Five things PR pros need to know Tuesday morning, 11.18.2014

Uber faces more trouble with media; Greenpeace exposes Edelman's strategy for oil pipeline; Nokia returns with a tablet.

Uber got into hot water after a senior executive suggested the company should consider digging up dirt on its critics in the media. Speaking at a dinner on Friday in New York, Uber business SVP Emil Michael said the company could hire top opposition researchers and journalists who would help fight back against the press by looking into "your personal lives, your families." BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, who attended the dinner and first reported the remarks, said Michael was particularly focused on PandoDaily editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy, who has been an outspoken critic of Uber. Michael later issued an apology, and Uber said the dinner was supposed to have been off the record. The report is the latest in an already strained relationship between Uber and the media. In August, the company hired former Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe to oversee global communications and policy.

Greenpeace exposed documents that reveal Edelman’s plans for helping client TransCanada get its Energy East pipeline built in Canada. The pipeline project has faced criticism over its environmental impact and potential danger from oil spills. In the documents, the agency proposes a three-track approach that would include positive messaging, rapid response to attacks, and "work with third parties to pressure Energy East opponents." Edelman told PRWeek the firm does not talk about its work for clients. Earlier this year, Edelman faced controversy for its middle-of-the-road response to surveys about whether it would work with groups that challenge climate change.

Nokia is returning to the consumer market with a tablet that will be released early next year in China. The company unveiled the Android-powered device at a technology conference in Helsinki, Finland. Earlier this year, Nokia sold its cellphone business to Microsoft in a $7 billion deal.

Intel will merge its PC and mobile chip units in a reorganization early next year. The mobile group, which was created in a 2011 reorganization, saw an operating loss of $1 billion in the third quarter. "We are seeing a blending of the lines between various devices," Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said of the company’s plans.

A Sony executive said the company is reevaluating its support for free, advertiser-supported online music after Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify. However, the company remains "encouraged" by the growth of subscription-based streaming services, said Sony Music CFO Kevin Kelleher. "The key question is, are the free, ad-supported services taking away from how quickly and to what extent we can grow those paid services?" he said.

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