Enterprise

Google fined $21.1M by Indian watchdog for unfair search bias

That equates to around five percent of its turnover in India

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s antitrust watchdog, on Thursday imposed a INR 136 crore (approximately US$ 21.1 million) fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world’s most popular internet search engine.

“Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services,” the CCI said.

The CCI says its investigation found that Google was directing web users who were searching for flights to its own flight search page, and thereby disadvantaging businesses trying to gain market access, while also unfairly imposing its products on users of general search services as well.

The size of the CCI’s fine was calculated based on Google’s revenue from its operations in India only, and equates to around five percent of its turnover in the market. The regulator said that it has given thoughtful consideration on the submissions made by Google on issue of penalty and found it appropriate to impose a fine.

The watchdog has cleared Google of any competition violations related to other elements of its business like AdWords, Search Design, and other distribution agreements.

The ruling brings to an end a probe first started by the watchdog in 2012 on complaints filed by matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and a not-for-profit organisation, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

On the CCI ruling, a Google spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps,” according to a PTI report.

Last year, The European Commission imposed a record EUR 2.4 billion (approximately US$ 3 billion) fine on the company for favoring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings. Google has appealed against the order. This is one of the rare cases wherein Google has been penalized for unfair business practices globally, even though it has been under probe in several countries.

Source: CCI

Enterprise

Apple: Leaks are causing wrongly sized iPhone cases

Issues cease-and-desist order

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Leaks have always been an important part of the smartphone cycle. Before a huge smartphone launch, leakers have always found a way to release information before the actual company. Premature information normally doesn’t affect the actual release. However, some companies certainly want to clamp down on leaks. Apple, for one, has always despised leaks. However, the company now has a different purpose for doing so: to prevent wrongly sized phone cases.

Reported by Vice, Apple has issued a cease-and-desist order against a Chinese citizen caught leaking info about upcoming iPhones. The leaker supposedly released prototypes for the devices to the public.

According to Apple, leaks ruin the surprise for consumers especially since they spoil the company’s plans. Additionally, the company says that releasing information outside of Apple’s purview will dupe case manufacturers into making cases of the wrong size especially if the actual products are of a different size.

Historically, Apple has been antagonistic against people leaking company secrets. The company has even filed lawsuits against employees caught smuggling out company secrets. Despite how much hype that leaks can generate for the company, Apple really doesn’t like its leaks.

Currently, there have already been a substantial amount of leaks surrounding the upcoming iPhone 13 series. There have also been hints for next year’s iPhone 14 series.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 series might use titanium chassis

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Enterprise

Samsung promises to make foldable phones more mainstream

According to new earnings report

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Ahead of its highly anticipated Galaxy Unpacked event this August 11, Samsung has released its earnings report for the previous quarter. Though the reported figures show some impressive progress for the company, Samsung surprised even more by detailing what it’s planning to improve for the future: making foldable phones mainstream.

The recent earnings report tells two sides of a story. On the one hand, the company declined from the previous quarter by making only US$ 2.8 billion in profit, compared to the previous quarter’s US$ 3.83 billion. Though it’s a considerable decline, it’s not that much of a surprise. The smartphone market has certainly gotten over the hype from the Galaxy S21 series’ launch earlier this year. It’s still quite a sharp decline, though.

On the other hand, the quarter’s figures are an impressive improvement from last year’s earnings from the same quarter. The company only made US$ 1.7 billion in profit this time in 2020, marking a 66 percent YoY increase. Samsung’s bounce back from the horrendous pandemic era is apparent.

The company is attributing the success to its several branches including semiconductors and smartphones. However, to bolster its hold in the smartphone industry, Samsung’s goal is to “mainstream the foldable category.”

Given the company’s plans for the near future, this is indeed true. Samsung’s TM Roh has already confirmed that the upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event will launch more foldables in the Galaxy Fold series, rather than a new Galaxy Note series. Samsung is looking for stronger players in the fairly new market segment.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Could these be the specs?

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Huawei plummets from top 5 smartphone brands in China

vivo is now the top dog

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Though 2020 was bad for all smartphone makers, it was especially troublesome for Huawei. For years, the American government issued, back away from, and reissued bans that prevented the Chinese company from doing business on the former’s soil. Naturally, the bans were going to affect Huawei. Now, according to a recent smartphone ranking, Huawei isn’t even on the top 5 list in China anymore.

As released by the International Data Corporation, the Chinese smartphone rankings no longer include the once-proud leader of the pack, Huawei. The company has now dropped below the top 5 and lumped together with the “Others” category listed on the rankings.

vivo currently hold the top spot, capturing 23.8 percent of the market share. OPPO isn’t far behind with 21.1 percent of the market. Xiaomi holds the third spot with 17.2 percent of the market, echoing its rise in other rankings. Finally, Apple and newly emancipated Honor round out the pack with 10.9 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively.

All of the top 4 have increased their sales from the previous year, potentially owing to the vacuum left behind by its competitor Huawei. On a similar note, Honor sold considerably less compared its performance last year. The former Huawei sub-brand is potentially still reeling from its time under Huawei’s bans.

Though the company is still planning to release new smartphones soon, Huawei is definitely feeling the crunch from the American bans, resorting to alternatives and in-house solutions to component shortages.

In the meantime, Huawei’s Chinese rivals have moved to fill up the gap left behind by the former leader of the Chinese smartphone race.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P50 series to debut on July 29

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