Items tagged with European Union

The European Commission is doing its best Oprah Winfrey impression, though instead of giving away cars, it's focusing on Wi-Fi access to the public sector—you get free Wi-Fi, and you get free Wi-Fi, and you get free Wi-Fi! It's a €120 million (~$135 million in U.S. currency) effort to bring free Wi-Fi to all facets of public life by the year 2020. Governments can apply for funding to participate in the WiFi4EU project to install Wi-Fi networks in public places, such as libraries and parks. When all is said and done, the EU estimates that anywhere from 6,000 on up to 8,000 public locations will... Read more...
Image Source: Flickr (William Murphy) Apple is on the hook for 13 billion euros (around $14.5 billion in U.S. currency) in back taxes owed to Ireland after the European Union ruled the company had dodged its tax obligations by taking advantage of a loophole. Naturally Apple isn't happy about the ruling. Apple chief executive Tim Cook got so riled up about the situation that he dropped a C-bomp, calling the ruling "total political crap." "I think we'll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together," Cook told Irish Independent... Read more...
Apple’s longstanding beef in the European Union over allegations of tax dodging has finally come to a dramatic end (pending an appeal, of course). In essence, Apple simply delayed the inevitable, as the European Commission is ordering that the American tech giant repay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes to Ireland, plus interest. At the center of the complaint is the “Double Irish” loophole, which allowed Apple to funnel profits through two subsidiaries: Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe. According to the European Commission, these were companies in name only, and... Read more...
If Google had been hoping that the European Union would back off on its pursuit of proving that it's anti-competitive, it appears that the company hasn't been hoping hard enough. Today, the EU shot another set of charges at Google for anti-competitive practices, this time squarely targeting its AdSense for Search platform. Previous antitrust charges against Google have involved Android, search, and shopping, with this third set expanding on the latter two. Anyone who's ever browsed the internet will have likely passed by an AdSense advertisement, as they're simply everywhere. We reinforce Google... Read more...
As huge as Google is, it's sometimes easy to think of it as being invincible. The American company seemingly gets away with whatever it wants simply because it dominates its competition. But, the European Union has time and time again proven that Google is not invincible, and in fact, it could now be facing the EU's largest penalty to date. Where we stand today is with a mammoth price tag on Google's head. As it appears right now, this is not a fight Google is going to win (easily), and if it's found guilty, it's going to owe on a fine reaching at least €3 billion ($3.4 billion USD). If the... Read more...
After looking into the matter, the European Commission has given Western Digital its blessing to complete the company's proposed acquisition of rival SanDisk. Regulators ultimately decided that the pairing of two U.S. storage giants would not adversely affect competition in Europe, in part because the overlap between the two manufacturers is effectively limited to flash memory storage products in the enterprise space. "I am pleased that we have been able to ensure that this multi-billion dollar deal in a fast-developing industry can go ahead without delay. We have worked efficiently, in cooperation... Read more...
A power saving feature found in some of Samsung's televisions has come under scrutiny by an independent test lab in Europe. The lab claims that Samsung TV's with "motion lighting" use less energy during official certification tests than they do in real-world use, the implication being that Samsung might be cheating. Samsung "firmly rejects" any such allegations and says that "motion lighting is a standard out-of-the-box feature, not a test cheat." "Motion lighting is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is a default setting which works both in the lab... Read more...
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...
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