Threat of antitrust investigation by EC if Nokia overreaches with patents
Nokia has been warned by the European Commission (EC) to avoid becoming a "patent troll," once the company completes the sale of its Devices and Services arm to Microsoft. Joaquin Almunia, head of competition and vice president of the EC, reconfirmed the Commission's approval of the purchase, but advised that there is a danger that Nokia could try to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio.
Companies accused of limiting online sales
European Commission agents have reportedly raided corporate offices of Samsung, Philips and retail giant Media-Saturn, as part of an investigation over improper price manipulation, according to a Reuters report. Regulators believe the companies may have colluded to limit online distribution in an attempt to artificially inflate prices.
European Commission finds minimal overlap between Microsoft, Nokia
Microsoft has been given the all-clear to acquire Nokia's mobile phone business by the European Commission (EC). The clearance by the regulatory body comes just one day after the US Department of Justice approved the deal, two weeks after Nokia's shareholders made a similar decision, leaving little in the way of obstructions left for the $7.2 billion deal.
The Playroom banned on Twitch due to non-gaming usage
The Sony PlayStation 4 has hit a number of stumbling blocks, just before the company launches the game console in Europe. Game video streaming partner Twitch has banned one launch title from the service outright, and European users will also be missing out on a number of social features for the days following the console's launch.
Android app allows NFC payments, offers sticker for non-NFC devices
Vodafone has launched a mobile payments system in Spain, one which will be making its way to other areas of Europe in the future. The Vodafone Wallet, and first accompanying payment app Vodafone SmartPass, will be able to make payments using their Android smartphones, with funds being transferred from a nominated bank account.
European flight change follows device rule changes by FAA, EASA
Passengers on flights in Europe may be able to use their smartphone's data connection in the future, after the European Commission has revealed new rules allowing the use of 3G and 4G LTE connections in flights. The new rules come shortly after both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) allowed the use of electronic devices set in flight mode at takeoff and landing for travel in the US and Europe respectively.
Incoming EASA guidelines follow similar FAA rule changes
Airline passengers in Europe will be able to use electronic devices from take-off to landing, under new guidelines. Soon to be published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the new rules to airlines come just two weeks after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) made similar alterations to its own guidelines for US-based flights.
Kazam Trooper, Thunder smartphones have similar specification lists
British-based phone manufacturer Kazam, created six months ago by two former HTC executives, has launched its first ranges of Android devices. A total of six smartphones have been shown off, with one in the Thunder range and five Trooper devices, with phones ranging not only in size but also in internal specification.
iPad Air availability spreads to more countries
Following earlier launches in Australia and Asia, the Apple iPad Air has gone on sale in the UK and Europe, as well in the US online store, as it moves to launch in 42 countries by the end of today. The new tablet has been released in Apple retail stores across Europe, some of which have opened earlier than normal in order to sell the iPad Air to waiting customers.
Possible acquisition of Vodafone a politically difficult feat
AT&T's plan to acquire a carrier and operate in Europe may have to be put on hold for a long time, thanks to the National Security Agency (NSA). The revelations of national and international surveillance by the agency is now forcing European officials to scrutinize any attempt by AT&T or any other carrier to purchase a mobile phone network on the continent.
North America to continue Nintendo Wii sales over holiday season
North America is the last major market to still receive shipments of the Nintendo Wii, after an announcement concerning European availability. Shipments of the game console to retailers in Europe have now ceased, following a similar announcement covering Japan earlier this week, but shipments of the motion-sensitive console to the United States will not be affected in any way.
Proposal sees Samsung avoiding standard-essential patent lawsuits
The European Commission is requesting feedback on an offer by Samsung to stop suing other device manufacturers over specific types of patents. The proposal would prevent Samsung from suing over standard-essential patents (SEPs) for a five-year period, in order to cease the antitrust proceedings it is embroiled in, and to avoid a potential fine from the EC of $18.3 billion.
Marketing efforts also a factor in Sony's change of priorities
Sony could be relaxing its push to release smartphones in the United States, in order to protect its sales in Japan and Europe. CEO Kaz Hirai advised that, in terms of smartphone sales, Sony's "biggest priority is maintaining our share in Japan or increasing it," as it attempts to fight off the rising popularity of the iPhone in its home country.
US, Europe release of PS Vita TV could happen, states Sony senior vice president
Sony is considering releasing its PlayStation Vita TV set-top box in the United States and European markets, following a "strong response" from gamers. The move effectively reverses an earlier report, where an executive claimed the company was "not planning" to release the device further afield than markets close to Japan, such as China and South Korea.
European Commission assesses offer
Google has reportedly submitted a second proposal to the European Commission, offering to change its practices to avoid a potential $5 billion fine. The filing follows an earlier proposal that was also aimed at easing antitrust concerns, which focus on Google's prioritization of its own search services over competing services, though the initial concessions were dismissed as insufficient by EU regulators and competitors.
Proposals to end European roaming charges to be published next week
Proposals to make European roaming charges illegal have surfaced again, in the form of a leaked draft of legislation. The 93-page document promises to introduce "measures to gradually end mobile roaming surcharges" in the region, and to "guarantee common high levels of consumer protection across the union," in the European Commission's (EC) ongoing battle with mobile carriers on the continent.
Proposals to end antitrust probe are 'not enough' states Competition head
A proposal by Google to alter its search results does not go far enough to minimize antitrust issues, according to the European Commission (EC). Joaquin Almunia, the European Competition Commissioner believes that the proposals submitted in April by the search giant are "not enough to overcome our concerns," and requests for Google to resubmit with some improvements.
Raids of corporate offices follow complaints about Internet capacities
The offices of three major carriers in Europe have been raided by European Union officials as part of an investigation into the practice of bandwidth throttling. The headquarters of Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefonica all received visits from the government officials, trying to find evidence that the three are restricting the bandwidth for companies specifically requiring such high levels.
Austrian copyright agency seeks $2.4 million payout for artists
The European Court of Justice ruled today that European Union countries are allowed to collect a tax on blank media to fairly compensate artists under certain circumstances. The ruling comes after an Austrian copyright agency billed Amazon €1.9 million ($2.4 million) for sales of magnetic media sold in Austria in the first six months of 2004.
Botnet operators face three-year sentences, five for infrastructure attacks
The European Parliament has issued a draft directive that will give harsher punishments to hackers in the future. The directive will ask the 28 member states of the European Union to update their national maximum sentences to at least two years in prison for the illegal infiltration of computer systems, with higher sentences for more serious computer crimes.
Further European roaming charge cuts due next year
A drop in roaming charges mandated by the European Commission has taken place today, lowering prices for Europeans traveling within the continent. The new rules cut the maximum price EU-based carriers can charge their customers per megabyte of data transfer from 70 euro cents ($0.91) down to 45 cents ($0.59), with a further drop scheduled in July 2014 to push it down to 20 cents ($0.26).
Ripped tracks free to customers for purchases in last decade
Amazon has extended its AutoRip service to the United Kingdom and Europe, following a successful launch in the United States. The service provides a digital copy of physical albums bought through the retailer, with songs automatically appearing in the user's Amazon Cloud Player as MP3 files, which saves the user time in ripping tracks from the CD, as well as providing the music early without having to wait for the CD to arrive.
Outside North America, Android gains share in a slowing market
According to market analysts IDC, European smartphone shipments have fallen 4.2 percent in Q1-- the first drop in nine years. The weakness in the marketplace is affecting all manufacturers, but Apple was particularly hard-hit, losing five percent of its share -- mostly to Sony and Samsung, both of whom saw shipments rise by comparison. It is worth noting that shipments do not directly equal sales, but fewer shipments do indicate a drop in demand -- which for Apple is to be expected with the iPhone 5S expected to arrive later this summer.
Netflix opening in the Netherlands later this year
Netflix will be rolling out its streaming service to the Netherlands later this year. The new market, the first for the streaming service this year in Europe, joins already-operating versions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, though it has yet to reveal an exact launch date, potential pricing, nor the contents of its launch catalog.
Proposals to help create single European mobile market
The European Commission (EC) has voted to scrap mobile charges caused through roaming in 2014. The vote, held by a group of 27 European Commissioners on Tuesday, fast-tracks the proposal to ban the extra charges on calls, texts, and data, with a view to having it implemented by carrier by the beginning of July next year.
Five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon S4 used, 4G LTE missing
Chinese device manufacturer Oppo has put its Find 5 smartphone on sale in Europe. The mobile phone, available as an unlocked handset directly from Oppo itself via its European online store, offers a five-inch display with a 1080p resolution, giving it a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, while inside is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro running at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM.
Questionnaire asks if anti-competitive clauses in Apple contracts exist
The European Commission is looking into how Apple sells the iPhone in Europe, by asking carriers about their experience with the company. A questionnaire allegedly sent to carriers in the region asks if Apple's sales tactics are anti-competitive, a well as asking if Apple restricts the iPhone's use on some sort of technical level.
Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong set for May Surface Pro launch
The Microsoft Surface Pro will start shipping in a number of other countries later this month, as part of the company's plans to expand its retail availability further than the US, Canada, and China. The United Kingdom will see the device appearing on store shelves on May 23, while a number of markets in Europe looking to get the slate computer on May 30.
Expanded, multi-floor layout gives Mac maker showcase space
[Updated with video of grand opening] Europe's latest "showcase" Apple Store, the Kurfürstendamm outlet in Berlin that is set to open on Friday at 5pm local time, looks to take its place as one of the most beautiful on the continent -- comparing favorably to premiere stores in Paris and London among others. The large facility, with some 48,000 square feet, has room for luxuries like an expanded theater space and classically-appointed conference room, while still retaining a sleek and modern main sales floor at the ground level following extensive renovations to the century-old building.
Exchange of ownership for $774 million in cash, stock, to help simplify business
Electronics retailer Best Buy is selling its stake in Carphone Warehouse Group to co-owner Carphone Warehouse, in its continued efforts to financially turn itself around. The sale, which sees Best Buy exchange its holdings in the European entity for £500 million ($774 million) in cash and stock according to a statement, effectively ends Best Buy's faltering expansion into the continent.
Google agrees to label search results, links to competitors
Google has struck a deal with the European Commission, in order to end a two-year antitrust investigation into its search practices, according to a report. The legally binding agreement will see Google clearly labeling any search results that come up for its own products and services, and in some instances, providing links from competing search engines.
Google dismisses allegations
European acquisition could offer data-focused contracts
American carrier AT&T is looking towards expanding into Europe, according to insiders. The telecommunications giant may be making a bid to buy a mobile phone network, with the likelihood that the company will upgrade older generations of technology and improve the slow rate of 4G rollouts, as well as moving towards more modern pricing structures of contracts.
Satellite demonstration channel broadcasts 4K resolution content
The first channel dedicated to broadcasting Ultra HD content has launched in Europe. Operated by Eutelsat Communications, the channel started broadcasting demonstration footage on January 8th, with the aim of helping television manufacturers, satellite services, pay-TV operators and production companies in broadcasting their own content in the format.
Issue suspected to be Vodafone-specific problem
BlackBerry users in the UK, Europe and Africa using Vodafone are suffering from server issues. Research In Motion devices in affected regions are finding that data-related services, such as BlackBerry Messenger and e-mails, are not functioning normally, but the UK carrier assures it will be rectified by network engineers in the near future.
Fourth of 13 total gifts for UK, Canada, Europe users
Apple's 12 Days of Christmas app, available only in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Australia and New Zealand and parts of Europe, added to its list of gifts with a free HD episode of the critically-acclaimed BBC Drama Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The episode in question, "A Study in Pink," is loosely based on the classic novel "A Study in Scarlet" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It originally aired as one of three episodes in the show's first series.
Promotional iTunes giveaway app not available in the US
Apple's 12 Days of Christmas app, available only in select regions (the UK, Canada, Europe), comes with a twist this year -- an early gift "to help you get started." The app, which celebrates the period between Christmas and the traditional date of the baptism of Christ, offers a set of free iTunes merchandise every day for the 12 days. The app normally doesn't begin announcing goodies until December 26, but this year has begun offering Rod Stewart's interpretation of "Let It Snow" as a free music video starting yesterday.
All litigation dropped, Le Monde claims Google paying 5 million euros
Google took to its European blog today, and announced that it has reached a settlement with Belgian publishers that launched a suit against it six years ago. In the suit, the publishers argued that Google linked to cached copies and utilized portions of French-language content illegally. All litigation has been dropped under the new deal, but some ambiguity exists as to what exactly the European publishers have received as part of the deal.
UK stores hinted at through landlord talks
Microsoft will be gauging the public reaction to Microsoft Stores in the US before expanding into Europe. The performance of existing US stores will decide the fate of potential store launches on the continent, though Microsoft has already launched permanent international branches in Canada and Puerto Rico successfully.
Sources suggest missing first-year target to blame
Panasonic is to withdraw from European mobile phone sales within the next six months, according to reports. If true, the exit would see the company move out from the continent, with leaks suggesting that it will most likely miss its self-set target of 1.5 million smartphone sales this financial year.
Android app store launch hints at Kindle Fire on continent
The Amazon Appstore is now available to Europeans in a localized format. The Android-based service from Amazon is up and running in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, with prices in local currency and a more regionalized list of apps being featured on its front page. The timing of the Appstore launch ahead of a press event suggests that the European launch of an Amazon tablet such as the Kindle Fire or it's likely replacement could be on the cards.
Economy, imminent Windows 8 release, tablet market cited
Mirroring global trends, PC market analyst firm Gartner reports that PC shipments in western Europe declined 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2012 over the same period in 2011. Mobile PC shipments grew four percent, while desktop workstation shipments declined 12.8 percent. The professional PC market declined 5.3 percent, with 0.4 percent growth in the consumer PC market.
Prepaid Satellite Internet aimed at travellers, rural locations
Satellite operator Avanti Communications has started a pay-as-you-go satellite broadband service in Europe. The wholesale connection provider will now allow its service partners to sell the high-bandwidth Ka-band service to their customers based on bandwidth usage instead of a recurring monthly subscription. The aim of the new pricing scheme is to attract those who see satellite broadband as too expensive for their needs, especially those in remote locations or frequently travelling.
Bars deep packet inspection, wiretapping data
The government of the Netherlands has become the first European country to pass a net neutrality law. The legal precedent prevents internet service providers from traffic management except in the cases of congestion and network security, and also includes restrictions on ISPs performing deep packet inspection and other similar wiretapping techniques.
Timeframe for resolution remains unclear
European Union officials have reaffirmed their commitment to an ongoing Google antitrust investigation, however regulators have hinted that the probe may take much longer to complete. In a statement provided to , EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia admitted that "we are not there yet."
ViewSonic PLED-W200 has short throw and tiny size
ViewSonic has launched the PLED-W200 projector in Europe. It can display a 40-inch screen within a four-foot projection distance, weighs less than a pound, and is smaller than three stacked DVD cases.
US excluded from special offer
Starting slightly earlier this year than normal, Apple has released its 12 Days of Christmas companion app for its upcoming promotion in the UK and other parts of Europe, along with Canada. The promotional period, which runs from December 26th to the 6th of January, offers a free "gift" from the iTunes Store every 24 hours -- usually a song, app, movie rental or e-book.
Smartphones, in contrast, compliment viewing
A recent research study from carrier Orange has that, in Europe, tablet usage cannibalizes TV viewing. In contrast, smartphones tend to complement TV consumption. The research also found that tablet users are more likely to make purchases using the device than their handset counterparts.
Display detachable for other eyewear
Vuzix has announced that its Tac-Eye LT, a rugged monocular display mounted on Oakley's SI Ballistic M-Frame 2.0 protective glasses, is now available for customers in Europe. The system integrates a small AMOLED display with 852x600 resolution, enabling users to view content from a wearable computer or other video sources.
European high-end brand comes to US
European speaker maker Libratone has introduced two new speaker systems, the Live and Lounge, that are designed to work with Apple's AirPlay standard. The Lounge system is the larger of the two, offering Scandinavian aesthetics and a combination of ribbon-based tweeters and midrange drivers that are designed to disperse sound in different directions.