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Articles Tagged:

regulation

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FCC's Ajit Pai announces the future of internet regulation is deregulation

We've covered the FCC's dance with Net Neutrality and Title II regulation for ISPs in the past, and it looks like chairman Pai has come out with a few more statements about the return to a future of deregulated internet regional monopolies. The FCC is in full propaganda mode today, churning out piles of information (or misinformation) on the subject after Pai announced his plans to stop ISPs from following Title II regulations. Companies like Verizon are more than excited to jump on the bandwagon for deregulation, too. After all, captive markets are profitable markets, and now the FCC is happy to support them.

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South Korean regulatory agency fines Qualcomm $854 million for patent bullying

All's fair in love and war and high-stakes international B2B sales. Wait, that's not true: there's actually quite a lot of regulation on that last bit. Just ask the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which presented American chipmaking giant Qualcomm with a gigantic fine for unfair business practices on Wednesday. According to the KFTC, Qualcomm abused its dominant business position to force its manufacturing partners to pay exorbitant patent licensing fees when selling its widely-used mobile modem chips.

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India's Telecom Regulatory Authority Enforces Net Neutrality By Banning Facebook Free Basics And Similar Services

Net neutrality is a tricky beast. The informal principle is usually applied to the idea of data providers charging more for specific services, but it can also extend to telecoms giving away specific services (and, by extension, charging more for everything else). That's the attitude of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, known locally as "Trai," expressed in a statement today. The regulator says that it will not allow any service provider to "offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on basis of content," more or less aligning India's wireless and landline data industry with the principles of net neutrality.

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Russian Search Engine Yandex Sics Antitrust Agency On Google For Being Too Integrated With Android

Yandex is often called "the Google of Russia," for pretty obvious reasons: it owns and operates the largest search engine (by market share) in the country, and it has expanded into familiar markets like webmail, online video, mapping services, and even an app store. Still, Yandex has found that Google's hold on Android is basically unshakeable at this point, so the company has resolved to take advantage of Android's open source nature and provide superior alternatives to its customers. Ha, just kidding. They're sicking the Russian regulators on Google instead.

TechCrunch reports that Yandex has asked the Russian antitrust authority to investigate Google, specifically for setting its own search engine as the default on Android devices.

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Report: The FCC Will Fine Sprint $105 Million For Overcharging Customers For Unwanted Text Messages

If you're an American wireless provider founded in 1978, here's your horoscope for today: avoid US regulatory agencies, customers whom you've charged for text messages without asking, and burly-looking men with open burlap sacks and insistent expressions. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Communications Commission intends to fine Sprint $105 million in punishment for sending unwanted text messages to its customers, then sticking them with the bill.

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The report says that the FCC is focusing on a three-month window in the fall of last year, during which the Commission received over 35,000 complaints from Sprint customers. The unwanted text messages included the usual carrier "alerts," ringtones, sports information, and even horoscopes, which the FCC says Sprint knowingly and willfully sent to customers with the intent to "cram" them with extra charges.

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PSA: Sprint Is Planning To Make All Its Devices From February 11, 2015 Onward Domestically Unlockable

The US mobile market is weird in that almost all the phones floating around here are locked to one carrier or another. You can usually request an unlock code from the carrier if you are not under contract or still paying off the device, but Sprint is different. It claims it doesn't have any mechanism to unlock phones for use on other US carriers right now, but that's going to change next year.

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FCC To Investigate Cell Phone Unlocking Ban, Unsure If It Has Any Authority To Enforce Any Change

The President still hasn't weighed in on what he plans to do about the cell phone unlocking ban (he's been a little busy with that sequester business that's gonna cost some people their jobs), but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is a little closer to the situation. Speaking to TechCrunch, the communications head said the organization plans to "look into" the issue and decide whether action should be taken and, if so, what action there is to take.

While Genachowski doesn't sound ready to start pummeling carriers just yet (though it wouldn't be the first time), he admits that the ban is worrisome (and it is!), saying the "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."

On the subject of pursuing any course of action: "It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones." Those words "can" and "should" are the two major hurdles that the FCC has to get past, though.

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China Approves Google's Acquisition Of Motorola, Deal Expected To Be Finalized Next Week

When we last heard about Google's deal to buy Motorola, the EU  and the US had approved the deal. The one major market we were left waiting on is China and now, according to the Associated Press (known around here as "the other AP"), the country's regulators have given Google the green light. The deal is now expected to close next week.

The biggest asset of the deal is, of course, Motorola's 17,000+ patents. Google has already promised that it will not interfere with Motorola's dealings and continue to operate the company entirely independently. The approach would make sense in the context of rumors that Google would be expanding it Nexus line.

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Meizu.com Goes Down For Mysterious Reasons, Company Says Business Unaffected

Meizu, the Chinese electronics manufacturer best known for making a splash this year by announcing its own quad-core device built in-house, took down its site for unknown reasons earlier today. We reached out to the company to find out what's going on with its site. The company responded to let us know that the site will be back soon, once it's been cleaned up to "comply with local regulations."

We are currently cleaning up our forums and wish to stress that all our other business areas are fully functional. We are working to bring our websites back online as fast as we can, but do not know exactly when we will succeed in doing so.

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Google Gets The Thumbs-Up From The EU To Acquire Motorola, Still Waiting On US, Chinese Approval

Google just got one step closer to finalizing its acquisition of Motorola Mobility with approval from the 27-member European Union. Google still needs approval from the U.S. and China, as well as a few other key jurisdictions, before it can bring Motorola into the fold, but at the moment things are looking rosy for the Big G.

The EU did express some hesitations about the deal, however. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia had this to say in a statement to the press:

"This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices.

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