Items tagged with EU

At this point, it can be assumed that most tech firms don't like dealing with the EU, and there are many different reasons for it. With Google, it could have to do with the fact that it keeps getting hit with anti-trust charges that it vehemently believes are nonsense. You might recall earlier this year when the company was effectively carpet-bombed with charges, mostly relating to the supposed anti-competitive nature of its search engine. Well, not surprisingly, Google still isn't lowering its defenses. In fact, it's making it clearer than ever that it believes the EU doesn't know what it's talking... Read more...
It’s hardly been a secret that Google is the European Union’s doghouse, but now the hostility is official. The EU delivered Google with a Statement of Objections that accuses it of skewing search results towards the company’s own services. To top things off, the EU is looking into accusations that Android, Google’s smartphone operating system, also violates antitrust rules. “In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules,” said EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “Google now... Read more...
Facing accusations from the Belgian Privacy Commission dating back to February that it is violating the privacy rights of its users, Facebook yesterday confirmed that the watchdog group had uncovered a "bug" that mistakenly tracked people even when they were not on the social media giant's website, but denied the body's assertion that the company gave users a "false sense of control" over their personal information. Facebook said that it has begun to fix the problem at hand, which leveraged cookies to track people who had not signed up for the service when they visited websites that employ certain... Read more...
Environmental stewardship may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Apple, but it’s certainly becoming a large part of the company’s self-perception under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership. Today, Apple announced that it will soon build two data centers in Europe to support its online services in the region and claimed that both data centers will be powered by “100 percent renewable energy.” Apple has been adding jobs feverishly in Europe, with more than 2,000 employees coming on board this year, and seems likely to add more positions when the data centers open in 2017. Apple is planning... Read more...
Following an interview with Re/code late last week, president Obama has managed to upset officials in Europe for a couple of rather blunt comments regarding America's success with the Internet. For starters, Obama claims that the EU's actions towards regulating the Internet is 'commercially-driven', and is the result of their companies being unable to compete with 'ours'. In perhaps his most blunt comment, Obama stated, "We have owned the Internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it in ways that they can't compete. And oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions... Read more...
There’s some great news this week for Apple consumers living in Europe. Apple has introduced a new return policy for iTunes, App Store, and iBooks purchases that will allow consumers living in Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, and the UK to return digital purchases. Apple’s original terms and conditions stated that a user had the right to withdraw from a transaction “without charge and without giving any reason until delivery of the product has started.” However, once the product delivery had started, the purchase was final aside from some exceptions. The new terms and conditions... Read more...
The EU does not fool around when it comes to handing out fines, and it also apparently does not second-guess itself. The European Commission levied a hefty fine of 1.06 billion euro (or roughly $1.44 billion USD) at Intel for anti-competitive practices back in 2009, and after years of legal supplication, the decision has been upheld according to Reuters. Intel was found to have unacceptably fought rival AMD in the processor market by giving rebates to PC makers in exchange for those companies using primarily CPUs made by Intel--and concealing it. European Commission building "The General Court... Read more...
Amid a claim and a denial about Facebook’s plummeting popularity among teens, an EU study has emerged that affirms the former assertion, at least among teenagers in the UK. Professor of Material Culture at University College of London Daniel Miller wrote that his research team is conducting 15-month ethnographies on teens in 8 countries, and among the results they’re finding, it would seem that Facebook is not doing well in the 16-18 age group. “What we’ve learned from working with 16-18 year olds in the UK is that Facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead... Read more...
There’s no denying that in today’s world, data is king, and the Internet is his queen. (Or perhaps vice versa.) In the U.S., there’s been much talk about gigabit (1Gbps) Internet speeds for the masses thanks in large part to the efforts of Google and its Google Fiber projects, but the EU--where average Internet speeds are around 19.7Mbps--has its sights set on a much higher goal. The EU and Japan are collaborating on six research projects, that, among other goals, would ostensibly result in the build out of 100Gbps networks. Other challenges the projects will address include cyber... Read more...
The controversy surrounding news of the NSA’s wide-ranging spying tactics is causing ripples in other aspects of U.S. – European Union relations. Based on information released by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, the EU voted to support its own commission in the event the commission decides end data sharing agreements between the EU and the U.S. The commission is investigating both the reach of the NSA’s spying tactics as well as reports that the U.K. has been involved in a similar spying program. European Parliament The vote could prove to be an important one because... Read more...
Google is on the hot seat with the EU over alleged antitrust violations related to its Internet search practices on both the desktop and on mobile devices. After a two-year investigation that appears to find Google at fault, several of the complainants have voiced their displeasure at the pace of the European Commission’s action or lack thereof. Reuters says that over a dozen companies have complained, including heavy hitters Microsoft and Nokia, even as European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he plans to achieve a settlement with Google before the end of the year. The... Read more...
Google has been fined $7 million dollars in a case over the company’s WiFi snooping, which occurred between 2008-2010 as Google Street View cars crisscrossed the country mapping everything in sight. Google Street View is a gloriously powerful tool, but the fleet of Street View mapping cars were collecting data such as passwords from the WiFi networks they cruised past in addition to snapping photos. Several reports indicate that a lone rogue engineer was responsible for the data collection, although others at the company eventually learned of the practice and didn’t do anything about... Read more...
Microsoft, and everybody else, assumed that a big fine was coming from the European Union over antitrust violations sometime this month; as it turned out, the wait was a short one, because the EU has fined Microsoft $732 million, according to the New York Times. Some expected the fine to be closer to a cool billion, so in that sense, Microsoft got off light. After Microsoft got itself in hot water with the EU several years ago over making its Internet Explorer the default Web browser on computers running Windows--which, it was decided, was an antitrust violation that gave Microsoft an unfair advantage... Read more...
A Belgian consumer rights organization has announced it will take Apple to court over the company's failure to satisfactorily disclose EU-mandated warranty terms. According to European Union law, consumers are entitled to a two year warranty, free of charge. Apple, meanwhile, charges for an Apple Care warranty after the first year and steers consumers towards this option. It's not hard to see the Belgian group's point. Here are a pair of screenshots from the UK Apple store. That's not the clearest language in the world. Apple's "More Information" page doesn't really improve things. That first comparison... Read more...
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