House C’tee Blasts Chinese Firms, Claims Buying Aids Spying

A congressional panel has warned that Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the United States.

According to the BBC, the panel recommends that both firms should be prohibited from any mergers or acquisitions.

The House Intelligence Committee launched its investigation into Huawei and ZTE, each among the world’s biggest producers of telecom networking equipment, last November. The ensuing report, released Monday, concludes that China possesses the ability and, moreover, the motivation to use its telecommunications companies for “malicious purposes.” As such, there is no way to trust that Huawei and ZTE won’t operate on behalf of “foreign state influence.”

Huawei, which was founded in 1987 by a former member of the People’s Liberation Army, denies such accusations, saying they are politically motivated.

Last month, one day before it was set to appear before the House committee, Huawei leaked a paper that accused the U.S. of lofting “allegations based on allegations.” According to Reuters, the paper invoked McCarthy-era paranoia. Paranoia-driven or not, the investigation doesn’t bode well for Huawei.

Buzz Building for New iPad

Apple hasn’t confirmed the existence of its new, smaller tablets — let alone launched an advertising campaign. Even so, buzz abounds over the nonexistent devices.

Since last week’s report that Apple was mass-producing parts for a new tablet, the hype is off and running. According to The Wall Street Journal, some of Apple’s component suppliers in Asia have received orders to make more than 10 million units of the new tablets for the fourth quarter. That is reportedly about double the fourth-quarter order placed for Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire — along with Samsung’s Galaxy Note — figures to be among the main competitors for the new Apple tablet, which according to AllThingsD, will be available later this month.

Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market has reportedly slipped from 84 percent in 2010 to less than 70 percent during the second quarter of 2012. A cheaper alternative to the iPad could help reverse that slip.

YouTube Grows Original Lineup

Google-owned YouTube is launching a new wave of country-specific channels in the U.S., France, Germany and the UK.

According to a Google blog post, the country-specific channels have been a hit around the world: The top 25 channels reportedly average more than 1 million views per week, and 800 million viewers consume 4 billion hours of content each month. What’s more, partners are notching 100,000 subscribers five times faster than they did two years ago.

The new batch of channels will cover a range of topics — food, parenting, sports animation and news among them.

Google invested some US$100 million in its first wave of 100 original channels last year. According to The New York Times, Google will spend $200 million more to produce and market the new shows.

Amazon has also declared its intentions to develop original video content for the Web.

Samsung To Expand Apple-Goading TV Ads

Samsung will begin running TV commercials that make fun of Apple’s iPhone 5 in Australia and New Zealand later this month.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the TV spot will be much like the one already airing in the U.S. The ad in question doesn’t mention Apple or the iPhone by name, but does depict the quintessentially Apple scenario of waiting in line outside a store before touting the Samsung Galaxy as the top smartphone choice.

The ad is a departure from Samsung’s mold of marketing items “quietly” and not directly going after competitors, according to the Journal. But as the courtroom battles between Apple and Samsung rage on, so do the advertising campaigns. Samsung spent a reported $2.8 billion on marketing in the second quarter alone.

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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