Tag: antitrust

Google “fiddled its figures” – official

330ogleThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considered taking Google to the cleaners in 2012 for abusing its monopoly position but in the end decided against the move.

That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which said the five FTC commissioners decided not to pursue their findings.

FTC investigators discovered proof that Google abused its monopolistic position and used techniques that harmed competitors such as TripAdvisor.

The reason the FTC did not pursue the case was because it was going to be hard for the poor dears to prove its case. They also felt that Google was “popular”.

Google has a different angle on the findings claiming there was no need for the FTC to take action because it isn’t evil.

The European Commission (EC) doesn’t appear to be shying away from investigating Google, despite a series of high profile spinning events Google organised towards the end of last year.

The FTC discovered that Google interweaved its own products into search results, skewing objective results.


Schmidt triggers Euro debate

Google's Eric "Google Glass" SchmidtThe chairman of Google was summoned to meet the European Competition Commissioner yesterday, as investigations continue into alleged monopolistic habits.

Margarethe Vestager called Eric Schmidt in to discuss a number of complaints about Google, according to a report by Reuters.

Vestiges has already met a number of people complaining about Google, including executives from Microsoft and German press Axel Springer.

Google has, according to the report, has tried to settle the complaints about search engine three times, but all blandishments from the behemoth have been rebuffed.

If the competition commissioner finds that Google has been squeezing out other players in the European market, she could decide that the company has to dish out a tenth of its global revenues, that’s around $6 billion or so.

Qualcomm faces billion dollar fine

qualcomm-snapdragonUS tech giant Qualcomm may face a fine of as much as $1 billion after antitrust regulators decide on its future.
And it may also face sanctions that make it cut its royalties by a third.
Reuters reports that talks between Qualcomm and the authorities in China are close to reaching a conclusion.
The article quotes Xu Dunlin, head of China’s antitrust agency, as saying his authority will soon release details of the settlement.
The ruling will have a significant effect on Qualcomm because nearly fifty percent of its worldwide revenues from from the country.
Further, much of its profits come from royalties through its licensing division.
Reuters says that it’s not just Qualcomm that faces a problem from the Chinese agency.  It is also investigating Microsoft and Samsung to see if they infringe its antitrust rules.
It’s estimated that Qualcomm generates over $25.5 billion in revenues from the Chinese mainland.


Google faces antitrust hearing

330ogleA judge will hear a plea from Google today that she on dismiss an antitrust lawsuit in San Jose based on a class action against the internet giant.

Google will ask US District Judge Beth Freeman to dismiss a class action alleging that its Android operating system forces companies that use the OS in their devices to not use competing software from other companies like Microsoft.

Google will argue that people are free to use any apps on Android that they want to even though the plaintiffs insist it’s difficult or fiddly to do so.

If the class action is allowed to proceed, it’s likely that it will take some time and we’ll be treated to internal Google emails while executives from the company might be required to argue their position under oath.

Google is under increased scrutiny for its business activities.  A four year long investigation in Europe was given extra impetus last month when the European Parliament passed a resolution to break up the company because of its dominance. That caused the US administration to express worries about the case being politicised.

The European Commission has not yet given any indication of when its investigations will be completed, but has the power to levy large fines on the firm.

Europe continues its anti-Google campaign

euroflagzThe European Commissioner in charge of antitrust matters is to meet up with the companies that complained about Google’s behaviour in Europe.

According to a report in Reuters, the new commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, wants to gather more information on the case.

To that end she is to meet companies with a beef – those include Microsoft, Hotmaps, Expedia, TripAdvisor and a gaggle of publishers.  They all believe that Google is abusing its dominance in the European sphere.

Late last month the European Parliament voted to break up Google – that vote however lacks teeth.

Vestager has teeth and has the ability to impose swingeing fines on Google if it’s shown it has antitrust tendencies.

Meanwhile, Reuters also reports that a German company is suing Google and Youtube for allegedly infrong a patent for video compression it own.

Euro Parliament votes for Google breakup

euroflagzThe European Parliament has sort of voted to break up Google into little bits, separating the search function from its other businesses.

The resolution was passed today with 384 in favour and 174 against – but the vote is more of a gesture than a resolution because the Parliament has no power to split it up.

What it does mean is that there is additional pressure put on the European Commission to step up its now four year long inquiry into Google’s alleged dominance of the market – domination that the Mountain View, California company denies.

Google maintains it has plenty of competition from a number of companies including Amazon, Expedia and others.

The parliamentarians are supported by a number of lobbyists and by publishers in Europe such as the Axel Springer group, which alleges Google has way too much power to influence the market.

Google hasn’t formally replied to the vote at press time, but has mounted a spin offensive in Europe over the last few months in an attempt to show that it isn’t evil, but is a force for good.

US gets shirty with EU over Google

euroflagzA motion in the European Parliament to be debated tomorrow and voted on on Thursday has raised the ire of the United States.

Two MEPs are proposing that Google should be dismembered because its power is excessive.

And even though the European Parliament has no powers to enforce such a move, it’s attracted ire from the US mission to the EU, according to Reuters.

In an email to the the EU the mission said it was concerned about the call to dismember Google.

It added that looking at competitive problems and remedies should be based on objective and impartial information and “not be politicised”.

If the European Parliament votes for the motion on Thursday, that’s likely to put pressure on the European Commission to step up its investigations.

Google has been under scrutiny by the EC – a separate entity from the parliament for four years following complaints by all and sundry that it is behaving in an antitrust manner.

EU to vote on Google breakup

euroflagzA motion to break up search giant Google will be debated in the European parliament this week.

That follows scrutiny of Google’s practices within Europe by antitrust regulators.

The vote, proposed by MEPs from Germany and Spain proposes that Google’s search business should be separated from the rest of its business activity.

But even if the vote goes against Google, the parliament doesn’t have the power to take it to pieces.  Nevertheless such a vote in favour would be a bad PR blow to Google, which has led a spin initiative in the last few months to convince Europeans that it isn’t evil.

What a positive vote might do is to put pressure on the EU’s competition commissioner to scrutinise Google more.

Google has argued that it is not anticompetitive and that it already has plenty of competition in Europe.  That hasn’t stopped publishers like News Corp and German publishing outfit Axel Springer getting irated about Google’s marketing clout.

Qualcomm has China crisis

china-syndrome-one-sheet1Qualcomm is facing a little trouble in Big China as it is starting to look like its antitrust investigation is going pear shaped. Meanwhile problems collecting royalties could harm its business in China next year.

To make matters worse it is facing similar investigations in the United States and Europe.

Qualcomm should be making a large profit in China. The country is expanding high-speed 4G network is driving demand for smartphones with leading-edge technology.

But it looks like Qualcomm could face a fine of more than $1 billion in China as a result of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) investigation, and the company could be forced to make concessions that would hurt its highly profitable business of charging royalties on phones that use its patents.

Qualcomm admitted that it faces a new probe by the European Commission about rebates and other financial incentives in the sale of its chips. Another preliminary investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concerns a potential breach of licensing terms.

Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said that his company was co-operating with the Chinese to come up with potential ways to resolve the problem.

Qualcomm has also been struggling to collect licensing revenue from some device makers in China, including local manufacturers the US chipmaker has done little or no business with in the past.

But the fear is that concessions on royalties that Qualcomm is forced to make in China could spread to manufacturers in other countries.

Qualcomm said it was difficult to predict the outcome of the U.S. and European investigations.

The European probe is separate from a four-year-old complaint to the European Commission from a subsidiary of Nvidia over alleged patent-related incentives and exclusionary pricing by Qualcomm.

Qualcomm forecast revenue for fiscal 2015 of between $26.8 billion and $28.8 billion. Analysts on average expected $28.91 billion.

The chipmaker reported revenue of $6.69 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Sept. 28, up 3 percent from the year-ago period. Analysts on average had expected $7.016 billion.

Qualcomm posted fourth-quarter net income of $1.89 billion, up 26 percent from a year ago.