European commission Stories September 14, 2016

European Commission plans to make YouTube pay more to musicians and labels

The European Commission has proposed changes to copyright laws that would require video sites like YouTube to pay more to musicians and music labels, reports the BBC. It follows a plea by more than 1000 artists – among them Lady Gaga and Coldplay.

The draft directive will also require publishers and producers to tell performers or authors what profits their works have generated. The music industry has long criticised YouTube for failing to pay enough for content such as music … 

European commission Stories June 28, 2016

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The European Union has already filed two sets of antitrust charges against Google, the first accusing it of manipulating search results to favor its own products, the second alleging that Google forces Android device manufacturers to install its own apps and set Google search as the default.

Last summer, it was reported that the company may face a third antitrust case in Europe, this time for abusing its dominant position in advertising, and the WSJ reports that the EU is currently preparing to files these charges, possibly next month …

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European commission Stories May 16, 2016

Google EU We had heard that the EU was planning to levy a substantial fine on Google for its alleged favoring of its own services in search over those belonging to competitors last year already, and the Telegraph is reporting that the European Commission is now estimating a hefty €3 billion ($3.4b) tag… expand full story

European commission Stories April 27, 2016

Google Getty Images

Google seems to be under fire lately. Less than a week from the European Union’s charges against the Mountain View company regarding supposedly unfair practices towards its hardware partners, TIME is reporting that the famous stock photo agency Getty Images is now accusing the technology giant of “promoting piracy” with its Images search engine…

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European commission Stories April 18, 2016

European Commission could finalize Android anti-trust charges against Google this week

The Financial Times reports that tight deadlines given to four lawyers suggest that the European Commission’s Android anti-trust case against Google could see formal charges finalized this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

European commission Stories March 28, 2016

googlenews

TNW reports that the European Commission is pressing ahead with proposals to make Google News pay a fee for linking to news stories on the web. The EC says that as search results include a short excerpt from the piece, and that text is protected by copyright, Google must pay.

Three European countries have tried this, and it failed in all three. In Spain, Google simply decided to close Google News in that country, and news websites lost 10-15% of their traffic overnight. Spanish publishers – who had originally demanded the law – quickly realized their mistake and tried to pass a new law that would somehow force Google to return …

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European commission Stories February 25, 2016

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 23, 2010, file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels. France's data privacy agency ordered Google to remove search results worldwide upon request, giving the company two weeks to apply the "right to be forgotten" globally. The order Friday from CNIL comes more than a year after Europe's highest court ruled that people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Just one day after the UK’s public spending watchdog described the £130M ($185M) back-tax paid by Google in the country as “disproportionately small,” France is demanding a rather larger sum. Reuters reports that the country’s finance ministry believes Google owes €1.6B ($1.76B).

“As far as our country is concerned, back taxes concerning this company amount to 1.6 billion euros,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said […]

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Michel Sapin ruled out striking a deal with the U.S. search engine company as the British government recently did, saying the sums at stake in France were “far greater” than those in Britain … 

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European commission Stories February 24, 2016

FILE - In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. According to numbers the company released Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, nearly 145,000 requests have been made in the European Union and four other countries by people looking to polish their online reputations. That’s an average of more than 1,000 requests a day since late May, when Google began accepting submissions to comply with a European court decision that ruled some embarrassing information about people’s lives can be scrubbed from search results. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

The Public Accounts Committee, the British Parliament’s public spending watchdog, has criticized the £130M ($185M) tax deal Google struck with the UK government as “disproportionately small.” The committee also criticized the secrecy around how the sum was calculated, reports the Guardian.

Google’s controversial tax deal cannot be properly assessed by MPs because of secrecy surrounding the negotiations, according to a report by parliament’s public spending watchdog. But the deal to pay £130m in back taxes for a 10-year period seems “disproportionately small when compared with the size of Google’s business in the UK”, the public accounts committee has found.

A report published today calls for more to be done to prevent “aggressive [tax] avoidance” by multinational companies, with Google accused of hypocrisy …

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European commission Stories January 28, 2016

5-Google-headquarters-Rex

The European Commission says that the £130M ($185M) tax deal struck between Google and the UK government may amount to “illegal state aid” by offering the company better terms than those available to smaller businesses.

Google first came under fire for its tax arrangements in the UK in early 2013, when it was accused of funneling profits from UK Adword sales through Ireland, resulting in the company paying just £6M ($8.5M) tax on a turnover of £395M ($565M). In the new deal, it agreed to change its accounting practices to pay more tax in the UK, and to pay a lump sum in back tax …

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European commission Stories November 4, 2015

Employees take their lunch break in the sun at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Erin Siegal (UNITED STATES) - RTR1XUQ7
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Employees take their lunch break in the sun at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Erin Siegal (UNITED STATES) - RTR1XUQ7

With Google potentially facing a fine of up to $6.6B after the European Commission charged the company of abusing its dominant position in search, its lawyers have now filed a 130-page rebuttal. In it, the company attempts to use a legal technicality to argue that it cannot be fined for favouring its own products in search results …  expand full story

European commission Stories September 1, 2015

01eugoogle-superJumbo

It seems Google’s legal woes in Europe will never end. The European Commission has long been running an investigation into whether Google was guilty of anti-competitive behaviour in Europe, which finally resulted in a filing of charges in April and a warning of large fines in June. It may be next year – some six years after the investigation began – before the final ruling.

A second anti-trust investigation into Android followed, and a third one not long afterwards, this time into its web advertising business. As if all that weren’t enough, the NY Times reports that a US law firm and European public affairs company have created a joint venture to help companies file civil claims against Google in the event that the EC finds it guilty of the first set of charges …  expand full story

European commission Stories July 22, 2015

google-ads

Just as one European antitrust case against Google reached its conclusion, with a second one underway, it may be facing a third, reports the Financial Times.

The first antitrust case found that Google abused its dominant position in search to promote its own products over that of competitors. with the company told to expect large fines. A second one is underway, to determine whether Google forced smartphone manufacturers to favor its own apps over competitor ones in return for permission to use Android.

The FT now reports that a number of companies selling online advertising have asked the European Commission to consider a third case, to investigate Google’s dominance of the web advertising business …  expand full story

European commission Stories June 29, 2015

Harvard/Columbia study for Yelp may influence level of European antitrust fines for Google

A study commissioned by Yelp and carried out by two prominent U.S. academics has quantified the impact of Google giving prominence to its own services over organic results, reports the WSJ.

The study’s authors— Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Tim Wu of Columbia Law School—found that users were 45% more likely to click on results that were ranked purely by relevance, rather than as Google ranks them now, with its own services displayed prominently.

The study of 2,500 Internet users said that the results provided empirical evidence that Google’s promotion of its own services resulted in lower-quality search results for consumers. Google, in contrast, had argued that its own specialist services can provide consumers with more precise answers to their queries.

Yelp was one of a number of companies that filed European antitrust complaints against Google five years ago, leading to a European Commission investigation that has been running ever since – with various attempts by Google to bring proceedings to and end. Some of these were rejected while others were accepted, but the EC finally decided in April to file charges against Google, before being told to expect large fines.

The results of this study may influence the level of these fines.

Photo: AP

European commission Stories May 15, 2015

adblock

The Financial Times is reporting that European mobile carriers are planning to block Google and other web ads in order to reduce demands on their networks and break Google’s hold on advertising (via TNW).

According to the story, which cites anonymous sources, the carriers have installed software from Israeli ad-blocking firm Shine in their data centers to block advertising in Web pages and apps, but not social networks.

Many websites, 9to5Google among them, depend on ad revenue to deliver free content to their readers. Any move to block ads could have far-reaching consequences …  expand full story

European commission Stories April 15, 2015

google

As expected, the EU has formally accused Google of abusing its dominant position in search to favor links to its own products over those offered by competitors. The complaint takes the form of a Statement of Objections: a formal method of announcing that it believes Google has acted illegally and that a full investigation is underway.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that “Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

Google has not wasted any time in attempting to convince the Commission otherwise, arguing in a blog post that the evidence shows that Google has not harmed traffic to competitor websites …  expand full story

European commission Stories April 14, 2015

Google-EU-2-798x310

Update: the EU Commission has now filed its complaint

It doesn’t sound good for Google in Europe where the company has faced continued criticism, some comical and some less so, for using its dominant 90+% search share to give advantages to its other properties and squash competitors. FT:

Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.

The NYTimes:

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement that Google has abused its dominant position on Wednesday in Brussels, according to two people who spoke on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity…

“The E.U. competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will decide what steps they want to go,” Günther Oettinger, a German politician who is charge of Europe’s digital economy, told Die Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, on Sunday. “I think that they will be far-reaching.”

Google has yet to comment on the matter but if Google fails to rebut any formal charges, Ms. Vestager could “levy a huge fine that could go above 6 billion euros, or $6.4 billion, amounting to about 10 percent of Google’s most recent annual revenue”.

Google stock is off 2 points today.

Image via TNW

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European commission Stories April 3, 2015

google-android

Reuters reports that the plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google have finally withdrawn their case. The case, which was brought against Google nearly a year ago, accused the company of being anticompetitive with several of its Search and Android practices.

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European commission Stories April 1, 2015

File photo shows people walking by a YouTube sign at the new Google office in Toronto

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is preparing to file antitrust charges against Google. The charges come after a five-year long investigation that’s stalled three times and caused strong political divides in Europe.

[protected-iframe id=”99fbe893c055defe975d4396e88efa97-22427743-13611283″ info=”http://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/iframe.html?guid=AA4ABC8A-5FDF-4CC0-9F6E-DA536681A83B” width=”700″ height=”400″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

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European commission Stories March 5, 2015

EU court says ebooks aren’t books, must be subject to higher tax rates

Europe’s top court has declared that ebooks are ‘services’ rather than books, and that European countries are not allowed to give them the same favorable tax treatment as paper books. The reasoning, such as it is, is that ebooks cannot be used without a physical device, and ebooks are a service provided to those devices.

Both France and Luxembourg have applied to ebooks the same reduced rate of VAT (sales tax) enjoyed by books made from crushed trees. The WSJ reports that the EU has ruled that this is illegal.

Since 2012, France has applied a 5.5% VAT rate and Luxembourg a 3% VAT rate on e-books, the same rate as for paper books. The European Court of Justice said both countries must apply their normal VAT rate, which for France is 20% and for Luxembourg is 17%.

Europe already closed one ebook-related tax loophole: Amazon used to use its Luxembourg base as a reason to charge just 3% on ebook sales throughout Europe, but a change in the law forced it to apply the VAT rate applicable to the customer’s own country.

There is some small hope that sanity may prevail in future. The European Commission has said that there may be legal mechanisms through which countries can in future define their own policies, with an “extensive overhaul” of VAT rules to be completed next year. However, don’t be surprised if ‘harmonization’ of tax rates for paper and digital books results in higher taxes on the former to pay for lower taxes on the latter …

Via Engadget

European commission Stories September 29, 2014

focus on the user

Google has long been the subject of antitrust complains and investigations in Europe, but now, some of the company’s competitors are starting to take note of its actions and step forward with their own issues. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and several other companies on Monday teamed up to launch a new website, Focus on the User, on which they express concerns regarding Google’s tendency to promote its own services at the expensive of its rivals. Which in turn, the companies argue, make it harder for customers to find Google’s competitors in results.

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European commission Stories September 18, 2014

Google-offices-1

News Corp. recently issued a letter to the European Union blasting Google’s search and advertising practices. The correspondence also requested that the EU enforce stricter policies against the software company. News Corp. chief executive Robert Thomson wrote that Google was “willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition.”

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European commission Stories July 18, 2014

Google Personal Search

Following pressure from the European Commission, Google has announced that it is making changes to how it brands and advertises apps with in-app purchases on the Play Store. This comes after the EU accusing Apple of taking too long to change its in-app purchase policy.

Google says that it will no longer use the word “free” when advertising games that support in-app purchases. It will also work to come up with guidelines for games and developers to prevent them from encouraging children to buy items using in-app purchases. Finally,  Google will also implement measures to monitor for breaches of European Union Law. Google plans to implement all of these changes starting at the end of September.

Meanwhile, the EU criticized Apple and said that it has “regrettably” not provided any changes or a timetable for changes to change their “misleading” in-app purchase measures.

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European commission Stories February 5, 2014

Photo: npr.org

Photo: npr.org

After more than three years of investigations and negotiations, Google and the European Union anti-trust authorities have finally settled the case in which the company was accused of abusing its dominant position in search.

The tl;dr version of the dispute was that Google search results were giving undue prominence to its own services – such as Google News and Google Shopping – and freezing out rivals. Google was eventually given a deadline of 31st January last year to submit proposals on how it would resolve the problem …  expand full story

European commission Stories October 1, 2013

plenary

The European Union’s long-running anti-trust case against Google, in which the search company was accused of using its dominant position in search to stifle competition, looks set to finally be resolved – though we may have to wait until Spring to learn the details.

Reuters reports that Google has made new proposals, which the EU suggests is likely to lead to a settlement.

Joaquin Almunia told lawmakers in the European Parliament he believed the new offer made it easier to see Google’s rivals when making an internet search.

“We have reached a key moment in this case,” Almunia said.

“Now with the significant improvements on the table I think we have the possibility to work again.

“If our investigation of this improved proposal is satisfactory then we will continue the commitments route and end up with a formal decision next spring,” he said, adding: “I think that the settlement route remains the best choice” …  expand full story

European commission Stories September 9, 2013

Google offering new concessions in EU antitrust case – but neither side saying what they are

The on-going saga of the EU’s anti-trust case against Google, accusing it of using its dominant position in search to block competition, continues with Google making fresh proposals to the Competition Commission.

Google’s initial response was to offer to:

  • clearly separate sponsored links from organic search results, and to link to rival search services
  • allow publishers to choose what content is included in Google’s various search results
  • allow website owners to sell advertising from competitor companies alongside Google ads
  • allow advertisers to manage search advertising campaigns across competing platforms …

After seeking feedback on the proposals from other interested parties (read: Microsoft and others who feel they are unfairly treated), the EU rejected them as not going far enough.

Reuters reports that Google has now offered further concessions, but neither Google nor the EU has yet revealed what these are.

European commission Stories April 11, 2013

Google-Maps-Search-results-StreetmapsAccording to Bloomberg, U.K. based internet map provider Streetmap is suing Google over allegedly favoring its own maps to those of competitors. Streepmap is claiming that it’s harder to find their maps (and other competitors) in a Google search than it is to find Google Maps. Streetmaps is calling the issue a “cynical manipulation” by Google and is calling for a change in the way Google displays map related search results:

“We have had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google’s cynical manipulation of search results,” Kate Sutton, commercial director of Streetmap, said in the statement.

The lawsuit mirrors complaints at the heart of the EU’s current investigation into whether or not Google’s abuses its search dominance to favor its own services over competitors within search results and elsewhere. Earlier today we reported that Google had handed in a formal offer of concessions to the European Commission related to the investigation, but there is no word yet on exactly Google’s settlement offer includes… expand full story

Google hands in formal offer of concessions to EU Commission in ongoing antitrust investigation

Back in early February, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed Google had handed in a proposal settlement in the ongoing antirust investigation into whether some of Google’s practices with its search and ad businesses create unfair competition and abuse the company’s dominance. Today Reuters reports that Google has not submitted an official offer of concessions to the Commission:

“In the last few weeks, the Commission completed its preliminary assessment formally setting out its concerns. On this basis, Google then made a formal submission of commitments to the Commission,” said Antoine Colombani, the Commission’s spokesman on competition policy.

“We are now preparing the launch of a market test to seek feedback from market players, including complainants, on these commitment proposals,” he said.

One thing conveniently left out of the report: at this point we do not know what the commitments Google has made and how they might reflect the user experience for customers.

European commission Stories February 1, 2013

Google hands in settlement proposal in EU antitrust probe

As reported by Bloomberg, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia today confirmed that Google was able to make yesterday’s Jan. 31 deadline for submitting a settlement proposal in the ongoing antitrust investigation. There is no word yet what exactly the proposed settlement might have included, but a spokesperson for Almunia said Google had sent a “detailed proposal.” Google said it continues to “work co-operatively with the commission.” The probe involves whether some of Google’s practices with its search and ad businesses create unfair competition and abuse the company’s dominance.

Almunia had asked Google to submit concessions by the end of January to address allegations that the company promotes its own specialist search-services, copies rivals’ travel and restaurant reviews, and has agreements with websites and software developers that stifle competition in the advertising industry. He first told Google in May that he wanted to settle the case

The issues at the heart of the investigation are not unlike those involved in the Federal Trade Commission’s recent antitrust probe in the United States. Earlier this month, the FTC announced evidence “does not support a claim that Google was abusing placement of search results” and officially closed its investigation. In that case, Google agreed to license its Motorola patents on fair terms to any other company and alter some of its search results “to let websites opt out of having their content scraped without being punished in overall search results.” 

European commission Stories June 8, 2012

Google attempted to “set the record straight” today with a blog post aimed to dismantle rising anti-competitive claims against the world’s leading search engine.

The Wall Street Journal published a scathing post yesterday—penned by the CEO of online retailer Nextag—that essentially painted Google as a monopoly. No—Jeff Katz did not paint; he declared:

Google has enjoyed this unrivaled position for nearly a decade. It is the most popular search engine in the world, controlling nearly 82% of the global search market and 98% of the mobile search market. Its annual revenue is larger than the economies of the world’s 28 poorest countries combined. And its closest competitor, Bing, is so far behind in both market share and revenue that Google has become, effectively, a monopoly.

The company has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services at the expense of search results that are truly most relevant. […]

At my company, Nextag, a comparison shopping site for products and services, we regularly analyze the level of search traffic we get from Google. It’s easy to see when Google makes changes to its algorithms that effectively punish its competitors, including us. Our data, which we shared with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21, 2011, shows without a doubt that Google has stacked the deck. And as a result, it has shifted from a true search site into a commerce site—a commerce site whose search algorithm favors products and services from Google and those from companies able to spend the most on advertising.

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European commission Stories June 1, 2012

(via <a href="http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Nokia-Event-Elop-Ballmer-10_web1-550x369.jpg" target="_blank">Phandroid</a>)

Google claimed in a formal complaint with the European Commission recently that Microsoft and Nokia conspired to use their patents against competitors.

“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made,” said Google in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, while Microsoft deemed the search engine’s filing as a “desperate tactic.”

According to the filing, Microsoft and Nokia entered agreements that allow Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce patents and share the outcome’s revenue. Reuters further specified that the two collaborating companies moved 1,200 patents to Mosaid.

Google called Mosaid a “patent troll” for holding patents and litigating hawkishly, and then it described its filing as a “pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners.” In a nutshell: Google’s “legal hazard” concerns if smartphone manufacturers begin to view Android as a legal danger, they may decide to do business with Microsoft and Nokia instead.

“Google is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 percent of mobile search and advertising,” added Microsoft in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal.

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European commission Stories February 13, 2012

As expected, the European Commission cleared Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility following a short period of back and forth between the Internet giant and European regulators. A statement issued by the European Commission said the transaction was approved “mainly because it would not significantly modify the market situation in respect of operating systems and patents for these devices.”

The Justice Department should approve the transaction this week, if the Wall Street Journal is to be trusted. When it finally goes through (and that’s a when at this stage, not an if), Google will gain control of Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio and use it to deflect Android patent attacks by Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft. The Commission noted it would continue to keep a close eye on “the increasingly strategic use of patents.” As you know, Apple is pressuring European Union regulators to establish consistent royalty fees for patents deemed essential to wireless standards.

Google’s Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Don Harrison wrote on the official company blog that Google is now “just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction.” He maintained the company line that the deal will “enhance competition and offer consumers faster innovation, greater choice and wonderful user experiences.”

Motorola reported an $80 million loss in the holiday quarter and shed 800 jobs. It is also embroiled in a nasty patent fight with Apple that saw the latter sue the former in the United States over Qualcomm patent license after Motorola won a brief injunction of 3G iPhone and iPad sales in Germany.

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European commission Stories February 8, 2012

In a new report from the Wall Street Journal this evening, the publication said the Justice Department is set to approve Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility as early as next week. This approval will give Google a good size push in to completing the acquisition.

The U.S. Justice Department is poised to clear Google Inc.’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter, giving Google a powerful armory of technology patents to deploy in the smartphone wars.

However, antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe remain concerned about Google’s commitment to license Motorola patents to competitors on fair terms, those people said, and will closely monitor Google’s use of the patents. The European Commission has set a Monday deadline to decide whether to approve the acquisition.

Google is set to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, and it is doing so to primarily add Motorola’s large array of patents to its arsenal. Google is currently working to get approvals in Europe, too. A new report surfaced yesterday claiming that Google was going to send letters to European groups in order to smooth over the approval process. We will keep you updated.

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European commission Stories February 7, 2012

Hoping to continue gaining the necessary approvals it needs to acquire Motorola Mobility, Google is reportedly planning to assure wireless standards companies that it will license Motorola’s patents fairly. Bloomberg reported that Google will send the letters within the next day, and it will be signed by a Google lawyer to different groups.

The letter, to be signed by a senior Google lawyer, is likely to be sent within the next 24 hours, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. The move would come after a deadline passed for Google to submit remedies to the European Commission, which is evaluating the plan to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

Bloomberg said that one of the groups Google plans to send a letter to include the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. Google will make such moves to help smooth over the acquisition.

One of the reasons Google is thought to buy Motorola Mobility is mainly for its large array of patents, which it will most likely license out if the deal goes through to gain more revenue. Google hopes that the acquisition continues for obvious reasons.

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European commission Stories February 3, 2012

European regulators want Google to stop introduction of a new privacy policy that consolidates user information from the search giant’s many services until it investigates possible privacy concerns. The new privacy policy is due to come into effect on March 1. According to Reuters, the Article 29 Working Party, an independent body that brings together data protection authorities from each of the European Union’s 27 countries, and the EU’s executive European Commission, wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page:

Given the wide range of services you offer, and the popularity of these services, changes in your privacy policy may affect many citizens in most or all of the EU member states. We wish to check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated way. In light of the above, we call for a pause in the interests of ensuring that there can be no misunderstanding about Google’s commitments to information rights of their users and EU citizens, until we have completed our analysis.

Google’s woes with the European Union also include the planned acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility, pending an antitrust review by the European Commission and another probe over an alleged misuse of its market position.

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European commission Stories January 31, 2012

European Union regulators today announced the launch of a formal investigation of Samsung over mobile patents to determine whether the South Korean conglomerate breached EU antitrust rules in its legal dealings with competitors. The investigation is focused on so-called FRAND patents, a common rule that stipulates a patent applying to the standard must be adopted on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND). According to the press release, EU regulators want to figure out whether Samsung “used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

The Commission reminds that Samsung a decade ago promised to let rivals license its mobile patents under FRAND terms. The full-blown investigation comes in the light of the lawsuits Samsung filed against Apple at courts in Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries around the world, asserting copyright infringement related to patents essential to wireless telecommunications standards.

The case is “a matter of priority,” the document reads. Patent blogger explained, “The European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm.” The full text of the European Commission Antitrust Commission announcement can be found below.

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European commission Stories January 19, 2012

The European Commission set a Feb. 13 deadline to restart its antitrust review and decide whether to approve Google Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc.

According to Reuters, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company came forward with new documents to support its case, so the EU lifted the temporary suspension in order to make a decision next month.

The commission took a “routine” step and hit the pause button on its Jan. 10 deadline last month to gather more information and documents from Google, but the EU still anticipated the deal to close in 2012. It seems as though the commission’s forecast may be correct, as Motorola shareholders already announced their unanimous approval last November…

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