World
EU levels antitrust charges against Google
The European Commission has accused Google of abusing its dominance in internet searches by "systematically" promoting its own products, while it announced the opening of an antitrust investigation to include its Android mobile operating system, Efe news agency reported on Wednesday.
 
"The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services in the European Economic Area by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages," the commission said in a statement.
 
"The commission's preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers," the statement said.
 
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said in a press conference that their "preliminary view in the statement of objections is that in its general internet search results, Google artificially favors its own comparison-shopping service, and that this constitutes an abuse."
 
She clarified that the accusations did not prejudge the findings of investigations, noting that Google would be given the opportunity to defend itself to the commission
 
However, Vestager warned, "If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe."
 
Google monopolises online search engines in the European Economic Area, with market shares above 90 percent in most countries in the region.
 
Vestager noted that "dominant companies have a responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition either in markets where they're dominant or in neighbouring markets."
 
However, she made it clear that the European Commission did "not wish to interfere with design choices, how things are presented, or how the algorithm works", but wished that web users in Europe would be guaranteed to access the most pertinent search results, not those backed by Google.
 
The commission launched investigations in 2010 to determine whether Google's business model could amount to an abuse of a dominant position by restricting competition in the field of web searches and online advertising, with the help of 45 experts working exclusively on the case plus other technicians from other services.
 
The company will have 10 weeks in which to put together a defence, and will be given an audience with the heads of European Competition Commission, however, if the company does not comply, a fine of up to 10 percent of Google's turnover could be incurred -- about 5.65 billion euros ($6 billion) according to its 2014 accounts.
 
The commission specified that it would continue its formal investigation into Google on the other counts of suspicions, such as possible favoritism for other search results, copying content of competitor websites, and unreasonable restrictions to advertisers.
 
At the same time, the European Commission has opened a separate investigation to determine whether Google promoted anti-competitive agreements with manufacturers of phones and tablets to exclusively use its open source operating system Android.
 
Thomas Vinje, legal adviser and spokesman of the international FairSearch coalition in Europe, with members such as Expedia, Nokia, Oracle, and Microsoft International, applauded the decision and noted that more than 30 companies and consumer organisations have denounced the behaviour of Google, which "has devastated its opponents".
 

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Nokia buys Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 bn
Finnish telecommunication giant Nokia announced on Wednesday the acquisition of French rival Alcatel-Lucent in a deal worth 15.6 billion euros ($16.6 billion).
 
The deal, the biggest in the sector in more than a decade, is set to be finalised through a public exchange offer of shares between the two companies, whereby Alcatel-Lucent shareholders will receive 0.55 shares in the new company for each share of the old one, Efe news agency reported.
 
According to the transaction, Nokia shareholders would own 66.5 percent of the merged company, while the shareholders of the Franco-American rival would own 33.5 percent, creating a giant with roughly 114,000 employees, and sales in the ballpark of 26 billion euros.
 
The new company, set to be called Nokia Corporation and based in Finland, will be the second largest telecom equipment manufacturer, behind Sweden's Ericsson.
 
"Together, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia intend to lead in next-generation network technology and services, with the scope to create seamless connectivity for people and things wherever they are," Rajeev Suri, president and chief executive officer of Nokia, stated.
 

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US presidential race: Hillary Clinton Vs the rest
In her second bid to break the glass ceiling and return to the White House, the former first lady, Hillary Clinton chose a low key video message on social media to announce her run on Sunday 
 
The US presidential race took off with Hillary Clinton finally jumping into the fray with an aura of inevitability, but that analysts suggested may turn out to be the former secretary of state's biggest handicap.
 
In her second bid to break the glass ceiling and return to the White House, the former first lady chose a low key video message on social media to announce her run Sunday before heading to Iowa, the state which traditionally kicks off the primaries.
 
The first official event of her 2016 presidential campaign was a roundtable discussion with four students and three educators in an automotive technology classroom at a community college. There she declared her desire to "begin a conversation" with Americans on how she could "be the champion who goes to bat for Americans."
 
Low key or not, Clinton's entry has electrified the somewhat somnolent presidential race and generated media attention far and wide, including India, with which she has a long history going back to her first visit as first lady in 1995, unlike any other candidate.
 
As Alyssa Ayres, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations wrote in a recent blog post "First and foremost, she sees India as a crucial part of US strategy in a world increasingly centred on Asia, where, in her words, 'the future of politics will be decided.'"
 
"As secretary of state her focus on rebalancing US foreign policy toward Asia contained a strong emphasis on expanding ties with India, " she noted.
 
Within her own Democratic Party, Clinton is miles ahead of her likely rivals - none of whom have officially declared their intention to run.
 
According to Time magazine former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is polling at 1 percent and liberal Senator Bernie Sanders is at 4 percent compared with Clinton's 66 percent.
 
"Though both are still long shots, they could force her to compete for support from the liberal base, potentially hurting her chances in the general election," it said.
 
Among the Republicans, she leads former Florida governor Jeb Bush 54 percent to 40 percent in a matchup and with even larger margins over Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Time said.
 
Louisiana's Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal is still toying with the idea of a presidential run.
 
But potential Republican candidates lost no time attacking Clinton leaving criticism of likely primary rivals within the party for another day.
 
Rubio, 43, the youngest contender in the race so far, took a swipe at Clinton Monday.
 
"Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday," he said as cited by CNN, as the crowd erupted in boos, "began a campaign for President by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over, and we are never going back."
 
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul released a video ad critical of Clinton hours before she officially declared her candidacy Sunday saying she "represents the worst of the Washington machine, the arrogance of power, corruption and cover-up".
 
Cruz, another official 2016 GOP candidate, questioned her success as secretary of state saying "Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past".
 
Bush turned the Clinton debut into a fundraising opportunity telling his supporters in an email that "Hillary plans to raise $1.7 billion to win the White House ... which is why I'm asking you to give $5 right now" to "stop her."
 
With hardly any opposition worth the name, Clinton may easily win the Democratic primary, but "she'll face a battle-tested Republican opponent who will be in tip-top shape to take on the Democrats," Time suggested.
 
However, her "supporters argue that even without a major primary fight, she'll be ready too," it said.

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COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

3 years ago

Hillary is India-hater, and will "crucify" India and hence is bad news if she is anywhere near winning. I hope she loses in the early phases

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