Entries with tag antitrust cases.

Apple Reaches Out-of-Court Settlement on eBook Price Fixing

Apple has reached an out-of-court settlement with 33 attorneys general from US states and other jurisdictions who filed a class action lawsuit seeking $840 million in damages for the company’s fixing of eBook prices. A trial on the case, scheduled to start 14 July 2014, was to determine whether Apple led a conspiracy to increase eBook prices designed to force Amazon.com to change its low pricing. The settlement allows Apple to avoid a jury trial. Details regarding the settlement agreement, which is still subject to court approval, were not released. Apple has declined to comment and says it intends to appeal. It has repeatedly denied breaking any antitrust laws. The settlement hinges on the outcome of the appeal of a separate, but related ruling. In July 2013, a US federal court found Apple guilty of colluding with five major publishers to increase eBook prices ahead of the iPad launch. (Bloomberg)(Reuters)(The Washington Post)

European Commission Still Unsatisfied with Google Anti-Trust Proposal

Google has failed to improve concessions to settle a European Union investigation regarding anti-competitive behavior. Without settling the charges, it faces formal charges and a fine of as much as $5 billion. Google has been under investigation for three years regarding complaints from competitors that it has blocked them in search results. Joaquin Almunia, commissioner for the EU, says Google has a short time in which to submit a satisfactory proposal as its revisions did not allay concerns including how it presented results in specialized or vertical searches. Google had offered several concessions  including allowing competitors to display their logos and making their web links more prominent to users and also decreased the bids for paid advertisements on search results. The European Commission hopes to close the case in spring 2014. (The New York Times @ The Boston Globe)(Reuters)

EU May Be Nearing Antitrust Settlement with Google

The EU and Google may be nearing an agreement in the antitrust case brought against the search giant. EU commissioner for competition Joaquin Almunia said in a speech before the European parliament that a set of commitments that Google recently proposed could result in a legally binding settlement between the parties by the spring of 2014. Without a settlement, Google faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, which is about $5 billion. The EU has accused Google of unfair business practices, specifically using its market position to continue dominating the European search market. For example, European officials say Google gives preference to search results involving its own products, such as Google Maps and YouTube. The commission is seeking to end unequal treatment of third-party search engines, as well as advertising restrictions it places on other companies. Google now proposes that its rivals’ results will be prominently displayed with their logo and explanatory text. The page position of competitors’ results within the returned Google search results will be selected via an auction system still under development, which would allow competitors to bit for placement in search results. Google currently has about 90 percent of the European Internet search market. (The Guardian)(Information Week)(European Commission)

France Seeks Sanctions against Google for Flaunting Privacy Laws

Google faces financial sanctions in France after failing to obey with an order to bring the way in which it stores and shares user data in compliance with the nation’s privacy laws. The company faced scrutiny by various European data-protection authorities after changing its privacy policy in 2012. Google was ordered on 20 June 2013 to comply with French privacy laws within three months, but it has reportedly did not do so by the time the deadline passed.  Google faces a maximum fine of €150,000 (US$202,562) for a first offense with an additional €300,000 for a second offense. It could also be ordered to change aspects of how it processes personal data for three months. (SlashDot)(CMO)(C.Nationale de L'Informatique et des Libertes)

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