Motorola suffers major setback in FRAND patent case against Apple
Motorola has been issued a formal warning by the European Commission for potential FRAND patent abuse against Apple in a case underway in Germany. The EU Commission has formed a preliminary view that Google-owned company’s case against Apple violates the EU’s antitrust rules and that its misuse ‘could ultimately harm consumers.’ The development is a major blow to Google, which purchased Motorola for $12 billion in large part to use Motorola’s patents as a defense against Apple’s legal attacks on its Android partners.
Feedback requested on search labeling agreement
The European Commission has opened itself up to comments from Google's competitors, concerning how the search giant should display links to rival services next to its own. The feedback request comes after Google struck a deal with the EC to end its two-year antitrust investigation into its search practices, with the agreement including a number of concessions in search results and other products.
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.
French developer admitted to breaking Apple's guidelines
Calling Apple's decision to pull AppGratis out of the App Store for its violation of the rules "extremely brutal and unilateral," a junior minister for the digital economy in France has said she plans to ask the European Commission to investigate "Internet companies" for "repeated abusive behavior" and called for tighter regulation of digital platforms, search engines and social media. The thinly-veiled attack on Apple, Google and social services like Twitter and Facebook comes on the heels of Apple's pulling of the France-based iMediapp's program.
Proposal, if accepted, will likely lead to no fine paid by search engine
In response to the antitrust investigation by the European Commission, Google has formally submitted a proposal to the agency -- attempting to end a two-year investigation. The proposal, if accepted, will reportedly see Google clearly marking on search results what is a Google product, and impose fewer restrictions on advertisers. Google's proposal includes no fine paid to the Commission for its prior bad behavior.
Early probing underway
European Union regulators are examining whether or not the deals Apple signs with cellphone carriers might violate antitrust laws, the New York Times reports. Several carriers are said to have complained that Apple's arrangements hurt competition; a source for the Times adds that while no formal complaints have been filed, a group of carriers recently submitted information about their contracts with Apple to the European Commission. The Commission has confirmed that it is looking at the deals, but that it hasn't started an official investigation.
Says Apple breaking law in 21 European countries
Apple is still failing to tell consumers about their warranty rights in many European Union countries, says EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. Last September Reding sent a letter to various governments encouraging them to take action against Apple to make sure it obeyed EU warranty laws. But the case and the responses to her letter "have highlighted rather clearly just why the Commission cannot sit on the side-lines on enforcement issues," Reding said in a speech today, as reported by Dow Jones. "The approaches to enforcement in these types of cases turn out to be very diversified and inconsistent at a national level. In at least 21 EU Member States Apple is not informing consumers correctly about the legal warranty rights they have. This is simply not good enough."
Competitors' revelation cost Microsoft $730 million dollars
On the heels of The European Commission's 561 million euros ($730 million) fine levied against Microsoft, documents have emerged that show that Google and Opera are responsible for informing the commission that the browser choice screen in Windows had been excised. The Commission claims that around 15 million Windows users in the EU failed to see the mandated web browser ballot screen, something which Microsoft blamed on a technical problem.
Fine for lack of browser choice screen in Windows 7 Service Pack
The European Commission has handed Microsoft a hefty fine for not complying with a Commission order. The fine of 561 million euros ($730 million) stems from Microsoft failing to offer customers using Windows 7 Service Pack 1 the choice of default browser between May 2011 until July 2012, as part of commitments from a previous EC decision.
European Commission claims Microsoft in violation for over a year
Following accusations by the European Commission in October of 2012, the regulatory agency plans to fine Microsoft for continued refusal to offer a choice of browsers consistently in the Windows operating system. According to Reuters, sources familiar with the matter claim that the fine is expected before the end of March -- and it may be a significant sum, given that it is the second time that Microsoft has failed to adequately comply with a Commission order.
Summer break, review time cited as reasons for yet another delay
In the latest chapter of the European Commission's investigation of Google's potentially anti-competitive behavior, Commissioner Joaquin Almunia claims that the matter will be resolved after the summer break, pushing the close of the previously revealed deal until the end of August. The Commission has been examining a proposal submitted by Google to resolve the complaints from more than a dozen companies.
Proposal submitted by google avoids fines, censure
To solve European regulators' issues with its business practices, Google has submitted detailed proposals on the steps it will take to end a two-year investigation and dodge billions of dollars in fines. The European Commission said on Friday it has received the proposal, and if accepted under the settlement procedure, it will lead to no fine and no admission of guilt by the search engine. If there is no amicable resolution to the complaint, the company can be fined as much as 10 percent of its global earnings.
EU sees no direct implications for case from FTC settlement
The recent decision by the United States' Federal Trade Commission to close its antitrust probe of Google's business practices will not sway European regulators, who are also investigating the search industry leader's dealings. Executives at the European Commission, the body investigating Google, say they've taken note of the FTC's decision but don't see any direct implications for their own investigation and discussions with Google.
Step marks commencement of formal FRAND patent abuse investigation
Confirming reports from yesterday, the European Commission has in fact filed a formal Statement of Objections with Korean manufacturing giant Samsung. The filing is the latest step in the commission's investigation, which has been ongoing for over a year. After the notification, Samsung has an opportunity to reply, and request a hearing before a regulatory board.
Record fine for manufacturers in decade-long cartel
The European Commission has fined seven electronics manufacturers 1.47 billion euro ($1.92 billion) for price fixing, in what has been described as "textbook cartels". Philips, LG, Samsung, and others were fined for their parts in cathode ray tube (CRT) price cartels for televisions and computer monitors, that lasted between 1996 and 2006.
One of five publishers not participating in settlement
The head of the European Commission believes that a settlement could be reached in the Apple e-book antitrust case "in the coming couple of months." The European Commission is now market-testing an offer by Apple and four publishers in a bid to end the probe. The publishers involved mirror those from the US case over the same e-book price-fixing allegations -- Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livra, and Macmillan are all named in the settlement offer. Publisher Penguin was also charged in the investigation, but is not participating in the settlement.
European Commission approves Universal/EMI deal but requires concessions
The European Commission approved Universal Music's takeover of EMI Music, though it required some concessions. Universal agreed to divest nearly one third of EMI assets, including its Parlophone flagship music label in Europe. There are other stipulations, such as agreeing to a set of market controls that dictate how Universal handles contracts with digital music services.
Microsoft: Browser selection screen purged accidentally
Microsoft is preparing measures that will address antitrust concerns brought by the European Union, according to European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Antritrust regulators are investigating if Microsoft is continuing to block computer manufacturers from installing other web browsers besides Microsoft-supplied ones, following complaints from several companies.
Cartel lasting five years inflated drive prices to PC OEMs
The European Commission is contacting thirteen manufacturers of optical drives over possible EU antitrust rules breaches. The EC suspects the unnamed companies of being involved in a bid-rigging cartel, artificially raising the price of optical drives during contract auctions with two major PC OEMs over the last five years. If parties are found to be breaking the rules, they face a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's worldwide turnover.
Multi-territorial licensing could aid iTunes, Amazon sales
The European Commission is proposing changes to music licensing rules in Europe. The suggestions would seek greater transparency, an improvement in royalty collecting group management, and allowing for multi-territorial licensing of music usage rights.
Second-highest court in Europe rules against Microsoft
Microsoft has lost an appeal against a European Commission decision over its business practices. The General Court, Europe's second-highest, denied the appeal of the 2008 fine, which saw Microsoft faced a fine of 899 million Euros ($1.35 billion at the time, $1.12 billion now) for violating existing antitrust sanctions. This has been cut to 860 million Euros ($1.07 billion) due to Microsoft being permitted by the Commission to apply "restrictions concerning the distribution of 'open source' products" up to September 17, 2007, according to Reuters.
Google files complaint with European Commission against rivals
Google has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Microsoft and Nokia are using patent trolls to stifle competition in the smartphone sector. The search giant hopes that the two companies will held accountable for their alleged collusion, and that it's complaint will spur others to take similar action in the coming months.
Lower roaming charges also include data roaming charge protection
The European Commission has agreed on a new set of mobile roaming rules in an effort to lower phone bills. The new regulations, effective from July, will lower the maximum roaming charges to €0.29 ($0.36) per minute for outgoing calls, or €0.08 ($0.10) per minute to receive calls. The changes are part of a continued battle between the European Union and phone networks over high roaming rates for the continent, with further reductions lined up in the future.
Volvo, Euro government SARTRE project completes first public test
Swedish carmaker Volvo has successfully completed a 125-mile long highway drive in Spain that included three autonomous cars and one commercial truck. The vehicles were wirelessly linked and followed a lead vehicle driven by a professional driver. The first such public test was a success and Volvo believes it will let drivers relax during long commutes, partaking in activities such as working on notebook PCs or reading books.
Search giant asked to address issues
European Union antitrust regulators have threatened Google with fines and a formal antitrust lawsuit if the search giant does not move to resolve lingering concerns. European Commission vice president JoaquAn Alumnia has found evidence of anticompetitive wrongdoing, however regulators are enabling the company to make a "commitment decision" as an alternative to litigation and a potential fine.
Intel may get appeal on EU claims at last
Intel may get a long expected chance to appeal a $1.45 billion EU fine at a hearing this summer. Insiders talking to Reuters had Intel making its case at an EU General Court between July 3 and 6. How it would challenge the complaint wasn't said, but it might rely on an ombudsman finding that the European Commission hadn't conducted the investigation properly and missed a meeting with Dell.
Sony to now publish much of EMI music
A group led by Sony on Thursday won its side of a joint bid on EMI assets. The alliance, which includes the Blackstone Group, David Geffen, Mubadala Development, and Raine Group, was cleared by the European Commission to buy EMI's publishing wing for $2.2 billion. The deal is contingent on Sony's group selling off catalog rights for Virgin's European, UK, and US divisions, along with Famous Music UK.
EC requests public input into possible regulation
The European Commission have launched an investigation into regulating smart appliances in the future. Due to the vast amount of personal data at stake, the EC requested views on the “Internet of Things” (IoT) concerning privacy, safety, security, ethics, governance, and standards from the general public for the next three months.
Apple may be last to bend on e-book truce
Some progress has been made on trying to negotiate a settlment on e-book antitrust disputes in the US and Europe, insiders disclosed Wednesday. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have reportedly agreed to terms that would dissolve the iBookstore deals they struck, the Wall Street Journal said, which gave them control over pricing and required that they offer no lower price than at Apple's store. Apple, Macmillan, and Pearson, however, were claimed to be "reluctant" to make a deal.
EU antitrust investigations start over Motorola
The European Commission quickly acted on earlier hints on Tuesday and formally started two antitrust investigations versus Motorola. The two pursuits will look into whether Motorola was abusing its standards-based patents against Apple and Microsoft. The claims would check whether Motorola was trying to squeeze Apple over 2G and 3G licenses for iPads and iPhones, as well as similar tactics over H.264 video in Windows 7 and the Xbox 360.
Microsoft ends deal with Arvato over Motorola suit
Microsoft in a retaliatory move against Motorola ended teamwork with Germany company Arvato for software distribution. The move reported by Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur would see about 50 people lose their jobs as Microsoft relocated distribution to the Netherlands. The Windows developer argued that Motorola's H.264 video patent demands made staying in Germany untenable.
EU says Motorola tactics vs Apple may be flawed
Motorola could be subject to the same sort of investigation of patent abuse that Samsung is facing, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a speech during a stop in Washington, DC. He was "considering" an investigation in order to provide "more clarity" in the competitive space, AllThingsD heard. Companies like Motorola and Samsung could potentially misuse their ownership of standards patents by demanding high rates under the threat of a product ban, regardless of their public commitments to FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms.
Accuses search giant of specific violations
The European Commission, already investigating Google for abusing its dominant position to promote its own services over that of rivals, has received an additional complaint from online travel agency Expedia, which accuses Google of specific business and search practices that it says violate EU competition and consumer-protection laws. This brings the total number of complaints against Google to 12, including former Expedia owner Microsoft.
European roaming laws go into effect this July
Mobile phone owners in Europe will get the option to choose their own roaming carriers in the countries they visit. This is thanks to a new deal inked between the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission. The original proposal to this effect was made last July.
European Commission pushes back Google date
The European Commissioner's competition head Joaquin Alumnia on Wednesday postponed a decision on possible antitrust charges versus Google. He pushed back from a promise of late March or early April until after April 8, or after Easter. Investigators had asked for "some more days, even weeks" to accommodate the holidays while still conducting a proper investigation.
EU worried top carriers keeping prices high
Possible slips may have revealed the first stages of a possible European Commission investigation into the continent's top five carriers. The FT heard from sources that Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telecom Italia, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone were under scrutiny for a series of "E5" meetings on the state of the industry. Concerns existed that they had used the discussion to possibly collude on prices and policies, hurting competition.
Motorola wanted complete access for Apple truce
The European Commission has posted details (PDF) of its approval of Google buying Motorola that may have uncovered an attempt to create a mostly one-sided licensing deal. Negotiations in late 2011 to reach a settlement had reportedly seen Motorola demand that Apple provide licensing for its entire non-standard patent collection just to get licenses for Motorola's 3G standards patents. Motorola had been aiming for a cross-licensing deal that would help all Android makers with the knowledge that Google's takeover might be approved.
EU deal may avoid penalty over Apple book pricing
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in comments Monday said his agency was willing to settle with publishers over an e-book price fixing investigation. He was willing to put an end to possible penalties for Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan if they addressed "all our objections [at the EC]" over the group allegedly raising prices unfairly, Reuters heard. The European regulator was working in tandem with matching US investigators, although he didn't directly confirm leaks of a possible Department of Justice lawsuit.
European Commission says Android leaking data
European Commission VP Viviane Reding hinted Android app developers and possibly Google itself might be in legal trouble over app data access. Reacting to a report by the UK's Channel 4 where many top-50 Android apps were allegedly scraping personal data and passing it on to ad suppliers, Reding believed it was "against the law" by accessing data without consent. To her, it was a deceptive practice that could demand a forced change.
Google unified policies may run afoul of EU rules
EU passes ACTA onto European Court of Justice
The European Commission reacted to mounting pressure Wednesday by at least temporarily halting plans to ratify the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) proposal, choosing to pass it to the European Court of Justice for inspection. The continent's high court will decide if ACTA violates fundamental EU rights. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht took a balanced position, wanting neither to accept media labels' views at face value nor act based on preconceptions held by some of those protesting the measure.
Apple takes Moto accusations to EU officials
Motorola in an SEC filing Friday said that Apple had formally complained to the European Commission that Motorola was allegedly violating the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms around its 3G patents. The complained had been lodged the same day. Exact details of the complaint hadn't been mentioned.
Cisco says MS-Skype needs tougher oversight
Cisco has posted a formal appeal of the EU approval for Microsoft's acquisition of Skype. The networking giant accepted the merger on a basic level, but it wanted the European Commission to have imposed interoperability requirements. Making Microsoft adhere to standards would prevent it from trying to "control the future of video communications," Cisco said.
EU gives full approval to Google-Motorola
As anticipated, the European Commission on Monday approved Google's $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola. The approval was without conditions after the EU body decided that it wouldn't hurt smartphone competition or patent issues. Commissioner Joaquin Almunia was aware there was a chance Google might abuse patents to shelter Android, but he promised legal action if that was the case.
EU seen as likely to approve Google buy as US
Two insiders claimed Friday that the European Commission was likely to approve Google's acquisition of Motorola. In sync with talk of a likely US approval, Reuters understood that the EU regulatory body would greenlight the deal in "unconditional" form. The EC had reportedly decided that the takeover wouldn't be anti-competitive.
EU denied request to stop Google policies
EU investigates Samsung use of 3G standards
Samsung may have overstepped its bounds in trying to counter Apple as the European Commission has launched an investigation of its practices. The EU body is hoping to determine whether Samsung breached promises to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to charge fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rates by suing Apple over 3G in multiple European countries. It wanted to check whether Samsung was trying to "distort competition" and abuse a controlling stake in wireless.
EU makes data protection rights official
The European Commission on Wednesday formally outlined its new data protection rules and touched on Google's own decisions. As hinted earlier, the rules would require plain, explicit permission for data, require data portability between services, and enforce a "right to be forgotten" for those who want to purge their data entirely. If a company saw a breach of information, they had 24 hours in most circumstances to notify both the regulators of affected countries and the European citizens they affected.
EU OKs e-waste takeback and toughens data policy
The European Union moved forward on two key policy changes to potentially improve technology adoption. European Commission VP Vivane Reding in a speech at the DLD conference on Sunday said the EU would have tougher rules on data collection as of January 25, according to Reuters. Companies would be required to tell officials as soon as data was known to have been misused or stolen, and they would have to give users a right to export, import, and completely wipe their information.
Neelie Kroes Twits against SOPA bill
The latest to speak out against the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills is European Union Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. "Glad tide is turning on SOPA: don't need bad legislation when should be safeguarding benefits of open net," she wrote in a Twitter message. The legislation, if passed, would give the US Justice Department to shut down sites simply suspected of sharing pirated content.