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Europe in Brief Web portal giant Yahoo! is shutting down its Scandinavian operation, Norway's Aftenposten reports.

The company claims Scandinavian users, fluent in English, prefer the portal's US-based home page. There are about 5.4 million Yahoo! users in Scandinavia. However, 77 per cent prefer to use the American portal.

The Scandinavian office in Copenhagen, Denmark was also losing money, at least DKK 21 million ($3.5 million) in 2002, according to Aftenposten. Figures for 2003 haven't been published yet. The office's 20 employees will be out of work from February 1.



Germany: Acer and Fujitsu-Siemens top notebook vendors

More than 2.5 million notebooks were sold last year in Germany, according to IDC, a notable 44 per cent increase. Acer and Fujitsu Siemens HP are strongly positioned with 380,000 and 332,000 units shipped respectively. Acer was still the sixth largest notebook vendor in Germany in 2002, now it is number one.

Any losers? Afraid so. Toshiba experienced a strong decline in shipments. HP and Gericom did reasonably well with 240,000 and 214,000 shipments respectively, but Dell and IBM have seen better times. 2004 could change that, as IDC expects sales of over 3.6 million notebooks.



Netherlands: improving mobile phone conditions

An automatic controller developed by Lodewijk Smit of the University of Twente in the Netherlands can improve the reception of mobile phones. The connection can be optimised by frequently evaluating the quality and adapting the receiver of the mobile device. Modern phones will adapt to the service level required (speech, data or video), but not to the reception quality.

Current methods send a lot of information over the mobile network, before quality level is determined. Smits method decreases this amount of overhead and also saves energy. The research is part of the CHAMELEON-project of the Centre of Telematics and Information Technology, which develops new architectures for energy-efficient architectures of mobile equipment.



Germany: Soundlogo

T-Mobile is the first network operator in Germany to provide a personal ringtone for mobile phones with SoundLogo. Callers hear a song selected by the person they are calling instead of the usual ringing tone. Around 100 SoundLogos from Universal Music’s most popular artists will available for the introduction of the service next month.

T-Mobile introduced a similar service in the UK in December (called Caller Tunes) and in Asia. Demand is positive, T-Mobile says. The German service will be available to all T-Mobile customers on any phone model. There is a monthly charge of €0.99 to use SoundLogo and a one-time activation charge for each SoundLogo of €1.99. ®

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