EU to Apple, Google: Free game apps? Yeah, right

Apple and Google will be among the organizations to talk to the EU this week about the impact "freemium" apps are having on the industry.

In a statement on Thursday, the EU's European Commission said that it wants to investigate in-app purchases on games that can be downloaded for free. The Commission argues that while games can be downloaded for free, they essentially compel customers to pay for add-ons that bring functionality to the title, and that belies the idea of truly playing a game for "free."

So-called "freemium" games and apps have … Read more

EU looks to ditch roaming fees in 2015, report says

The European Union could soon put an end to roaming charges, Reuters reported on Monday, citing official documents it has obtained.

According to those documents, which come from the European Parliament's industry committee, it would be illegal for telecommunications companies to charge customers roaming fees if they're traveling in member countries. The policy, if approved, would go into effect on December 15. The nixing of roaming charges would also extend to text messaging and data fees.

Roaming charges were once the bane of the average mobile customer's life. Whenever they were outside a designated area, they'd … Read more

Snakes invade casino? Ask the social-media lie detector

Remember when a shark swam through the streets of New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy? Actually, it didn't. But wouldn't it have been handy to have been able to check the veracity of those Garden State shark reports without going through the office of Gov. Chris Christie?

An international group of researchers funded by the EU is working on a lie detector for social media that could make it easier to separate online truth from lies and the lying liars who tell them (apologies to Al Franken).

Named Pheme after a Greek mythological figure who "pried into the affairs of mortals and gods, then repeated what she learned, starting off at first with just a dull whisper, but repeating it louder each time, until everyone knew," the system will collate a variety of data to assess in real time how likely it really is that a baby mermaid was just born in the Philippines or snakes invaded a Pennsylvania casino. … Read more

Google satisfies concerns in EU antitrust investigation

Google and the European Commission have come to an agreement over competition in the company's search results.

Joaquin Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition, announced on Wednesday that Google has vowed to display search results for its own services in the same manner as those of competing offerings. In search results, Google will be required to show three competing services to its own products, such as its online office suite Google Docs.

According to Almunia, the three competitors will be chosen "through an objective method [and] will also be displayed in a way that is clearly … Read more

EU competition chief to Google: 'We need more' out of you

Google's troubles in the European Union are far from over.

The search giant's attempts to quell anti-competitive unrest in the marketplace don't go far enough, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters at a new conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Google needs to offer more concessions, and soon, if the company wants to avoid charges over anti-competitive practices, he said.

"We need more and we need more not during the next year, we need more during the next weeks," Almunia said at the news conference, according to Reuters.

Almunia indicated at the news conference … Read more

European banking officials: Bitcoin may not be your friend

The European Banking Authority issued a stern warning on the value of buying and trading Bitcoin.

In a statement on Friday, the EBA said that as Bitcoin's popularity rises, it comes with "a series of risks deriving from buying, holding, or trading virtual currencies." The issue, the EBA said, is that virtual currencies like Bitcoin are not regulated by the government, putting any investments into them at risk.

Bitcoin has become a hotbed of controversy over the last few years. Earlier this year, it came under fire after the FBI took down the illegal online marketplace Silk Road, … Read more

EU to Nokia: Don't be a 'patent troll'

The European Union had strong words for Nokia on Monday: Don't turn into a "patent troll."

Speaking at a conference on Monday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that while he's fine with Microsoft acquiring Nokia's devices and services unit, he's concerned that the mobile maker's decision to hold on to patents and attempt to generate more value through those could create a troublesome scenario.

In his discussion with reporters, Almunia said that he's concerned Nokia might "behave like a patent troll or, to use a more polite phrase, a patent … Read more

Microsoft seeks EU approval for Nokia acquisition

Microsoft has asked the European Union to approve its bid to buy Nokia for $7.2 billion as the software giant continues its push into devices and services.

The 28-member state bloc's antitrust regulators will now decide whether or not the company's bid breaches the EU's rules on competition.

Because Nokia is a European-based company, antitrust regulators will critique the takeover bid to ensure the competition is not left at a disadvantage.

Authorities can block the deal, or fine the companies heavily.

According to Reuters, the Commission said it would decide by December 4 whether to clear … Read more

EU wants all companies, ahem Apple, to use standard charger

The European Union has been pushing for a universal cell phone charger for years, and on Thursday it took another step forward in this process.

The European Parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee unanimously voted on a legislative resolution to create a law requiring all companies to make the same type of charger. One of the reasons for this resolution is to cut down on e-waste.

"We urge member states and manufacturers finally to introduce a universal charger, to put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablet computers," rapporteur Barbara Weiler said in … Read more

In EU antitrust case, Google ratchets ups concessions

Google has submitted new concessions to the European Commission with the aim of avoiding an antitrust fine of up to $5 billion.

The new proposals, confirmed by the Commission on Monday to the Associated Press, will aim to resolve differences between the company and the 28 member state bloc, amid calls that Google is stifling competition in the region.

The Commission reportedly denied to comment on the new submission, but said it was assessing it. 

The Europeans earlier this year warned that should Google fail to resolve its alleged anticompetitive practices, it could face a partial block of its businessRead more