The 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.
Starbucks has started accepting contactless payments in more than 550 stores in the UK. Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance and Visa Europe are behind the tap-to-pay system, which seems to be gaining traction.
Starbucks says that cash payments are losing popularity fast, as only one out of three transactions are made in cash nowadays.
The system should make card transactions even faster, cutting queue times. Starbucks said the rollout of contactless follows other innovations implemented in the past, including a bespoke mobile payment app.
“Contactless payments are changing the way we pay in the UK. Transaction numbers are growing rapidly and with more than one in four UK Visa cards now contactless we’re expecting usage to quadruple again by the end of 2013,” said Mark Austin, Vice President at Visa Europe. “We’re delighted that Starbucks is joining the growing number of retailers who now offer contactless payments to their customers.”
There are currently over 27 million Visa contactless cards issued in the UK and contactless payments are accepted at more than 250,000 terminals in the UK, including on London Buses, which have seen more than 2 million transactions since launching contactless payments in December 2012.
Starbucks is behind the times and doesn’t pay much corporation tax. 711s and Family Marts in old Taipei have been piloting a combined NFC card for metro and other transactions for years.