updated 02:20 pm EST, Wed March 5, 2008
Meizu Booth Forced Closed
(Update from Meizu on the raid) Meizu has been removed from the show floor at the CeBIT technology expo over copyright issues for its MiniOne smartphone, according to a new report by Germany's Heise. Local police on Wednesday morning declared the booth closed and insisted on the removal of virtually every item on display, including marketing pamphlets as well as demonstration models. Meizu has not commented on the action, which brings a premature end to its presence at the Hanover show.
Officials additionally confirmed that other companies are being pulled from the show today as part of a wider initiative, though full details are not likely to be revealed until a press conference on Thursday.
The crackdown is already believed to be at the request of Apple, whose iPhone is on sale in Germany and is known to be the direct inspiration for the MiniOne and a raft of offerings from smaller companies. Meizu's device is based on Windows Mobile 6 but includes several hardware design and user interface elements clearly derived from Apple's handset, including a multi-touch interface currently under development.
Meizu has not said whether it plans to sell the MiniOne outside of its native China. The device on show until today has been capable of quad-band GSM, allowing it to work in the US, but would immediately face copyright and patent infringement issues if sold there or in other countries where Apple does business.
Update: Meizu now says the dispute is known to have centered around "licenses" for one of its music players, and not the MiniOne. The company has reoccupied its booth and includes the MiniOne at the display, but not the offending device. The company has not mentioned which product is affected or whether the licenses related to copyright issues, although both its M3 and M6 players bear similarities to the first-generation iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod with video.