updated 11:30 am EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
Nokia demands Eldar Murtazin return leaked phones
Nokia took its complaints about escaped prototypes more seriously on Wednesday by launching a legal pursuit against the well-known phone blogger Eldar Murtazin. The company claims to have formally requested that Murtazin return the phones and has asked Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs to "assist" in returning the phones after the Mobile-Review founder allegedly didn't respond. Nokia insisted the move wasn't a response to a harsh preview of the N8 but instead a real prospect of the leaks being used to help corporate espionage.
"This is not about attacking bloggers or people who give critical reviews of our products," Nokia argued. "Whether Mr. Murtazin's actions were as a blogger, or whether he is acting in the capacity of a consultant in order to provide information to his clients [competing with Nokia] is an open question."
The Finnish phone giant didn't want to speculate about whether it would charge Murtazin with theft or if it only wanted the phones back, but it stressed that the goal wasn't to shut down Mobile-Review.
Murtazin for his part denied stalling any attempts to reclaim phones and said he not only made multiple "fruitless" attempts to reach Nokia in the past two months but had readily available contact information that wasn't used to reach him. He further was content that he had "nothing to hide" and that he couldn't be accused of violating trade secrets as he never signed a non-disclosure agreement.
While Murtazin is one of the highest profile online writers to get early access to Nokia phones, the company as a rule has had little success preventing leaks, with many details of its phones surfacing weeks and often months in advance of when they ship. Such behavior is unlikely to change as the company has insisted it would maintain its culture, but a decision to speed up phone launches may help by eliminating the frequent several-month gap between the first official word of a phone and its real availability.