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Europe in brief Video killed the radio star, but the Internet is killing the ads. Amsterdam-based WebAds Interactive Advertising will no longer sell pop-up ads for its European clients, citing a NFO Trendbox survey which shows that 91 per cent of (Dutch) Net users dislike these intrusive ads.

For many years, pop-up ads have generated a steady source of income for online publishers, but not any longer. Toolbars that block pop-up ads have become increasingly popular, and the next version of the Internet Explorer browser, planned for June, will include a built-in blocker. Webads says it is not going to abandon that other much-loathed online ad: the screen-ad, which covers most of the content unless it is closed manually or automatically.



Germany: no exodus for Siemens employees

Employees of Siemens this week woke up to the news that the German company is planning to move most of its 15,000 software programming jobs from the US and Western Europe to India, China and Eastern Europe.

Anil Laud, managing director of Siemens Information Systems, the group's information technology subsidiary in India, told AP that "Siemens recognised that a huge amount of software development activity needs to be moved from high-cost countries to low-cost countries." Siemens Germany yesterday downplayed the story, saying it had no immediate plans to relocate jobs.

Netherlands: free bike with your phone

No, it is not a joke. Mobile phone operator Orange is to give 'free' bicycles to buyers of its (two year) Orange Free plan, the company announced yesterday.

The (Beach Cruiser) bike can be used to charge the phone. It also includes a Bluetooth headset so that cyclists can talk hands-free. What next: a free car?



Germany: companies ban camera phones

Major corporations in Germany have prohibited the use of camera phones in their buildings, fearing the devices could be used to commit corporate espionage. Both BMW and Volkswagen ask visitors to leave their multimedia phones at the gate, German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday.

Even the phone manufacturers have a strict policy towards the use of camera phones on their premises. Nokia and Motorola check bags of visitors for camera phones. The Motorola plant in Flensburg in particular is concerned that peeping toms will capture the newest UMTS equipment manufactured there. ®

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