Investigation centers around agreement for Apple to carry Audible titles
The German Federal Cartel Office, which handles antitrust investigations, is looking into the agreement between Amazon and Apple by which the latter purchases audiobooks from Amazon-owned Audible for sale in iTunes. While there is no suggestion yet that either company is doing anything wrong, the office appears to be concerned that the arrangement has resulted in such a strong market position as to potentially be anti-competitive, and thus in need of a closer look.
Carrier subscribers can pay for iTunes music, apps via mobile phone bill
Music, apps, and other content on iTunes is now able to be purchased using carrier billing in Germany, it has been revealed. Subscribers of O2 in the country can pay for items within iTunes using their mobile phone account with customers able to enter their mobile phone number into iTunes itself and have charges added to their monthly bill, or in the case of prepaid customers, whatever credit is available to use on the account.
New official Apple channels on Google-owned service offer videos in local languages
Following some localized YouTube channels for Apple's videos in South Korea and Japan over the summer, four new official Apple channels -- for Spain, France, Germany, and Italy -- now offer local-language versions of Apple's recent and older videos for new products and services. Not counting the US-based "original" channel, the Japanese version has thus far proven the most popular, attracting more than 10,000 subscribers after less than three months. Of the four new European channels, France has about half as many subscribers as the others.
Apple plans store in Cologne, Germany, hangs mural for new Miami store
Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall.
Uber launching licensed taxi services in Germany following ban
Uber is going to launch a new service in Germany, following its ban by a local court this month. The court banned Uber over its use of unlicensed cab drivers, reports Reuters, and intends to fine Uber drivers violating local transport laws. A new service will be launching this summer, with Uber paying the commercial passenger transport licenses and to register drives as taxi companies at a cost of between 250 euro ($270) and 400 euro ($435) per driver, most likely under the UberX brand.
Visits with German Chancellor, Israeli President for former president
Fresh from his trip to Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple VP of Hardware Technology Johny Srugi -- the latter a graduate of Israel's Technion Institute of Technology -- have made their way to Israel for meetings and to attend the opening of a new set of Apple R&D offices in Herzliya. Along with the announcement of a nearly $2 billion investment in two new data centers to be located in Europe, Cook and Srugi met with various Israeli officials, including President Rueven Rivlin and former president Shimon Peres.
Reason Cook is in Germany not clear, pays visit to Bild tabloid newspaper
Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday, spending a portion of his day with the editors of the German tabloid paper Bild, though the reasons for the visit were not made clear. Cook may be in Germany for a variety of reasons, ranging from meetings with EU bankers to help forge European Apple Pay agreements, to overseeing the last of the glass panels for the Apple Campus 2, or on his way to Israel to help open the new Apple R&D center there. While in Germany, he tweeted a remembrance of what would have been Steve Jobs' 60th birthday.
Defunct Mini model briefly returns to online Apple store
Apple's official online shipping times for the iPod shuffle have improved in the UK, France, Germany, and several other European countries, reports say. Earlier this month, shipping times deteriorated to between seven to 10 days worldwide, prompting fears that Apple might be discontinuing the product. Sources claimed that Apple was just going through component supplier changes, however, and this may be borne out by the European Apple online stores, which is now seeing the media player ship in five to seven days. Delays have yet to improve in the US or Canada, but may follow suit in the near future.
Costs go up at Norwegian, Turkish online stores
Apple has increased the costs for developers and products in a range of countries across Europe, reports say. German developers note that the cost of an annual Developer Program membership has jumped from €80 ($96) to €99 ($119). The change is presumably affecting all European Union countries, since Apple rarely makes changes in one Euro market to the exclusion of others. In the UK, developer registration fees have been hiked from from £60 ($92) to £79 ($121).
Believes Internet should be split into two channels to secure quality for special services
While members of the European Union and the US fight net neutrality and Internet traffic equality battles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded in during a conference in Berlin to explain her outlook for the Internet. Instead of looking towards maintaining a neutral playing field for all, Merkel says that the Internet should be split into two tiers to accommodate special services.
Alex Springer relents on Google News story fee demand in Germany
Germany's largest publisher, Alex Springer, is allowing Google to show snippets of articles in its search results and Google News. A number of major German newspapers restricted the information Google was allowed to show, in a bid to try and force Google to pay a per-story fee, but some have relented after discovering traffic to the sites went down far lower than expected.
Amazon Fire TV includes broadcaster on-demand services alongside Amazon Instant Video
Amazon has started to sell its Fire TV media streamer in the United Kingdom, marking the set-top box's first foray in Europe and outside the United States. Following a pre-order period which started in early September, Amazon is selling the Fire TV for £79 ($126) including tax, and is also shipping the Amazon Fire Game Controller separately for £35 ($56).
Year-old German copyright law interpretation in dispute between publishers, Google
Google has changed the way it shows articles in search results and Google News in Germany, as part of an ongoing battle against publishers in the country. Searches for news will now just show a headline and link to the story hosted on certain German news sites, removing the thumbnail images and article snippets Google usually displays for the listings.
Editor issues open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple has dropped a German publication, Computer Bild, from receiving review units or covering company events, according to the publication's editor-in-chief, Axel Telzerow. Like some other websites, CB recently decided to produce a video testing whether the iPhone 6 Plus can be bent more easily than other phones. The clip (below) has managed to gather over 510,000 views so far on YouTube; its popularity apparently caught the attention of Apple, which contacted CB to revoke press privileges.
Shipping firm testing regular deliveries of supplies to island using drones
While companies such as Amazon and Google are exploring ways to use drones for deliveries in the future, DHL is starting to use the autonomus flying machines for some deliveries in Germany as part of a trial. The shipping company will be using a drone to transport packages to Juist, an island located in the North Sea which is home to around 1,700 inhabitants.
Hannover, Germany Apple Store to open Saturday
Apple's 14th store in Germany is set to open in Hannover this weekend. As has been previously reported, the planned location has been subject to delays due to building defects, with bad ventilation requiring additional attention. The grand opening is scheduled to begin the morning of Saturday, September 27.
Includes Apple TV, Chromecast
Netflix has expanded into Germany, according to an announcement by the streaming video service. Plans start at €8 per month ($10.37 US) for basic SD streaming. Two simultaneous devices plus HD quality is €9 ($11.66), while four simultaneous devices with Ultra HD (when available) is €12 ($15.55). As elsewhere, each account can have up to four profiles, which can be age-restricted if need be.
UK, Germany first European countries to receive Amazon smartphone
Amazon has lowered the cost of the Fire Phone in the United States, down to 99 cents on a two-year contract. At the same time, the retailer revealed it is bringing the Fire Phone to Europe, with the United Kingdom and Germany set to be the first markets on the continent to receive the device at the end of this month.
New court order issued last week held in abeyance until appeal heard
Ridesharing app Uber is facing yet another shutdown order in Germany; this time, encompassing the entire country. A preliminary injunction to stop service nationwide has been applied against the company since the end of last week over what the court calls a lack of appropriate permits and insurance carried by the drivers. Uber is appealing, and will not shut down while it waits for a hearing.
Operations can resume, but judge's ruling will be troublesome for future hearings
The Hamburg, Germany court system has reauthorized Uber to operate, at least temporarily. Despite the resurrection, which was based on a technicality, the court did dictate that the service was "probably illegal" as drivers for the service lack a passenger transportation license, similar to the situation that Lyft faced in New York City.
Judge allows rideshare company to return to business, ban lasted only four days
Uber fans in Berlin can rejoice for the time being, as the company has been given the go-ahead to resume its UberPop and UberBlack services today for the time being. A judge from the Berlin Administrative Court suspended the municiple ban, allowing the ride-sharing service to return to business. There is no time frame on how long the suspension will last.
Company aims to fight ruling, calls decision 'not progressive'
Berlin, Germany has banned the Uber unlicensed cab service from city limits, citing concerns for passenger safety and the unregulated nature of the drivers for the service. The firm itself is liable for a fine of $33,000 per fare, with drivers themselves seeking riders likely to be hit with a $26,500 charge by authorities as well.
New stats may be attempt to sway local governments
Apple has posted a new promotional page, touting the company's alleged benefits to the European economy. It claims to have "created or supported" 629,000 jobs on the continent, with over 500,000 of those being linked to the "app economy." Of the over $20 billion it has paid out to developers, about $6.5 billion is said to have gone to European outfits. Among Apple's 280,500 registered developers, 52,000 are in Germany alone, and 30,000 are in France. The local iOS app economy is said to have about 20,000 open positions.
MakerBot Europe formed to manage Central, Eastern European 3D printer sales
MakerBot is making an expansion into Europe, by acquiring its largest reselling partner. A seller of MakerBot products in Germany for a number of years, Hafner's Büro has been rebranded as MakerBot Europe and will manage resellers of its 3D printer range across Central and Eastern Europe, with a view to covering more markets within the continent in the future.
Mold, ventilation among obstacles
Apple's planned store in Hannover, Germany may finally open its doors in late September, say sources claimed to be connected to the company's local retail team. The shop has been under development for some time, with black construction facades first going up in April 2013. The delay is said to be linked to fixing up problems in the building, including mold, bad ventilation, and general defects.
Claims same legal protections already obtained in US
The European Court of Justice has issued a decision granting Apple an EU trademark on the layout of its retail stores. The ruling (PDF) states that "the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," giving the trademark scope enough to cover all of Apple's locations.
Builder likely testing materials to be used on final development
A life-size "slice" of the planned exterior of Apple's under-construction Campus 2 has popped up in Gundelfingen, Germany, reports German enthusiast site iFun.de. Pictured posted on the site show two stories of the expected four- or five-story (above ground) structure, which will be built as a massive ring-like office building with a large natural area in the center. The segment was likely created to test the materials chosen for the building's exterior.
Argos, eBay Click and Collect delivery partnership expanded to 650 UK stores
Auction site eBay has expanded last year's trial of its Click & Collect delivery scheme partnership with Argos across the United Kingdom. The scheme, which initially allowed customers to buy from 50 eBay sellers and pick up orders from 150 London-centric Argos stores, is expected to cover 650 stores around the country by the end of the year, with over 65,000 eBay sellers expected to offer the delivery option.
NSA snooping of officials turns German government away from American company
Verizon is going to be out a high profile government client, thanks to the spying actions of the United States. Today, Germany indicated that it would not be renewing its contract with the wireless carrier based on concerns that Verizon had potentially abetted spying from the National Security Agency (NSA). Germany's contract with Verizon is set to expire in 2015.
European operations consolidated in Frankfurt, redundancy causes layoffs
After three consecutive years of losses, Nintendo is being forced into the position of closing down one of its offices. The gaming company will close down its office in Großostheim, Germany to consolidate its European operations to Frankfurt. In the process, Nintendo will eliminate 130 permanent positions in the company as the two offices consolidate.
Date most likely informed guess
Support workers for German carrier Deutsche Telekom are attempting to get some people to stay with the claim that the next-generation iPhone will ship on September 19, local reports say. Apple hasn't revealed the phone yet, and it's doubtful that the company would be giving carriers an exact date at this stage. It is a possibility however, and if nothing else the date is consistent with the launches of the iPhone 5s and 5c -- which took place on September 20 last year -- and the iPhone 5, which shipped on September 21, 2012. The 19th may, therefore, just be an educated guess on Telekom's part.
Current-generation iPads still excluded
Apple has expanded its iPad Reuse & Recycling program to France and Germany, local reports say. When the initiative first launched on Earth Day -- April 22nd -- it was restricted to Canada and the US. Given Apple's history with the iPhone version of the program, the UK is likely next in expansion efforts.
US, other regions still at 2-3 weeks
Apple's official shipping times for the 2013 Mac Pro have shrunk to one to two weeks in several European nations including the UK, France, Spain, and Germany, checks show. Other online storefronts -- including the US -- are still showing times in the two- to three-week range. If historical trends persist, times in the US should improve in short order.
May be first hint of iPhone 6 launch window
German Apple Store workers are being blocked from taking vacation days in September, according a source for local website iFun. The reason for the restriction hasn't been made public, but since September/October is typically when Apple releases new iPhones, that's believed to be reason why. It is however unusually early for a such a window to be imposed; normally Apple and other vendors will only institute blocks a few weeks in advance of a product launch.
Changes make iTunes video content more useful
Apple has made two important improvements to its German video offerings, reports say. The most important is iTunes in the Cloud support for movies and TV shows; this means that content bought or rented on one device can be downloaded elsewhere, or again, at no extra cost, as long as it's tied to the same Apple ID. By extension, the second change is that TV shows hosted on iTunes can now be viewed on an Apple TV.
Initiative continues slow international expansion
Apple's iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program is now in effect in German Apple Stores. As elsewhere, the plan lets people get credit towards a new iPhone by trading in eligible older models. In Germany, Apple is offering up to €230 in credit, depending on the model and its condition.
Shops could fill in key gaps
New photos may suggest that Apple's upcoming store in Hannover, Germany is almost finished. The outlet has been under development since April 2013, and construction facades are still in place on the inside of the building. An Apple logo is now on display outside the shop though, and is being lit up at night, although it's still covered. It's believed that the location could open as soon as next month.
Could be attempt to revive device's sales
(Updated with photo of packaging label, iPad 4 rumor) Apple is preparing an 8GB version of the iPhone 5c and may ship it as soon as March 18, according to an alleged internal email from the German branch of O2. The message says that O2 will sell the phone tomorrow contract-free for €509 ($707), as compared to the €569 ($791) a 16GB model costs. It's unclear how that might affect the iPhone 4S, which is already at 8GB and currently serves as most carriers' "cheap" iPhone, often heavily discounted, or free on contract.
European 2G, 3G, 4G patents from Ericsson used by Unwired Planet in lawsuit
Huawei, Google, HTC, and Samsung have become the targets for two patent infringement lawsuits, filed simultaneously in the United Kingdom and Germany. Unwired Planet, the owner of 2,400 wireless patents it acquired from Ericsson last year, claims a total of six patents have been infringed by the technology company group. Although Unwired Planet has not estimated the possible value of the UK action, the company is seeking at least 30 million euro ($42 million) from the German case.
High-speed network technology research announced by UK Prime Minister
United Kingdom will work with Germany to create the next generation of wireless communications technology, revealed UK Prime Minister David Cameron at CeBit in Germany. The two countries will collaborate together on the 5G connections, which Cameron hopes could cut the time it takes to download an 800MB file down from 4G's 40-second transfer time to just one second.
One Apple suit valued at almost $2.2 billion
Germany's Mannheim Regional Court has dismissed two lawsuits against Apple and one against HTC, all of which were brought by IP holding firm IPCom, reports say. The cases revolved around a set of standards-essential 3G patents IPCom bought from Bosch after the latter exited the carphone industry. One of the suits, had it been successful, would have have demanded almost $2.2 billion in damages from Apple.
Steep price increase comes with renamed Lovefilm service
Amazon is readying a price hike for its Prime service in Germany before the end of the month. On February 26, users will see a rate increase that comes after the company renamed its streaming video service Lovefilm to Amazon Prime Instant Video in order to pair it with existing Prime subscriptions.
Issues blocks on still more domains
Apple has acquired the rights to several more domain names, made available through ICANN's continuing rollout of new generic top-level domains. The company now owns four .technology addresses: apple.technology, ipad.technology, iphone.technology, and mac.technology. It has also secured blocks against registering some domains, including apple.construction and macbook.technology.
Supporting regions still under a dozen
Apple has brought its two-step verification process to several more countries, the company's support pages show. Until today, only the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand were supported. Now however the list also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
Plaintiff so far winning rulings against Nokia, HTC
On February 11th, Apple will go to trial at Mannheim Regional Court to defend itself against a patent infringement suit brought by German patent firm IPCom, reports say. The latter company accuses Apple of violating a standards-essential wireless patent upheld by the European Patent Office last month; another, separate patent is also at stake. IPCom is asking for €1.57 billion ($2.12 billion) in damages, plus pre-judgment interest.
4.5-inch display, 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor in Ascend Y530
Huawei has launched a brightly-colored addition to its smartphone range in Europe, with the two-tone casing and physical design said by Huawei to be aimed at a younger audience. The Ascend Y530 is an entry-level Android smartphone with a 4.5-inch, 480x854-resolution display, with the restrained internal specifications matching its low launch price tag.
Daring raid fraught with risk, removed loot from back at 50MPH or more
An unusual tale of a daring robbery of Apple equipment sounds like it came directly from an action thriller like the spy spoof Danger Diabolik. Thieves in Germany, copying similar thefts by a Romanian gang, apparently followed a moving truck full of Apple devices, broke open the lock on the rear of the truck and made off with about $95,000 (€70,000) worth of iPads, iPhones and other items -- all while travelling at around 50 miles per hour.
European Moto X launches 6 months after United States version
Motorola has launched the Moto X in Europe, at its launch event in London today. The flagship Motorola smartphone, originally launched in the United States in August, makes its way across the Atlantic to join the Moto G, though unlike the American version, the European model will not offer any Moto Maker customization options, instead offering just the standard black and white-backed models.
Testing of hands-free Beacon system expands
Transaction service PayPal has started testing a new web feature called In-Context Checkout, reports say. Normally, web-based PayPal transactions have to be completed at paypal.com. With the in-context code in place, choosing PayPal checkout at a retailer's website will simply conjure a pop-up, where billing and shipping information can be entered. At the moment only a handful of retailers have the option, but PayPal is promising that more vendors will adopt it in the first half of 2014.
City hit with several car-based robberies in recent times
Apple's Kurfürstendamm store in Berlin was rammed with a car earlier today during a smash-and-grab robbery, says German newspaper Bild. Around 4:15 in the morning, the thieves crashed an Opel Corsa through the doors, and proceeded to take a number of iPhones, iPads, and Macs before fleeing in a pair of Audis. So far there is no word on the progress of the police investigation.