Google's ongoing regulatory headaches in the EU have today resulted in a whopping $2.7 billion fine, the most significant regulatory penalty in the EU since the 2004 Microsoft decision. This fine stems from Google's handling of shopping searches and the way its own comparison tools are allegedly given preferential treatment. It's now up to Google to change its search practices, and that could affect the way it operates in other regions as well. Read More
Google is no stranger to legal conflict in Europe: between accusations of monopolistic practices with Android and web search tools, to a forced implementation of the European Union's "right to be forgotten" laws, to butting heads with German privacy advocates over Street View data, it's safe to say that the company's relationship with the continent is... complicated. The latest complication comes from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, which will reportedly hand down an unprecedented fine over Google's alleged violations of antitrust laws. Read More
Mobile carriers like to play fast and loose with the word "unlimited" when it comes to data plans. They're often technically unlimited, but only fast enough to be useful until you hit a certain barrier. MVNOs operated by TracFone including Net10 and Straight Talk were a little more shady than most, and that led to today's FTC announcement of a $40 million fine against the company.
If you're a hotel manager, especially at a big, fancy hotel where people can expect to pay a convenience fee for running water, you might be tempted to charge an iniquitous amount of money for your guests to access the Internet. Your guests, in turn, might tell you to suck it and use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature built into just about every new smartphone being sold today. That might make you turn around and consider doing something drastic, like, say, implement an elaborate system of jammers to block or spoof signals and make personal Wi-Fi devices useless. You might also be a dick. Read More
Bombastic T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded forcefully when the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the Un-carrier over the summer for profiting from so-called "cramming." That's when a carrier allows third-parties to add premium SMS charges to customer bills without proper warning. Today the FTC has announced T-Mobile is settling the case for $90 million, most of which will go to customers who were charged for unauthorized services.
Around a year and a half ago, Google removed access to paid apps from the Taiwanese Play Store after a complaint was issued claiming that the company violated a local law demanding a seven day return window. A surprisingly short court battle ensued and 8 months later Mountain View walked away with a $34k fine (you read that right), and a losing appeal. The company opted, at that point, to simply remain out of the Taiwanese market. Until now.
We reached out to Google to confirm that it was, indeed, offering paid apps again. The company had this to say:
Let this be a lesson to all major tech companies: if you have a ton of users and you want to enter a new market, you'd better charge some kind of arbitrary fee, lest you end up in trouble with the French judicial system. Google is feeling that sting this week, as a French court ordered the company to pay €500,000 in damages to Maps competitor Bottin Cartographs as well as a €15,000 fine.
The plaintiff claimed that Google was using its market dominance to muscle out smaller competitors in the mapping software market. Here's what Bottin Cartographs' lawyer, Jean-David Scemmama, had to say on the ruling:
"We proved the illegality of (Google's) strategy to remove its competitors...