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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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.
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.
It seems there's been some renewed interest in the subject of Block C LTE "no locking" provisions after news that the Motorola RAZR will come equipped with a locked bootloader per Verizon's request. About four months ago, I published an article on this very topic. To summarize: Verizon can basically do almost anything it wants with handsets on its network in the name of reasonable network management - subject to a few limitations and caveats.
But before we get into the reasoning for this, let's talk history.
The Block C Auction Of 2008
Back in 2008, the FCC auctioned off a block of the 700MHz wireless spectrum dubbed "Block C." Verizon was the sole purchaser of the block, having bid $4.7 billion to acquire the chunk of spectrum. Read More