Enterprise

EU fines ASUS and three other companies for online price fixing

Companies face EUR 111 million in fines

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Over the past months, the European Commission has kept itself busy with a company hit list that keeps growing every week. Recently, the commission handed out the biggest fine in history to Google for breaking anti-trust laws. Now, four more companies have received fines for anti-competition.

Based on a press release from the commission itself, the four companies include ASUS, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer. Throughout the past decade, all four companies prevented online retailers from setting their own prices to the former’s products.

The release states that the companies required retailers to sign a contract. If online retailers didn’t follow prescribed prices, the companies would pull out their stocks.

Usually, an online retailer sets its own prices to fuel competition between other retailers. Sometimes, they can hold season-long discounts promos to boost sales numbers. The contract disallowed them from changing the affected companies’ prices in any way.

Further, these companies have checked on their retailers’ prices using instantaneous monitoring software. This enabled them to execute swift actions when a retailer voids a contract.

Fortunately, these practices (as far as these four companies are concerned) have stopped as of the past few years. However, the period from which these practices occurred are still finable from EU’s standards. According to the commissions, these periods, spanning from 2011 to 2015, are enough to incur substantial fines for all four companies.

In total, these fines amount to more than EUR 111 million. Of these, ASUS grabbed a huge share — EUR 63.5 million. To their credit, all four also got a 40 to 50 percent reduction for participating in the EU’s investigation.

Currently, more companies are also under investigation. For example, Nike, Sanrio, and Valve might suffer the same fate soon.

Despite the guilty verdict, these fines don’t compare to the millions in profit that these companies have earned. More than anything, the EU’s decision serves as a warning against violators in the future.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi breaks into top 5 smartphone vendors of Europe

Enterprise

MediaTek hosts world’s first demo of Wi-Fi 7

Here’s what to expect

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We’ve come a long way from dial-up. Now, the name of the game is Wi-Fi 6. Amid the rise of 5G connectivity, the home internet sector is adopting the current standard for their devices. But, of course, the advance of technology is not stopping. As Wi-Fi 6 tries to take over the entire market, the industry is already working on Wi-Fi 7. With development well underway, what can you expect from the upcoming standard?

Naturally, better speeds. Recently, MediaTek showcased the world’s first live demo of the new technology. In an impressive show, the standard will reportedly achieve speeds 2.4 times faster than what Wi-Fi 6 can do. The technology can maximize uses for the current spectrums available for Wi-Fi at up to 6GHz. The technology can also reduce latency and interference using MLO and MRU features.

According to MediaTek, Wi-Fi 7 will support the ever-growing need for faster internet speeds brought on by emerging uses for online users. These needs include AR/VR applications, cloud gaming, 4K video calling, and 8K streaming. With technology advancing the way it is, high-speed internet — even faster than what’s available today — is turning into a necessity to cope with multi-user households.

MediaTek predicts that products that can support Wi-Fi 7 will start coming out in 2023.

SEE ALSO: Mediatek, AMD collaborate on new Wi-Fi 6E Modules

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Facebook faces British privacy lawsuit worth billions

For allegedly selling its users’ data

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The hits just don’t stop coming. Since being called out for alleged manipulation during the 2016 elections (and arguably before that), Facebook has endured hit after hit from privacy pundits, security firms, and global courts. Now, after much deliberation, criticisms and lawsuits against the platform are finally coming to roost. In Britain, for example, Facebook stands to lose billions in a privacy lawsuit from Britain.

As reported by Reuters, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority senior adviser Liza Lovdahl Gormsen filed the huge lawsuit to represent British citizens who used the platform between 2015 and 2019 — which approximates 44 million people. The suit alleges that Facebook used unfair terms and conditions to force users to give up their rights to their own information. The entire lawsuit is worth GBP 2.3 billion (or approximately US$ 3.15 billion). Though Facebook is worth over US$ 100 billion now, such a lawsuit likely isn’t insignificant to the company.

But, of course, it doesn’t come without precedent. Last year, the company was scrutinized extensively because of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations. According to the former Facebook employee, the platform knowingly creates ruptures in societies everywhere in the world. Besides its effect on mental health and geopolitics, Facebook was also criticized for selling personal data and treating its users as marketable products.

While Britain’s claim is already extensive, it is far from the only country looking to break the company up. The platform is also facing issues in its own home turf for the same charges. The year is just starting, and this likely won’t be Facebook’s last trip to the legal battlefield.

SEE ALSO: Facebook will force at-risk users to use two-factor authentication

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Samsung inexplicably delays Exynos 2200 launch

No new date set yet

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Before launching the next Galaxy S flagship series, Samsung often unveils the attached Exynos processor ahead of time. However, this year’s Exynos 2200 is still suspiciously absent. According to sources, Samsung was initially set to launch the new chips on January 11. Since it’s already February 12, the chip’s launch is obviously delayed for an inexplicable reason.

The delay did not come with any warning. The Exynos 2200’s launch date came and… nothing. No word from Samsung on a delay reason or even a new launch date. Even Ice Universe, one of the most knowledgeable sources for Samsung, is scratching their head, wondering why Samsung suddenly backed out of the date.

It isn’t Samsung’s first delay, though. Since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world is going through a massive semiconductor shortage. Several devices have been delayed or are undergoing stock problems. Samsung had already pushed back dates in the past. However, this is a rare last-minute delay.

Of course, despite the delay, Samsung still has time to release the Exynos 2200 before the Galaxy S22’s launch. According to a recent source, Samsung is set to launch the next flagship series on February 8. The upcoming chipset will reportedly perform at par with the recently launched Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Amid inexplicable delays, Samsung still has several launches up its sleeve.

Postponements likely won’t mean much in the grander scheme of things, but it will be an interesting tale to hear why Samsung had to back all of a sudden.

SEE ALSO: Samsung unveils 2022 sustainability initiatives

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