Tag: eu

Abolition of global roaming will not mean cheap calls

PhoneThe abolition of roaming charges within the EU does not automatically lead to lower calling charges or reduced expenses for companies, according to telecom consultancy A&B Groep.
The outfit said that calling abroad were no cheaper, and was sometimes even more expensive. The costs for out-of-bundle calls increased, new subscriptions were more expensive, and companies are charged higher fees due to complex contracts.
Roaming charges are still applied in other European countries, calling from Switzerland, for example, has even become more expensive than before.

Under the title ‘Roam Like at Home’, the EU has put an end to the high fees charged by mobile providers for voice, SMS and internet use abroad, also known as roaming.

However, A&B Groep said that while abolition of roaming charges is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. It says that companies will not be able to save as much in costs as previously thought.

It was implied in recent months that roaming would be free of charge, but practice proves this to be a false implication, the outfit said
Ron Rijkenberg, CEO of A&B Groep said: “Why did the European Commission avoid dealing with this ‘real abolition’ of telecom country boundaries?” He clarifies his question with a practical example: “There is a person in the Netherlands. His colleague in Belgium uses his or her mobile telephone to call that person’s mobile telephone. The call is charged a higher fee than when the Belgian colleague first crosses the border with the Netherlands and then calls from the Netherlands. That roaming call has a lower charge than the international call.”

As of today, people in another EU country can use their standard bundle to call and use the internet. The current EU packages – as options in business telecom contracts – are voided by these new regulations.

Jorg Wiedijk said: “The perception that everything is now cheaper will lead to increased usage of data. The use of such data will now also be charged on to the national allowance. The data package limits are reached sooner, because of which the out-of-bundle charges will be charged when those limits are exceeded. Those rates have been drastically increased over the past months.”

Companies with existing contracts always receive an adjusted fee plan, as a result of which people will likely have to pay much more.

Also, optimisation of telecom contracts is not always possible during the term of the contract. The outside calling fee package charges can, therefore, lead to an increase in costs.

European distributors did better than the US

CLINTDEMPSEYvsgermanyThe European market IT market is growing faster than the US according to findings from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC).

There was a sales surge in the first quarter that helped Europe to have a strong start to the year.

Countries that had been in decline last year turning it around with Spain up 13 percent, Portugal 19 percent, France four percent, Belgium 12 percent, Germany seven percent, Norway 16 percent and the UK with 12 percent growth to the end of March.

UK distribution had high levels of new business even if there was the ongoing impact on customer plans from Brexit.

Tim Curran, CEO at GTDC, told the assorted throngs at its European summit that the year had started well across Europe, up by three percent in January, but had been six percent by the end of March.

He added that the role of distribution had changed and its position as a closer strategic asset for the vendor community was paying off.

“We come from an industry based on inventory, cost and fixed assets, but the amazing integration between distribution and the vendors has produced an industry with lower inventory, but much higher fulfilment rates. That makes it more efficient and profitable,” he said.

GTDC revealed at the summit that the top three services now being offered by distribution were: demand generation, education, and training along with solutions development.

“Vendors and solution providers are not yet fully utilising the range of services on offer from distribution, however,” he added.

“Distribution can also help solution providers with skills shortages, particularly in the technology solutions around the cloud. Vendors often say they need help to enable their partners to take advantage of the innovative ways of working,” Curran said.

Salesforce wants watchdogs to split up Microsoft and LinkedIn

dog-on-bed-with-people-no-text-590x388Salesforce has called on EU regulators to investigate antitrust issues related to Microsoft’s $26 billion bid for social network LinkedIn.

Vole is expected to seek EU antitrust approval in the coming weeks for its largest ever deal and Salesforce, which missed out on the sale is complaining.

It has asked competition authorities to go beyond a simple review, saying the deal threatens innovation and competition.

Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, said in a statement said that by gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage.

“Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union,” he said.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a statement: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

The European Commission’s preliminary review of merger deals lasts 25 working days, which can be extended by about four months if it has serious concerns.

Brexit causes UK services sector to fall

boris-parachuteThe UK services sector contracted for the first time in three and a half years thanks to Brexit.

The PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) survey data from IHS Markit and CIPS shows that the output and new business both declined and at the fastest rates since early 2009, with the Business Activity Index falling from 47.4 in July, compared with 52.3 in June.

It meant employment in the services sector stayed the same, marking the end of a 3.5-year period of uninterrupted job creation.

The volume of incoming new business dropped for the first time since the end of 2012. The report said that this was the fastest decline since early 2009 and again fuelled by uncertainty over the EU vote.

Chris Williams, chief economist at Markit, said: “It is too early to say if the surveys will remain in such weak territory in the coming months, leaving substantial uncertainty over the extent of any potential downturn. However, the unprecedented month-on-month drop in the all-sector index has undoubtedly increased the chances of the UK sliding into at least a mild recession.

“Service providers are certainly bracing themselves for worse to come with a record drop in business confidence about the year ahead, leaving optimism at its lowest ebb since February 2009.”

Still at least Brexit means we will no longer having foreigners telling us how to run things, even if they appear to have been doing it better than us.

EU starts €1.8 billion cyber security plan

european-commissionThe EU has signed an agreement with industry on cybersecurity and stepped up efforts to tackle cyber-threats which it hopes will trigger €1.8 billion of investment by 2020. It would be a big help to security suppliers, if the UK remained in the EU.

The new public-private partnership is part of a series of new initiatives to better equip Europe against cyber-attacks and to strengthen the competitiveness of its cybersecurity sector.

According to a recent survey, at least 80 percent of European companies have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the last year and the number of security incidents across all industries worldwide rose by 38 percent in 2015.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy the Commission wants to reinforce cooperation across borders, and between all actors and sectors active in cybersecurity, and to help develop innovative and secure technologies, products and services throughout the EU.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Without trust and security, there can be no Digital Single Market. Europe has to be ready to tackle cyber-threats that are increasingly sophisticated and do not recognise borders. Today, we are proposing concrete measures to strengthen Europe’s resilience against such attacks and secure the capacity needed for building and expanding our digital economy.”

Under the plan the EU will invest €450 million, under its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Cybersecurity market players, represented by the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO), are expected to invest three times more. This partnership will also include members from national, regional and local public administrations, research centres and academia. The aim of the partnership is to foster cooperation at early stages of the research and innovation process and to build cybersecurity solutions for various sectors, such as energy, health, transport and finance.

The Commission also sets out different measures to tackle the fragmentation of the EU cybersecurity market. Currently an ICT company might need to undergo different certification processes to sell its products and services in several Member States. The Commission will therefore look into a possible European certification framework for ICT security products.

A myriad of European SMEs have emerged in niche markets  and in well-established markets with new business models (like antivirus software), but they are often unable to scale up their operations. The Commission wants to ease access to finance for smaller businesses working in the field of cybersecurity and will explore different options under the EU investment plan.

Of course this does not apply to the UK. By the time the scheme is ready to go, the UK will have Brexited and will have to find its own source of funds, or not have any cyber security schemes of its own. But at least it can make up its own mind and it still has royality.

Government likely to water down EU data regulations

ukflagNow that the UK has voted for Brexit the government is almost certain to water down the EU’s proposed tough data regulations to allow US companies to snoop on UK citizens.

The EU alarmed the US tech companies by drawing up rules, which would insist that European data stay in Europe. The US government wanted its companies operating in Europe to be able to hand over data with a court order. Essentially this meant that any Euro cloud data could end up in the hands of Uncle Sam.

While the Germans and French thing this is a bad idea, the British are less keen. Not only are they closer to the US intelligence communities, but they are also chummier with big US tech.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been should be a huge shake-up of EU data protection laws. It included tougher penalties for companies in breach of EU data protection law. The UK government had wanted to water down the legislation, but it was not sure if it could get the EU to agree.

With Brexit that has all gone by the wayside. With the UK is out, the government can ignore bringing the laws in completely and can push ahead with its own data sharing plans. These could give data to whoever it likes and spy on whoever it wants. From a supplier perspective it means it will be easier to house data in the UK, but UK customers might have to be happy to have their data snuffled by US spooks.

Suppliers could also be forced to hand over data to US courts, if the UK really does need to suck up to the US government.

UK needs more tech immigration

immigration_2280507bImmigration policies need to be changed to address the “digital skills crisis” in the UK, a government select committee has said.

The Science and Technology Committee has published a report stating that it needs to be easier for SMEs to employ people from outside the EU, while claiming that the skills gap currently costs the UK £63 billion annually in lost GDP.

The report report called for the requirements for immigrants to be changed so that IT jobs can be obtained using Tier 2 visas. This allows SMEs to more easily employ people from abroad.

The government recently made changes to help SMEs recruit specialists from outside the EU, but the report says that the new rules exclude companies with 20 or fewer employees.

Science and technology committee chairwoman Nicola Blackwood said: “The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind.

“The government deserves credit for action taken so far but it needs to go much further and faster. We need action on visas, vocational training and putting digital skills at the heart of modern apprenticeships.”

Also unable to take advantage of Tier 2 visas, along with smaller companies, are firms that are more than 25 per cent owned by a larger company and those with “significant investment” from FTSE 100 companies.

The committee wants digital skills to be made one of the “core components” in all apprenticeships, not just digital apprenticeships.

 

Microsoft opposes Brexit

european-commissionMicrosoft’s UK boss has sent a letter to staff outlining why the firm believes the country is better off remaining in the EU.

This is expected as the IT community generally has backed the campaign to remain in the EU and even put their names to a letter published in a national newspaper.

But Michel Van der Bel, UK CEO of Microsoft did not join the throng, making many wonder if Vole really did hate Europe.  Now he has nailed his colours to the mast and penned a letter to the little Voles who work for him outlining his views and the reasoning behind it to make the case against Brexit.

Van der Bel stated that the vote was very much a question for individuals but, “as a business that is very committed to this country, our view is that the UK should remain in the EU”.

“We have a long history here. It’s where we opened our first international office in 1982 and we have been investing in the UK ever since. We have more that 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research,” he added.

“Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made. At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK,” stated the letter.

Microsoft recently invested in data centres in the UK to service the European market. This will be dicey if the Britain leaves the EU.

 

Microsoft solves EU cloud problem

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudMicrosoft announced a number of new cloud offerings today including one which will solve the company’s European cloud problesm.

The problem is that Microsoft is US company and its country delights in spying on its allies.  The EU fears that the NSA could get a court order and force Microsoft to hand over data from its European clouds and force it not to tell anyone.

Microsoft has come up with a wizard wheeze by creating a product called Azure Deutschland — a German cloud region that will offer Azure services that come not directly from Microsoft, but from the German data trustee Deutsche Telekom.

It not only makes sure that data remains in Germany, but also means that Microsoft can’t actually get to the data itself.  By operating under a German company, the NSA can’t force Vole to do squat.

In fact, while the region offers redundancy and backup, it does so through a private network to ensure that none of the bits being backed up even go through the public Internet where they might stray onto foreign soil.

Germany has some of the strictest data privacy protection laws on the books, and Microsoft said that Deutsche Telekom will have strict protocols regarding when Microsoft is allowed access, even for support:

 

EU gives Dell deal the thumbs up

Happy man portrait

Happy man portrait

Tin box shifter Michael Dell is going to be given unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $67 billion bid for data storage company EMC.

Dell unveiled the deal in October last year, the largest ever in the technology industry sector, and designed to enable Dell to better challenge rivals Cisco Systems Inc, IBM and HP in cloud computing, mobility and cyber security.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso has so far said nothing, but leaks in Brussels [shurely that should be sprouts.ed] claim that the when the Commission gives its ruling on the deal by February 29 Dell will be a happy bunny.

 

Dell founder and Chief Executive Michael Dell took the company private three years ago with the help of private equity firm Silver Lake.

The computer maker has arranged a debt package for up to $49.5 billion to help finance the EMC deal, the second-largest M&A financing on record.

 

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.

Cloud channel will not have long to wait for US data pact

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThose resellers who sell cloud services for US companies in the EU will be relieved to discover that the US is close to coming up with a new “Safe Harbour” deal.

Safe Harbour was a fast-track process that US companies could use to comply with European data protection law, which prevents EU citizens’ personal data being transferred to non-EU countries deemed to have insufficient privacy safeguards.

The EU Courts have struck down the current “Safe Harbour” laws because the US clearly was taking European data.

US. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said that the “Safe Harbour 2.0” agreement currently being negotiated would meet European concerns about the transfer of data to the United States.

“A solution is within hand. We had an agreement prior to the court case. I think with modest refinements that are being negotiated we could have an agreement shortly. The solution … is Safe Harbour 2.0, which is totally doable.”

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told a parliamentary committee this week that she hoped to have made progress on “intensive technical discussions” with her U.S. counterparts before a visit to Washington DC in mid-November.

Pritzker admitted that it was costing small and medium-sized US businesses that depend on Safe Harbour a lot of dosh. But that is the price you pay when your government believes that it can spy on whoever it likes.

EU denies it is “anti-American”

euThe EU has denied US corporate claims that it is “anti-American” in its recent wave of litigation against top American tech companies.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s accusations of anti-US bias over her decision to go after Google for abusing its internet search dominance and Apple over an Irish tax deal, saying such talk was a fallacy.

The US media fails to understand why all the cases on Vestager’s agenda all happen to be big companies from the Land of the Free – Google, Apple, Amazon and Starbucks. The feeling is that regulation is for non-American companies and the US should be allowed to do what it likes in its colonies.

Vestager told the Foreign Policy Association in New York that the nationality of companies played no role in her assessment.

“Yes, US companies are often involved when we investigate the digital industry. But you will also see many Japanese firms in our car-part cartel cases,” she said.

The European Commission is now studying Google’s response to antitrust charges of favouring its Google Shopping service over rivals. It is also investigating the company’s popular Android operating system for smartphones.

Amazon is in the EU’s crosshairs for a Luxembourg tax deal and Starbucks for a Dutch tax arrangement.

The EU is also wondering if it should ban cloud connections to the the US while its intelligence agencies insist that they have the right to steal it.

EC approves Nokia’s Alcatel-Lucent buy

euThe European Commission has approved Finnish telecom equipment group Nokia’s planned buy of Alcatel-Lucent because the two were not close competitors.

It said the merged Fin-French outfit will still face shedloads of competition even if it will have combined market shares around or above 30 percent for several specific types of equipment.

“The overlaps between the two companies’ activities are effectively limited,” the Commission said in a statement.

Nokia had a strong presence in Europe, where Alcatel-Lucent was small, with the positions reversed in North America.

Nokia launched its all-share deal then worth 15.6 billion euros to buys its smaller French rival in April. The move is seen as the company building up its telecom equipment business to compete with market leader Ericsson.

The merged group is smaller than the son of Eric, but bigger than Chinese rival Huawei’s and ZTE.

 

EU quizzes Qualcomm rivals about evil

movies-60-years-of-bond-gallery-7EU antitrust regulators have sent a questionnaire to Qualcomm’s rivals asking if it has been committing any atrocities over the way it licenses products.

Qualcomm has been feeling the regulatory heat in Europe, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea in recent years as watchdogs focus on its licensing model and its power over patents.

The bulk of its revenue comes from selling baseband chips, which let phones communicate with carrier networks, but a large portion of its profit comes from licensing patents for its CDMA mobile technology.

The European Commission told Qualcomm last year that it was investigating the way it sells and marketed chips and its rebates and financial incentives offered to customers.

The EU competition authority asked about the impact of various Qualcomm practices such as pass-through rights where phone makers are allowed to use patents already licensed by Qualcomm.

It also wanted to know how they feel about cross-licences and mutual non-assertion provisions in which companies agree not to enforce patent rights against each other.

Recipients of the document of more than 40 questions have until mid-May to respond.

A Commission spokeswoman declined to comment and Qualcomm had no immediate comment.

This is one of two EU inquiries into the company. The other probe, begun in 2010, was triggered by a complaint from British cell phone chipmaker Icera, a subsidiary of Nvidia, about rebates and financial incentives.