Items tagged with European Union

The very ornery European Commission has set its sights on mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, which is the focus of two formal antitrust investigations into possible abusive behavior related to baseband chipsets used in consumer electronic devices. What investigators are looking into is whether or not Qualcomm essentially bribed customers with financial incentives not to buy from the competition, and if it engaged in predatory pricing -- charging below costs to drive competition out of the market. "We are launching these investigations because we want to be sure that high tech suppliers can compete... Read more...
Back in April, the EU hit Google with antitrust charges for alleged favoritism it gives its own services in search results. Being that Google is so dominant in the search game, this is a big deal to companies that feel that it's placing its inferior services above their own. Yelp is one of those companies, and one that's a complainant in this antitrust charge. It decided to go a bit further than the others though, and commission well-respected Professor of Law Tim Wu to investigate things further. With the help of a Yelp-produced browser plugin, Wu discovered that if search... Read more...
European regulators are holding Google's feet to the fire over what they claim are various search shenanigans, such as Google promoting its own shopping services by displaying them at the top and burying non-paying rivals way below. Matt Brittin, Vice President of Google in the U.K., addressed the anti-trust charges that were brought against the company in April in an unexpected way."We don't always get it right," Brittin acknowledged. "As far as Europe is concerned, we get it. We understand that people here are not the same in the their attitudes to everything as people in America. We just didn't... 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...
Tensions between the European Union and Google never seem to subside, nor are they likely to anytime soon as the former reportedly prepares to issue antitrust charges against the latter as part of a five-year investigation. Early indications are that this could be the most high-profile antitrust case brought on by the EU since it spanked Microsoft with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. According to The Wall Street Journal and its numerous unnamed sources, the European Commission is in the process of contacting... Read more...
Google is again the target of a controversial measure in the European Union as its parliament draws up a draft motion to separate the company's search engine business from its other operations, which it proposes is one possible solution to Google's dominance. The draft motion is backed by the European People's Party and the Socialists. It's not often that the European parliament calls out a big U.S. company in such a manner, which underscores the growing resentment towards the search giant among Germany's politicians. The timing of the draft motion, however, isn't all that surprising. Germany's... Read more...
Telecom companies opposed to Facebook's proposed $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, a highly popular mobile messenger service, can go pound sand. That's basically what the European Commission said by approving the deal despite the outcry from telecoms that will have to find a way to compete with free voice-call services. "Consumer communications apps keep European citizens connected and are becoming increasingly popular. While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one communications app. We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition... Read more...
Google may have more money than it knows what to do with, but that doesn't mean it's willing to pay a potential $5 billion fine without putting up a fight. That's the upper amount the Mountain View company faces as European Union regulators continue their antitrust probe into how Google operates its search services. In an attempt to settle the nearly three-year-old case, Google issued a new set of concessions, which are currently being looked at, the European Commission confirmed on Monday. "We received new proposals from Google in the previous week," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia... Read more...
Time heals all wounds, but it doesn't make fines go away. Microsoft may find that out this month if the European Union goes forth with plans to fine the software giant in the coming weeks. The fine, which could be significant, relates to Microsoft's failure to comply with a so-called browser ballot feature it agreed to implement in Windows in order to settle an EU antitrust investigation dating back more than a decade. A little back history. The EU argued that Microsoft was giving itself an unfair advantage in the browser wars by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, leaving less savvy users... Read more...
The European Commission doesn't mess around when it comes to antitrust law, nor is it afraid to hit companies with large fines for not playing by the rules in the European Union (EU). As such, Microsoft now finds itself in hot water for inadvertently breaking a promise to offer Windows users living in Europe a choice of Web browser rather than force feeding them Internet Explorer. Back in 2009, Microsoft settled an antitrust suit with the EU by agreeing to display a so-called browser ballot in Windows 7. The browser screen presented European users with five main browser choices, with seven more... Read more...
Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission gave Google their respective blessings to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, the two agencies said in separate announcements. Taking it one step further, the DoJ also said it would allow Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion (RIM) to purchase certain Nortel patents, and cleared the way for Apple to acquire certain Novell patents. "After a thorough review of the proposed transactions, the Antitrust Division has determined that each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition and has closed these three investigations,"... Read more...
Microsoft and the EU are finally close to an agreement on how Windows 7's browser should be configured after months of negotiation. Initially, Redmond's idea was to ship the OS without a browser at all, a move the EU nixed, as it felt this would result in consumers being offered less value, rather than more. Microsoft's new idea, unveiled last July and batted back and forth several times since, was to include a "Choose Your Browser" option as part of Windows 7 startup. After further negotiation, that's the solution the EU is expected to agree to. Consumers who purchase the OS retail will be shown... Read more...
Last week, we covered the European Commission's (EC) decision that Intel had abused its market power. One of the findings that lead to the $1.44 billion fine was Intel's rebate system, which only awarded discounted prices to companies that committed to buying the overwhelming majority of their products from the CPU manufacturer. Intel, for its part, thinks the EC got it all wrong; the company has filed an appeal in the European Court of First Instance. While it's already made arrangements to pay the fine in the third quarter, Intel hasn't copped to setting even a toe over the the letter of... Read more...
It only took a month after the fiasco that prevented the HADOPI legislation from passing for the French Assembly and Senate to regroup, and on Wednesday HADOPI, the "three strikes" anti-piracy legislation passed the French Senate.  It had passed the French National Assembly on Tuesday.The fiasco we reference above occurred when overconfidence set in, and only a few MPs showed up for the April vote on the same legislation.  It was defeated in the Assembly then 21 - 15, though it passed on Tuesday 296 - 233.  Yes, just a few people missed that April vote, you can obviously see.In Wednesday's... Read more...
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