical store – where they could demonstrate the workings of Chromebooks, or display Android phones – would work for them? Read more

Maija Palmer

Kaspersky Labs is one of a group of European IT security companies that has been talking about floating since at least 2007. But Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder and majority shareholder, has now announced the company is planning to stay private after all.

He is buying back the 20 per cent stake General Atlantic bought in the company a year ago, and preserving all the freedom and flexibility that unlisted status affords. Read more

Maija Palmer

Getty Images

One thing Facebook’s IPO filing documents make clear is that the company is taking privacy risks seriously. Privacy is mentioned 35 times, mainly as a risk factor.

The company acknowledges that media coverage of privacy lapses, for example, could affect profits. Read more

Technology companies are fast taking up some of the slack in the London property market created by the downsizing of the financial services sector.

IT, telecoms and internet start-up companies doubled their uptake of office space in central London during 2011. In total, the industry took up 1.3m square feet of office space in 2011, compared with 640,000 square feet in 2010, according to data from Knight Frank.

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Maija Palmer

There was more bad news in France for Google on Wednesday as a Paris court decided that the internet company had abused its dominant position in online mapping tools.

The decision comes as we await the bigger decision by the European Commission over whether Google has behaved anti-competitively in the search market. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The first major product of sweeping changes to how the government handles its internal IT systems and public-facing websites is to be unveiled on Wednesday, as a new unified website for online public services goes live for testing.

A new single government domain, at www.gov.uk, will replace Directgov, the portal which launched in 2004, before extending across Whitehall departments’ sites in the coming weeks. Read more

Maija Palmer

Online shopping and renting out spare capacity in flats and cars appeared to be the investment themes in Europe in January, with consumer-facing internet companies once again getting the majority of the money and attention.

Berlin was the fundraising hot-spot with at least four start-ups raising money, from $50m for SoundCloud to a more modest $1.4m for Gidsy.

This is the first of a series of monthly updates on the early-stage technology companies raising money in Europe.

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Chris Nuttall

Apple has finally named a successor to Ron Johnson as head of its retail store operation, choosing John Browett, chief executive of the British electronics retailer Dixons.

Mr Browett (pictured left) will join in April as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Mr Johnson was named last June as the new chief executive of JC Penney, the US department store chain. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Google was dragged over the coals by a British parliamentary committee on Monday afternoon, as the technology company’s approach to removing illegal content from its search results again came under scrutiny. Read more

Maija Palmer

Venture capital investors appear to be growing increasingly wary of European companies. In 2011, they put just E4.4bn into 1,012 start-ups in the region, a 14 per cent drop from the previous year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

This was the lowest annual deal count since Dow Jones began tracking investments in Europe in 2000. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

No wonder the record labels are sounding much more positive about music subscription services. Spotify is starting to reap the benefits of its oft-doubted “freemium” business model.

After hitting 2.5m subscribers in November, the Anglo-Swedish digital music service has now reached 3m, with more than 20 per cent of its active user base paying every month to banish advertisements or listen on smartphones. Read more

Maija Palmer

Add an ImageNorwegian public sector organisations will be banned from using Google Apps after the Norwegian data protection authorities ruled that the service could put citizens’ personal data at risk.

The data protection authority said Google Apps did not comply with Norwegian privacy  laws because there was insufficient information about where data was being kept. The decision came from a test case in Narvik, where the local council had chosen to use Google Apps for their email. Read more

Maija Palmer

Facebook has taken the unusual step of making public the names and personal details of five men it believes to be behind the Koobface computer worm that attacked hundreds of thousands of computers through the social network’s profiles.

The alleged gang appear to be living in St Petersburg and were tracked by Facebook and a team of researchers over three years. Read more

Maija Palmer

Google appsGoogle’s enterprise unit is jubilant after snaring its biggest customer win to date, as BBVA, the Spanish bank, said it was going to migrate all its 110,000 employees onto Google Apps.

It’s about twice the size of Google’s next biggest customer wins with Rentokil and Ahold, and there is kudos in having a security-conscious bank place its trust the company’s cloud offering.  Read more

When Acer last March unceremoniously ousted its then-chief executive Gianfranco Lanci, it was not an amicable parting, with both sides apportioning blame on the other for the split.

But if the Taiwanese company had thought they were rid of Mr Lanci by forcing his resignation, then they are sorely mistaken. Mr Lanci was this week appointed the head of Europe, Middle East and Africa by none other Lenovo, Acer’s Chinese rival. Read more

Maija Palmer

Marvell, the US semiconductor company, has bought Xelerated, the Swedish maker of networking infrastructure chips, in a deal understood to be worth around $100m.

Meanwhile, UK-based Picochip was bought by Mindspeed Technologies, a US chip vendor, in a deal valued at up to $76.8m, including a $51.8m in cash and shares and up to $25m earn-out.   Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Notch another win up for London’s Silicon Roundabout. Moo, the online printing service that was one of the first tech companies to set up shop on the Old Street interchange, has beaten international competition to strike a deal with Facebook to become the go-to site for making business cards out of its new Timeline profile picturesRead more

Tim Bradshaw

Tech news from around the web:

Soundcloud, the Berlin-based “YouTube for audio”, has raised $50m at a $200m valuation, Mike Butcher of TechCrunch Europe reports. Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, giving an early boost to the European tech scene’s prospects for 2012, with Berlin in particular tipped for great things this year. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple’s top designer, Jonathan Ive, has been knighted in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for raising the standards of industrial design and championing British talent abroad.

Raised in north-east London, Mr Ive – known as Jony – has been the design mastermind behind Apple hardware ranging from the iPod, iPhone and iPad to its iMac and Macbook computers. Read more