The European Union will decide on February 13th whether or not to give its blessing to Google’s planned purchase of Motorola Mobility. Google recently provided European courts with more information in support of the merger, Reuters said. The European Union suspended its review of the merger on December 12th pending Google’s submission of documents that are considered “essential to its evaluation of the transaction.” Google announced on August 15th its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and said the purchase will bolster its patent portfolio and help it defend its Android partners against competitors such as Apple and Microsoft. More →
European Union regulators have temporarily stopped investigating Google’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility until more information is made available. The antitrust investigation will resume after “certain documents that are essential to its evaluation of the transaction” are provided to the European Union, Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the government agency explained. The suspension went into effect on December 6th and it is unclear how long it will last. Bloomberg said the regulatory investigation is expected to finish up sometime next year. Google announced on August 15th its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility. At least one expert has said the deal will be a “big mistake,” but Google has explained that Motorola’s patents will help it assist its Android partners in legal battles with competitors such as Microsoft and Apple. More →
German news outlet Financial Informer reported on Tuesday that Apple has won a preliminary injunction to stop the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the whole of the European Union except for the Netherlands. The Regional Court of Düsseldorf appears to have sided with Apple’s claims that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on intellectual property related to the design of Apple’s iPad. Apple has a similar ongoing lawsuit in the Netherlands. Should Samsung continue to sell the tablet, the company could face fines of up to $350,000 for each violation. Foss Patents said the ruling in Germany will go into effect immediately, although Samsung could appeal the decision during another hearing. On August 1st, Apple blocked Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until courts there rule on whether or not the tablet infringes on 10 of Apple’s patents. Samsung agreed not to advertise or sell the device and Apple will pay damages if the South Korean company wins the Australian case.
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →
Cupertino based Apple, Inc. has filed for a trademark on the word “Places” in both the European Union and China, reports Patently Apple. The original filing was submitted on February 23rd and covers international classes 009, 041, 042, and 045. The first three classes cover a hodgepodge of computer services, software, and hardware. But class 045 pertains specifically to social networking services; “providing a social networking website; assisting in the locating of people using a global positioning system (GPS).” Apple has already dipped its toe in the social networking pool with its Ping music discovery service, which, as far as we can tell, no one uses. For the past few years, the company has used the “places” name in its iPhoto and iOS software, although, that doesn’t seem worthy of a full trademark filing. Any guesses?
If you’re in the UK and are feverishly awaiting Google’s Nexus S device to become available tomorrow, you will pretty pleased to know that the price that SIM free phone will sell for has just been reduced. Carphone Warehouse now shows the Nexus S available for £429.99 as opposed to £549.99 when it first was announced and featured on their website. No official word on why the no contract handset’s price was lowered, but we’ll let you chime in with your own thoughts in the comments.
Bloomberg is reporting that European Union antitrust regulators are preparing to launch an investigation aimed at concluding whether or not search giant Google “imposes exclusivity obligations on advertising partners.” Several companies, including Microsoft, are claiming that Google is preventing said partner-sites from placing ads for “competing services” on their websites. Foundem, a U.K. based price-comparison site, said Google was “stifling innovation” and that the company “should not be allowed to discriminate in favor of its own services.” In a written statement, Google explained: “There’s always going to be room for improvement and so we’ll be working with the commission to address any concerns.” The European Commission can levy fines of up to 10% of a company’s revenue for monopolistic practices. More →
If we know one thing about Apple it is this: they like control… and this latest rumor seems to reaffirm that creed. Blog GigaOM is reporting that Apple is planning to release an iPhone with an integrated SIM that can be used on any wireless carrier — partnered with Apple — in the EU. A universal iPhone if you will. As the report explains:
Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.
This special SIM would have an upgradeable flash component as well as a ROM component. The article goes on to explain:
The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network.
This would be yet another way that Apple can control the end-user experience — and potentially the distribution — of its popular smartphone device. For us, one of the benefits of using a SIM-based device is having the luxury of popping the little plastic card into virtually any compatible, GSM device you choose. What do you think? More →
Qualcomm is now at the center of a European Commission antitrust investigation, it was revealed on Thursday. Stemming from a complaint from rival chipmaker Icera, the Wall Street Journal is claiming that “the main issue appears to be over the way Qualcomm links the patents from other companies to its own patent offering to bolster its chip sales.” For its part, Qualcomm says that the new allegations are more or less the same as previous antitrust case it fended off in 2005 in which six major competitors alleged the chipmaking giant was charging too much in royalty fees and making it difficult for new entrants to break into the mobile chipset market. More →
Some slick domain name and trademark sleuthing from MacRumors and TechCrunch uncovered information about several islate-containing domains and the companion trademark “ISLATE” that may point to Apple as the company behind this mark. It all began with MacRumors which uncovered information about the domain islate.com, a TLD that passed through several hands until 2007 where it landed with the registrar MarkMonitor, a well-known registrar that handles and hides domain registrations for large companies including Apple. Close inspection of the domain name history reveals a brief lapse in late 2007 which exposed Apple as the actual owner of the domain. A look at other TLDs reveals that MarkMonitor also registered islate.co.uk, islate.biz, islate.info, islate.jp and islate.cn in the month of November 2006. Other country designations such as, islate.de and islate.fr, don’t fit into the puzzle as they are registered to known companies with islate.de being registered to a Innovative Dynamics GmbH and islate.fr being registered to the IP property law firm of Wilson & Bertherlot. The mystery deepens when one takes a look at the “ISLATE” trademark information uncovered by TechCrunch, though. Hit the jump to read on.
The EU, and various other stakeholders, *cough* Mozilla and Opera *cough*, filed suit against Microsoft in 2007, alleging that the act of only having Internet Explorer installed on the Windows operating system by default was an anti-competitive business move that violated EU antitrust laws. The suit proved effective, as European regulators and Microsoft executives have reached an agreement on how to move forward without the “help” of the courts. Microsoft has consented to a five year contract that requires all copies of Windows in the EU to present the end-user with a “Choice-Screen” that presents an option of 12-browsers to have install. Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, AOL, and Flock all made the short list along with a few lesser known browsers. Microsoft, which has already paid around $1.7 billion in EU fines due to the IE debacle, will face additional penalties if they decide not to honor the five year deal. Microsoft estimates that 100 million current Windows users will be presented with the pop-up while another 30 million will see it as a result of new hardware or software purchases. The “Choice Screen” will be presented to users running Windows 7, Vista, or XP, and will begin showing up next year. More →
The Galileo navigation satellite project has been in the works for some time now in Europe, spearheaded mainly by the drive to mitigate reliance on U.S. foreign satellite guidance systems. Galileo will, in theory, “offer greater accuracy — down to a meter and less; and greater penetration — in urban centers, inside buildings, and under trees; and a faster fix” when compared to the U.S. run GPS satellites. The new system is set to be offered with a tiered service model, five tiers to be exact, and will also come with an integrity check of sorts, warning users if and when their reported location may not be exactly bang on. Any good news for those of us stateside? Sure is. The U.S. and EU have agreed to make both the GPS and Galileo systems interoperable; newer navigation hardware will be able to position you using either constellation as well as benefit from any future improvements to the United States’ system. Europe started launching Galileo ‘sputniks’ into orbit in December of 2005 and the main constellation is set to go live sometime in 2010. Here’s to hoping that our beloved smartphones are updated with the new technology sooner rather than later.