Nokia calls in Russian police over missing smartphone

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Nokia has stropped off to the Russian police to try and regain an unreleased smartphone from a blogger that gave it a bad review.

Late in April, Eldar Murtazin published a review of the Nokia N8.  He didn't much like it.

"No improvement on what we see in Android, iPhone OS, other systems, the same Bada from Samsung," he commented. "Exactly the same as it was before, with the same sauce, but with little change in functionality. Brushed, washed, but not polished."

Nokia was deeply hurt. In a blog post the next day - heart-wrenchingly titled 'One of our children is missing' - spokesman Doug Dawson begged for its return.

"This is a very early, pre-production prototype with dated software that is not yet ready," he pointed out. "So the site’s comments that the software ‘felt premature’ is probably one of the more blindingly obvious things you will read this year."

Dawson admitted that possibly someone at Nokia itself had enabled Murtazin to get his hands on the device, but said the company had no deisre to act like the secret police: "So now that the official news is out, we’d like our prototype back. Please."

But Murtazin refused to play ball.

Nokia may be relieved that its little baby hasn't been sold into slavery or returned sans a digit or two, but like most parents it still wants it back."We have asked Mr Murtazin for the return of all Nokia property in his possession," says the company. "As he has declined to reply, we asked the Russian authorities to assist us."

It's got nothing to do with the fact that the review was unfavourable, you understand.

"This is not about attacking bloggers or people who give critical reviews of our products. So as we don’t confuse the issue, while this individual does operate a blog, he is also very public about being a ‘consultant’ to other international mobile manufacturers," says Nokia.

"He has confirmed he is in possession of unauthorised Nokia prototypes and other intellectual property, and we have asked for their return. 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 is an open question."

On his personal blog, Murtazin says he hasn't heard formally from Nokia, and was surprised when an officer from the Ministry of Internal Affairs tipped up on his doorstep asking for the phone. He says he's consulted a lawyer.