Displaying items by tag: EU

EU fines Qualcomm over alleged antitrust violation

Written on Sunday, 21 July 2019 11:30

US chipmaking giant Qualcomm has been fined 242 million euros by the EU for an antitrust violation.

The fine is the second penalty imposed on the company by Brussels, the previous fine being 997 million euros back in 2018.

“Our investigation found that Qualcomm abused” its dominant position in the market between mid-2009 and mid-2011 by “engaging in predatory pricing,” read the statement issued by the EU.

According to the EU’s case, the chips in question are “key components so that mobile devices can connect to the internet” and that “Qualcomm sold these products at a price below cost to key customers with the intention of eliminating a competitor,” said EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The EU also stated that Qualcomm sold chipsets to Huawei and ZTE, strategic customers which are Chinese tech giants, “with the intention of eliminating Icera, its main rival”.

Qualcomm said in a statement that it would appeal this decision as a means of exposing “the meritless nature” of it.

The EU fine, according to the chipmaking giant’s General Counsel, Don Rosenberg, is “unsupported by the law, economic principles or market facts, and we look forward to a reversal on appeal.”

Rosenberg added that the Chinese tech giants chose Qualcomm because “rival chipsets were technologically inferior”.

Qualcomm was also recently fined in Korea and Taiwan for antitrust concerns. In fact, the chipmaker finalized a two-year-long legal battle with Apple over royalties.

Trump has criticized Vestager’s cases against US tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple. In fact, Google was previously given 3 major fines from the European Commission amounting to a total of 8.25 billion euros.

Published in Government

EU approves IBM's $34 bn Red Hat acquisition

Written on Sunday, 30 June 2019 13:32

The EU's powerful anti-trust authority cleared the buyout by IBM of open source software company Red Hat, one of the biggest tech mergers in history which the computing giant said would enhance its cloud offerings.

Published in Finance

Google charged $1.69bn for anti-trust breach by EU

Written on Friday, 07 June 2019 05:10

US tech giant Google has appealed an EU fine of 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for unfair practices through misuse of its dominant position, a source close to the case said.

Published in Government

The World Economic Forum launched six Industry 4.0 Councils on Wednesday to aid policymakers and enterprises in leveraging emerging technologies whilst anticipating the social risks that could result from them.

Published in Government

Huawei’s European figurehead has blasted the US over its treatment of the Chinese vendor has described their behavior as ‘bullying’.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Spotify recently made an official complaint against Apple to the European Commission, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior and their complaints have now warranted an investigation.

Published in Apps

Radiation concerns temporarily halt 5G activity in Brussels

Written on Thursday, 18 April 2019 08:46

5G plans in Brussels have been put on hold until radiation levels as a consequence of the new technology are measured accurately.

Brussels has the strictest telecom radiation regulations globally. The Belgian government is concerned that 5G technology is unable to measure radiation from 5G antennas.

The Belgian Institute of Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) recommended last year that the country should loosen their grip on the limits they have set in order to allow the region to capitalize on 5G technology. As a result, ministers approved of this and increased the indoor limit to 9 volts per meter (v/m) and the outdoor limit to 14.5 v/m.

Orange has unveiled its plan to rollout 5G in Brussels this year and to make it commercial by next year.

The Minister for Housing, Quality of Life, Environment and Energy in the Government of the Brussels Capital Region, Celine Fremault, has decided to halt any further activity with regards to 5G deployment. Fremault is worried that the MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) antennas needed for 5G technology are unable to accurately measure the level of radiation emitted which would mean that there is a risk of the technology not being within legal limits.

She said that while she recognizes the benefits that come with 5G technology, “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.”

She added, “I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not.”

Additionally, Belgian operators are currently facing more challenges pertaining to the 5G rollout as the government has decided to delay the spectrum auction. It has been speculated that while it has been postponed to 2020, it may be postponed even further as ministers have not been able to reach an agreement on 5G licenses and how they should proceed with the auction.

Switzerland on the other hand, has begun its 5G rollout. Swisscom recently published a ‘fact check’ on 5G technology in order to avoid “misinformation”.

Christian Neuhaus, a Swisscom spokesman commented on the issue by stating that, “The frequencies are the same as what we’ve been using for years. They’ve been analyzed in thousands of studies and not one has managed to prove scientifically that there’s a serious risk to health.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Internet behemoth Google deemed the overhaul of the bloc’s online copyright law to be damaging for Europe for “decades to come” as it urged the European parliament to resist its approval.

European lawmakers have until next week to vote on the landmark legislation. This legislation that is aimed at modernizing copyright for the digital age has caused a lobbying war in Brussels.

This reform has been debated for the past few years by EU member states, tech giants and artistic creators. Google has tried to approach MEPs to discourage the law from being passed this month.

The biggest issue as of yet is the request for illegal content to be deleted off YouTube (owned by Google) and various other platforms using automatic filters otherwise, there would be liable.

According to Google’s senior Vice President of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, the reform “creates vague, untested requirements” that would mean that many websites would end up “over-blocking content”.

“This would be bad for creators and users who will see online services wrongly block content simple because they need to err on the side of caution and reduce legal risks,” he said.

The “unintended consequences” could potentially “hurt Europe’s creative economy for decades to come” he added.

Another issue is the provision to devise “neighboring rights” for media publishers.

News organizations are in favor of this legislation to be passed because they feel that tech giants such as Facebook have made billions from advertising that is very often tied to news stories, while the publishing industry suffers.

In reference to the implications of this planned reform on the publishing industry, Walker said that it “hurts small and emerging publishers, and limits consumer access to a diversity of news sources.”

He warned: “Under the directive, showing anything beyond mere facts, hyperlinks and ‘individual words and very short extracts’ would be restricted.”

Due to the controversy around the issue, the outcome of the vote remains uncertain.

Published in Infrastructure

Data flows between the EU and Japan are now ‘safe’

Written on Thursday, 24 January 2019 09:29

The European Union and Japan finalized common rules to protect personal information, and launched what they called the “world's largest areas of safe data flows”. Firms can transfer data now that the executive European Commission finds that Japanese law offers “a comparable level of protection of personal data,” the commission said.

“This adequacy decision creates the world's largest area of safe data flows,” EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said, referring to an area of more than 600 million people. “Europeans' data will benefit from high privacy standards when their data is transferred to Japan,” the Czech commissioner said. “Our companies will also benefit from a privileged access to a 127 million consumers' market,” she added.

Jourova said the arrangement "will serve as an example for future partnerships" on data flows and set global standards.

The two sides cleared the final hurdle by agreeing on supplementary rules. These cover the protection of sensitive data, the exercise of individual rights and the conditions under which EU data can be further transferred from Japan to another third country.

Japan's independent data protection authority (PPC) and courts can enforce these rules covering Japanese firms that import data from EU.

Tokyo gave Brussels assurances that any use of personal data for law enforcement and national security purposes would be “limited to what is necessary and proportionate.” Access by public authorities for these reasons would be “subject to independent oversight and effective redress mechanisms,” the EU executive said.

The two sides agreed to a mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints from Europeans over data access that Japan's independent data protection authority will run and supervise. The decision complements the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which takes effect in February to become the world's biggest trade deal.

Published in Government

France's data watchdog (CNIL) announced a fine of 50 million euros ($57 million) for US search giant Google, using the EU's strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the first time.

Google was handed the record fine from the CNIL regulator for failing to provide transparent and easily accessible information on its data consent policies, a statement said. The CNIL said Google made it too difficult for users to understand and manage preferences on how their personal information is used, in particular with regards to targeted advertising.

“People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We're deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We're studying the decision to determine our next steps.”

The ruling follows complaints lodged by two advocacy groups last May, shortly after the landmark GDPR directive came into effect. One was filed on behalf of some 10,000 signatories by France's Quadrature du Net group, while the other was by None Of Your Business, created by the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems.

Schrems had accused Google of securing “forced consent” through the use of pop-up boxes online or on its apps which imply that its services will not be available unless people accept its conditions of use.

“Also, the information provided is not sufficiently clear for the user to understand the legal basis for targeted advertising is consent, and not Google's legitimate business interests,” the CNIL said.

Published in Government
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