Google Countersues British Telecom In US, UK For Patent Infringement

BT OneVoice Google (and Motorola Mobility) have counter-sued the UK's BT Group (British Telecom) for patent infringement in the US and UK. This follows a 2011 patent lawsuit filing by BT against Google. Google has probably asserted its patents in an effort to provide some negotiating leverage against BT in any future settlement discussions. The patents at issue concern IP telephony, data management, networking and mobile technology. BT claims that several of Google's services infringe its patents, including aspects of Android. By contrast Google says that BT has infringed its patents with the latter's [...]

Excess Or Economic Development: Google’s New $82 Million Private Airport Terminal

Air Google Is it a symbol of the excesses of Silicon Valley wealth or a welcome source of new jobs and economic development? I suppose it depends on your perspective. However, the city of San Jose and its airport clearly see it as a welcome development and are prepared to approve a proposed $82 million, 29-acre private airport terminal for Google executives and their jets at Mineta San Jose International Airport. The terminal would be operated by Signature Flight Support, which provides corporate aviation services, and be constructed in partnership with Blue City Holdings, a company formed by Go [...]

After North Korea Trip, Eric Schmidt’s Daughter Outshines Father With Travelogue

Sophie In North Korea Back from his trip to North Korea, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has posted a few thoughts on his visit. But far more interesting and revealing was the travelogue from his daughter Sophie, who accompanied him on the trip. Eric Speaks Of Isolation Schmidt posted about his visit on his Google+ page, saying North Korean technology is limited, the internet is supervised and that North Korea will find it increasingly difficult to stay isolated, concluding: As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affec [...]

France Wants To Tax Facebook, Google “Personal Data Collection”

taxes-featured Summarizing a report issued by the French government last week the New York Times says that France is considering a range of creative taxation schemes on US based Internet companies -- Google and Facebook in particular. France is trying to generate new revenues amid a challenging economic climate in Europe. Google and Facebook are seen by many European governments as "deep pockets." There's also a punitive quality to the various taxation proposals as well. France (among others) has been frustrated by what it sees as domestic tax avoidance by large Internet companies. It is seeking to c [...]

Google Plans To Build $1.6 Billion Headquarters In London

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 4.44.39 AM According to the Guardian UK, Google has purchased a 2.4 acre property in the King's Cross and St Pancras station area of London. The company plans to build two buildings to consolidate its London operations into a single complex. Google currently has two London offices. The deal is reportedly worth £1 billion or roughly $1.6 billion. This follows similar moves in New York and Dublin, Ireland in the past few years. The King's Cross area has been revitalized over the past five years since the Eurostar train terminal opened at the St Pancras station in 2007. The area is now home to a [...]

French ISP Takes On Google By Blocking Its Ads For A Week

logo_free Google may be endearing itself to New Yorkers by providing free wi-fi in Chelsea, but the company's contribution -- or lack thereof -- to Internet infrastructure in France is reportedly making it enemies. That's why ISP Free earlier this year put in an ad blocker to strip out ads from Google sites and any sites accessed via Google, according to a reports in Ad Age and The Economist. The blocker was turned off after a week, and it only worked for a fraction of Free's users -- those who were using the latest version of the Freebox ISP hardware and software. But it highlighted the challenges t [...]

Eric Schmidt Preaches Gospel Of “Openness” To North Koreans

While the motivations behind Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's recently completed trip to North Korea remain unclear, he clearly upstaged his host, former New Mexico Governor and UN Ambassador Bill Richardson. Richardson was ostensibly there to help win or accelerate the release of a Korean-American, Kenneth Bae, being held in captivity. But Schmidt was the focus of much of the attention and coverage. Richardson said Schmidt was greeted like a "rock star" by the North Koreans. And while it was billed as a "private humanitarian mission," Richardson sounded like a US diplomat on an offici [...]

Google’s Schmidt Goes To North Korea But Why?

Eric Schmidt Accompanying a delegation led by former New Mexico Gov. and UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt arrived earlier this morning  in Pyongyang, North Korea. They were there on what was described by Richardson as "a private humanitarian mission." Richardson posted the following comment about the trip on his website: Governor Bill Richardson will travel to North Korea next week on a private humanitarian mission. The delegation will consist of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Dr. KA Namkung; Jared Cohen, Dire [...]

French Come After Google For “Back Taxes”

Taxes Reuters reports that French authorities are talking to Google about paying substantial "back taxes." The wire service says that the French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac had "convincing proof" that Google owed France money. France is one of several European countries that believe Google should be paying more in taxes. Cahuzac said that if the parties failed to come to some agreement France would take the issue to the courts. All this seems to confirm what was reported earlier this month by satirical French publication Le Canard Enchaine that Google was to be hit with a billion Euro tax b [...]

Google Puts “Cookiegate” To Bed As More Legal Battles Loom

google-privacy-200 The incident informally known as "Safarigate" or "Cookiegate" is now behind Google. On Friday, a court approved Google's $22.5 million settlement with the FTC. Some Google critics decried the settlement as having little impact on Google. The episode began in February of this year, when the Wall Street Journal discovered that Google (and others such as Gannett’s PointRoll) were circumventing mobile Safari’s default “no third party cookies” settings in order to track user behaviors. Google contended it was simply trying to make its "+1 buttons" work on iOS. The company argued nothi [...]

Cash-Strapped Euro Governments Look To Online Giants For Additional Tax Revenues

tax-money-180px Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Starbucks are being criticized and investigated for what several European governments consider to be tax avoidance. In the UK and France in particular Google is under scrutiny. And earlier this week a French newspaper (albeit like the satirical Onion) reported that French authorities had served a whopping EUR 1 billion tax bill on Google. Google has denied that it has received such a bill. Google's practice of billing advertisers and running profits through its Irish subsidiary, which is legal, allows the company to minimize taxes. According to a Reuter [...]

UK Writer Repeats Gmail “Racial Profiling” Claim Against Google

A UK journalist claims that he's replicated US writer Nathan Newman's informal "experiment" suggesting that Google conducts "racial profiling" in the AdWords it shows to Gmail users. The UK journalist says his investigation reproduced "similarly disturbing results" comparable to the US test. Newman's earlier test, conducted roughly a year ago, involved the use of nine different names, which were stand-ins for race and ethnicity. The different names were paired with the same subject lines to produce different ad units in many instances. For example the subject line "education" produced the f [...]

Google Leads Chinese In-App Mobile Display Ad Market

Ever since Chinese government surrogates unsuccessfully hacked into Gmail in early 2010, Google has struggled with its "China policy." It threatened to withdraw from China and then reversed itself. Mountain View has been unable to resist the lure of the world's largest internet and mobile market. Google's PC search share in China is a very distant second to Baidu. However it is apparently and somewhat unexpectedly dominant in another Chinese market segment: mobile in-app display advertising. Bloomberg reports that Google's AdMob has staked out a leadership position and a big lead among a [...]

Google (As Motorola) Sues Apple Over Patents, Seeks US Import Ban On iPhones, Macs

apple-google-featured Apple has been waging a proxy war with Google and Android through its global litigation with Samsung. Now the companies will be directly battling it out in a new action filed by Google subsidiary Motorola before the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Motorola filed and partly won a patent case before the ITC, prior to the Google acquisition. But this is the first case filed under Google ownership. The earlier Motorola ITC patent victory was based on a single claim related to wireless 3G standards. Motorola seeks an import ban on iPhones in that case. A final decision from the administ [...]

India Begins Formal Antitrust Investigation Against Google

According to Reuters the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has opened a formal antitrust investigation against Google. The article reports that CCI received a complaint that Google had "contravened" an Indian "competition rule." However that rule and the substance of the complaint aren't identified. Google told Reuters that it was cooperating with the CCI and was confident that it hadn't violated any Indian regulations. This is merely the latest legal headache for Google in India. The country has also sought to impose aggressive censorship rules on Google that require Google to block [...]

UK, Australia May Reopen Street View Privacy Probes After FCC Report

google-street-view-car Governments that had previously closed the book on Street View privacy investigations appear to be considering "round two," in the wake of the FCC report that asserted that the personal data collected was not inadvertent but intentional. Privacy regulators in both the UK and Australia are now considering reopening Street View privacy cases that were previously closed. Several other European nations had concluded similar investigations with either no penalties or relatively minor fines assessed against Google. Those generally favorable outcomes for Google were largely based on earlier sta [...]

Keeping The Lawyers Busy: Google Now Faces Antitrust Investigation In India

Google is under antitrust investigations in the US, Europe, Argentina and South Korea. Now India has said it will investigate AdWords for anti-competitive behavior, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The  Competition Commission of India said that although it's initially focused on AdWords the scope of the investigation could expand over time. The WSJ cites data showing that "less than 10% of India's population of 1.2 billion is online" but that Google now controls a "50 percent share of the overall Indian digital ad market." The WSJ described one of the several complaints recei [...]

German Court Orders YouTube To Improve Copyright Protections

youtube-germany In a court ruling that both sides are calling a partial victory, a German court has ruled that YouTube must improve its copyright protection in Germany, but stopped short of telling the site to go back and remove all copyrighted material currently on the site. Hamburg's state court has told YouTube Germany that it must prevent users from uploading some music videos whose copyrights belong to the German royalties agency, GEMA. The court wants Google to use software to monitor and stop users from uploading alternate versions (i.e., live recordings) of songs that have already been flagged for [...]

Facebook Passes Google As Most-Visited Site In Brazil

facebook-google-logos Google's dominance outside the U.S. is taking a slight hit with news today that Facebook has overtaken it five times this month as the most-visited website in Brazil. The news comes from Serasa Experian (link in Portuguese), the Brazilian version of Experian Hitwise. The company reports that Facebook first beat out Google for most visits back on April 1st, then again on April 6th and April 8th. It happened for the fourth and fifth times this past weekend, when Facebook was the most popular site in Brazil on both April 14th and 15th. On the 14th, Facebook received 10.86 percent of all we [...]

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