Items tagged with European Union

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 companies that previously filed complaints against Google on a confidential basis and is asking... 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 Günther Oettinger became the EU's digital commissioner earlier this year, and since then, he's targeted... 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 and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market.... 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 told Bloomberg Television. "If we are satisfied with the new proposals, we can advance toward an agreed... 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 without a choice in the matter. The solution? Present users with a screen allowing them to choose their... 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 available via scrolling. That was all fine and dandy, up until the browser screen disappeared following... 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," the DoJ said in a statement. "In all of the transactions, the division conducted an in-depth... 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 a list of browsers, an explanation of what a browser is, and a link they can click on for more information;... 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 the law."We believe that our policies and practices have always been legal and aboveboard," London-based... 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 vote, the French Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming majority of 189 - 14 in the upper... Read more...
Since Microsoft's failure to comply with the European Union's anti-trust rulings, the EU has decided to crack down further on the U.S. based giant warning that more fines may be imposed. After the 2004 case in which it was ruled Microsoft would pay nearly $497 million euros ($656 million USD) for asking unjustifiably high prices for key data sold to competitors, the EU is disappointed to see a lack of change on Microsoft's part. Brussels criticised the software giant for not changing its behaviour since it was fined 497m euros (£331m) in 2004. In an escalation of its long-running battle with the US firm, Brussels said Microsoft had been seeking unreasonable prices from... Read more...
With the largest search engine companies being based in the US, French President Jacques Chirac is proposing the creation of a rival search engine named "Quaero". One inteseting feature that's being planned for, is a translation tool that can translate audio."The ambitious project will probably not be available anytime in the near future. Quaero is still in the earliest stages of development, so early that none of the major players have yet ventured a guess as to how much the project might cost. When Quaero does launch, it will have a great deal of catching up to do. Google currently has a tight hold on its position as the world's leading search engine, and it shows no signs of loosening... Read more...
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