The United States Federal Trade Commission will fine Google for its breach of Apple’s Safari web browser security, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The Internet giant is currently negotiating with the Commission over an acceptable fine, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars. The fine would be the first time the FTC has ever punished a company for violating Internet privacy safeguards. Google in February was found to be bypassing the privacy settings of millions of unknowing Safari users by using a special code to install cookies on a user’s computer, even when such actions were supposed to be blocked by the browser. More →
The Federal Communications Commission on Monday determined that T-Mobile must pay a fine of $819,000 for “willfully and repeatedly” failing to comply with rules regarding hearing-aid compatible handsets. According to the FCC, the carrier violated the rules during 2009 and 2010. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Order requires each carrier to have at least 10 handsets, or 50% of all devices, that support acoustic coupling and 7 phones, or 33% of all devices, with inductive coupling. T-Mobile may reduce or negate the proposed fine by proving to the FCC that it did not violate the rule, or that it didn’t violate it as severely as the FCC alleges. More →
Google has been ordered to pay €500,000 to Bottin Cartographes, a French company that filed a lawsuit against Google France after it began providing its free Google Maps services to customers. Google is also responsible for paying an additional €15,000 in fees. The court found Google “guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application,” Economic Times said Thursday. “We proved the illegality of [Google's] strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognized the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed,” Botton Cartographes lawyer Jean-David Scemmama said. “This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application.” Google said it will appeal the decision. “We remain convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites,” a Google spokesperson said. “There remains competition in this sector for us, both in France and internationally.” Google was also fined €100,000 in France last year after a court found it guilty of collecting private information for the Street View feature of Google Maps.
Samsung, Sharp, Innolux Corp, Hitachi, HannStar Display Corp, Chungwha Picture Tubes and Epson Imaging Devices Corp will pay a total of $553 million to settle accusations that the firms participated in an LCD price-fixing scheme. The price fixing resulted in inflation of display prices at the benefit of all companies involved, but at the cost of consumers. “This price-fixing scheme manipulated the playing field for businesses that abide by the rules, and left consumers to pay artificially higher costs for televisions, computers and other electronics,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. The United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan began investigating the seven companies in December 2006, Reuters said, and executives and other firms have already paid as much as $890 million in fines. Settlement papers filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ask Samsung to pay $240 million, the largest fine levied against any of the firms involved. Nokia also filed a lawsuit against several, but not all, of the aforementioned firms in 2009 alleging that the companies were purposely driving up display prices for screens used in Nokia smartphones. More →
Italy’s Antitrust Authority has fined Apple Sales International, Apple Italia Srl and Apple Retail Italia a total of $1.2 million for “unfair commercial practices.” According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s Italy-based retail stores were fined €500,000 ($653,000) for not providing customers with adequate information about its AppleCare Protection Plan warranties, and an additional €400,000 ($523,00) for not being completely transparent about the length of product guarantees. The fines are a bit surprising, considering that Apple is typically praised for customer satisfaction in the United States. Apple has not commented publicly on the matter. More →
Apple has been fined by South Korea’s telecommunications regulator following the “Locationgate” scandal that caused public outrage earlier this year, Dow Jones reports. This marks the second time Apple has had to pay penalties resulting from the iOS location-tracking snafu. A South Korean lawyer sued Apple and was awarded $1 million won, or approximately $945 at the time, by a court this past June. It was discovered in April that the iPhone and some iPad models were secretly tracking users and storing their locations in a local file. Apple determined that a software bug was responsible for the collection of location data, and it promptly issued a fix. The damage had already been done, however, and lawsuits were filed. Apple’s prompt attention to the matter likely limited the damage, and Wednesday’s fine levied by the Korea Communications Commission is the first penalty we’ve seen issued by a regulatory body. So what’s the damage this time around? $3 million won, or approximately $2,829. More →
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against Microsoft in an appeal tied to a major patent dispute, ordering the Redmond-based company to pay a record $290 million patent fine. Supreme Court justices voted unanimously to uphold an earlier judgement stating Microsoft had infringed patents belonging to small Canadian software firm i4i. The judgement comes following a legal battle that began in 2007 when i4i sued the software giant claiming its Microsoft Word productivity software infringed on i4i patents. I4i was awarded $290 million by a federal judge at that time, and Microsoft would proceed to appeal the ruling for four years despite agreeing to alter its software in order to remove the infringing features. More →
Last week, we told you about Canada’s Competition Bureau slapping Rogers Wireless with a $10 million fine for inaccurate statements it made while advertising for its pre-paid wireless arm chatr. Unsurprisingly, the folks at Rogers have released a retaliatory statement vowing to “vigorously defend” itself and its statements in court:
Rogers Communications commented today on the actions of the Competition Bureau regarding chatr wireless. “We’re surprised by the actions of the Competition Bureau,” said Ken Engelhart, Senior Vice President of Regulatory, Rogers Communications. “We have extensive, independent third party testing to validate our claims and we stand by our advertising. We will vigorously defend this action in court.”
“We’ve completed extensive testing in coverage areas across the country and there’s no question that the testing validates the advertising in market,” said Todd Stone, President & CEO, Score Technologies.
Score Technologies is an independent third party organization that specializes in network testing for leading wireless carriers across North America.
We’ll keep you updated on any additional developments that come out of Canada.
The Globe and Mail is reporting that Canadian wireless carrier Rogers may face a $10 million fine for misleading advertising claims made against its competitors. The Canadian Competition Bureau is looking to levy the penalty for Rogers’ assertion that its pre-paid wireless arm — Chatr Wireless — has “fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers” such as Wind Mobile. The Competition Bureau reports that there was “no discernible difference in dropped call rates between Rogers/Chatr and new entrants.” According to the report, the Bureau is asking Ontario’s superior court to order Rogers Wireless to pay the $10 million fine and issue a letter of retraction.
We do wonder what the Canadian Competition Bureau would think about AT&T’s fastest 3G network, Verizon’s most reliable 3G network, T-Mobile’s largest 4G network, and Sprint’s now network claims. More →
Remember when we told you that the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) was looking to fine RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie up to $100 million CDN ($81.1 million USD) for their role in stock option backdating that went on from 1996 to 2006? Well, the gauntlet of justice has just smacked the co-CEOs in the head to tune of $77 million CDN ($62.5 million USD). 88% of the $77 million is to be paid back to RIM itself and the rest of the money to be handed over to the OSC itself. What’s more is that Balsillie will step down from the Board of Directors for one year but will be permitted to stay on as co-CEO. It’s rather strange that the OSC would ask Balsillie to step down from the Board but permit him to stay on as co-CEO – we suppose it goes to show that the OSC understands how integral Balsillie is to the health of the company. Apparently he also managed to convince the OSC that he learned his lesson and won’t be committing any more white collar shenanigans. So what does Balsillie have to say about this whole matter? “We’re very pleased to put this behind us.” No doubt.
Regulators could possibly fine RIM co-CEOs up to $100 million CDN for role in decade old stock controversy
Um, wow. Just wow. Remember how Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the co-CEOs of RIM, got in trouble all the way back in 2006 after being busted for stock options backdating? They had apparently been doing it since 1996 and it eventually led to Balsille steping down as Chairman. The Ontario Securities Commission apparently remembers the incident well, and boy does it ever seem like it’s out for blood now. A report today from Canada’s The Globe and Mail said that the OSC is seeking up to a $100 million CDN ($79.48 million USD) fine for the co-CEOs. Apparently Balsillie is the one that should be the most worried as he’s facing the bulk of the fine, but the OSC is also alleged to be pushing for him to step down from his role on the board of directors for an unspecified period of time. Lazaridis, who is of course the big brains behind the famous BlackBerry devices the company makes, would likely only have to pay a small portion of the fine. During the investigation into the matter, both Balsillie and Lazardis paid approximately $7.5 million CDN for legal costs so that RIM itself would not be financially burdened for their wrongdoings. By now you’re probably wondering, “Wow! How much did they make through backdating options?” About $2 million CDN each. [Insert crime doesn't pay remark here]