Uber, Yandex Ride-Sharing Services Can Merge in Russia, Regulator Rules

Uber, Yandex Ride-Sharing Services Can Merge in Russia, Regulator Rules

Uber and Yandex’s ride-sharing businesses can merge in Russia, anti-monopoly regulator FAS ruled on Friday, but stipulated that the combined company not bar drivers from working for competitors.

Uber and Yandex, often referred to as the “Google of Russia”, announced plans in July to combine operations in 127 cities in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

San Francisco-based Uber has agreed to invest $225 million (roughly Rs. 1,454 crores) while Yandex will contribute $100 million (roughly Rs. 647 crores) into a new joint company in which Yandex will own 59.3 percent.

The two companies must allow their partners, drivers and passengers to work for or use competitors’ services and fully inform users of the legal entity providing the service, the FAS said in a statement.

Yandex said consumers would be able to use both Yandex.Taxi and Uber apps, while their driver apps will be integrated, leading to shorter passenger wait times, increased driver utilisation rates, and higher service reliability.

The companies aim to close the deal in January 2018, after the New Year holidays in Russia, Yandex said in a statement.

Moscow-listed Yandex was up 3.47 percent as of 11:23am GMT.

It said the anti-monopoly regulator in Belarus had also approved the deal while a decision by the Kazakh regulator was pending.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Ordered to Delete WhatsApp User Data by German Regulator

Facebook Ordered to Delete WhatsApp User Data by German RegulatorFacebook Ordered to Delete WhatsApp User Data by German Regulator
HIGHLIGHTS
German regulator said Facebook was infringing data protection law
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion two years ago
Facebook said that it complied with EU data protection law
A German privacy regulator ordered Facebook on Tuesday to stop collecting and storing data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp and to delete all data that has already been forwarded to it.

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said Facebook was infringing data protection law and had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million users in Germany.

(Also see: WhatsApp Is Going to Share Your Phone Number With Facebook)

“After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly assured that data will not be shared between them,” commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement.

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock in an effort to reach a younger audience.

“The fact that this is now happening is not only a misleading of their users and the public, but also constitutes an infringement of national data protection law,” Caspar added.

Facebook, which has its German headquarters in Hamburg and therefore falls under Caspar’s jurisdiction, said in a statement that it complied with EU data protection law.
“We are open to working with the Hamburg DPA in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns,” it said.

(Also see: WhatsApp Directed by Delhi High Court to Delete User Data Collected Before September 25)

The data watchdog said Facebook and WhatsApp were independent companies that should process their users’ data based on their own terms and conditions and data privacy policies.

The Hamburg commissioner’s move comes after EU and US regulators said they would scrutinise changes to privacy settings that WhatsApp made in August.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: WhatsApp, Facebook, Encryption, Privacy, Apps, Social

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Google Fined $6.8 Million by Russian Antitrust Regulator Over Android

Google Fined $6.8 Million by Russian Antitrust Regulator Over Android

Russia’s anti-trust authority on Thursday fined Google RUB 438 million ($6.8 million or roughly Rs. 45 crores) after finding it guilty of abusing its dominant market position by forcing smartphone makers to install its search engine on Androids.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in September last year deemed Google in breach of a law on “protecting competition” after an investigation following a complaint by Russia’s largest search engine,Yandex.

Yandex asked the antitrust authorities to prevent Android phones from being automatically bundled with Google’s search engine.

The FAS said that Google has two months to pay the fine.

Yelena Zayeva, the head of its department for regulating communications and IT was quoted in the statement as saying the ruling “will allow the development of competition on the mobile software market in Russia, which will have a positive effect for consumers.”

All companies whose production is on sale in Russia have to observe the law on competition, “including transnational corporations,” Zayeva added.

Google said in a statement sent to AFP: “We have received notice of the fine from FAS and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps.”

“In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia,” Google said.

The tech giant’s Android operating system dominates the smartphone market with a share of around 80 percent, which enables Google to offer search and other services to handset users.

Russia’s antitrust authority had been holding consultations with Google aimed at reaching an amicable agreement, but this required Google to admit guilt.

Google has insisted that consumers are free to choose whether to use its services.

Google has been hit by similar antitrust charges in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which has launched three cases against Google, one of which is specifically about using the dominance of the Android mobile phone operating system to restrict competition.

Russia’s anti-trust authority this week also launched legal proceedings against US tech giant Apple over the alleged fixing of resellers’ prices for iPhones in the country.

Apple said in a statement sent to AFP: “Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world.”

Tags: Android, Antitrust, Apps, Google, Mobiles, Russia, Tablets, Wearables, Yandex

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Foxconn Gets Green Light From China’s Antitrust Regulator for Sharp Deal

 

Foxconn Gets Green Light From China's Antitrust Regulator for Sharp Deal

Taiwanese tech giant Hon Hai said antitrust authorities in China had approved its takeover of ailing Japanese electronics maker Sharp, clearing the last obstacle to the drawn-out deal.

The purchase, which was supposed to close last month, has reportedly been held up by China – one of the countries that was reviewing the deal over concerns that it could lead to a monopoly on LCD screens.

Hon Hai gains Sharp’s cutting-edge LCD panel technologywith the $3.5-billion buyout, giving it a 66 percent controlling stake.

“Our application for antitrust review in various regions is completed,” the company said in a statement to the Taiwan stock exchange late Thursday.

“Both sides will carry out the handover procedures as soon as possible according to the contract,” it said.

The announcement fulfills an ambition of Hon Hai founder Terry Gou, whose firm first pursued Sharpfour years ago.

Gou’s company – also known as Foxconn – is the world’s biggest electronics supplier, with Apple a key customer for smartphone components.

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But the smartphone giant is squeezing its suppliers as sales of its iPhones slow, dropping 15 percent last quarter year-on-year.

Hon Hai shares slumped in Taipei Friday on weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings.

“From the results, we can see that Apple is pressuring its supply chain on prices,” Fubon analysts led by Arthur Liao said in a note.

Hon Hai said Thursday that its net profit dropped 31 percent to TWD 17.7 billion ($565 million) in the April-June period, the third straight quarterly decline.

It missed the TWD 24.6 billion estimate by analysts polled by Bloomberg News.

Shares slumped 3.69 percent Friday. underperforming the benchmark index.

Analysts are expecting better performance in the third quarter, when Apple’s new iPhone 7 series is rumoured to be launched.

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Tags: Apple, Foxconn, Home Entertainment, Hon Hai, Laptops, Mobiles, PC, Sharp, Tablets, iPhones

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]