European Union Court Overturns 2016 Decision Against Apple

The European Union overturned a 2016 decision that ordered Apple to make good on $14.9 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland. Apple selecting Ireland as its European base to avoid taxation was the genesis that eventually led to the decision. The European Commission’s top antitrust regulator Margrethe Vestager accused the arrangement of being an illegal subsidy not available to Apple’s rivals and demanded that Ireland recover 10 years of back taxes. Amazon and Google have pending court appeals to overturn similar EU decisions. Continue reading European Union Court Overturns 2016 Decision Against Apple

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

The Federal Communications Commission wants to offer a public auction of C-Band airwaves, taking away control from Intelsat SA and SES SA, which had planned a private auction that could have earned them billions of dollars. FCC chair Ajit Pai said the airwaves would be freed for 5G wireless use and generate revenue for the U.S. government. The plan could be voted on in early 2020. The satellite companies protested, saying they would work to create an alternative plan and calling Pai’s plan “a significant departure.” Continue reading FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

The European Union to Investigate Amazon’s Data Practices

European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has just opened an inquiry into whether Amazon unfairly uses data gleaned from third-party sellers. The investigation has no deadline and could go on for years. At issue is whether Amazon has an unfair advantage by selling its own goods on the site, in competition with its third-party sellers. Amazon stated it will “cooperate fully” with the investigation as well as “continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow.” Continue reading The European Union to Investigate Amazon’s Data Practices

France to Impose Tax on U.S. Technology Companies in 2019

On January 1, 2019, the French government will begin to tax digital companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, even as other members of the European Union have balked at imposing an EU-wide tax. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire declared that, as the other EU countries debate, his country will move forward alone, estimating that the total tax bill will come to 500 million Euros ($568 million), which will help defray 10 billion Euros in emergency spending announced by President Emmanuel Macron. Continue reading France to Impose Tax on U.S. Technology Companies in 2019

Artec 3D Demonstrates Fast and Accurate 3D Scanning at CES

Artec 3D is a Luxembourg-based manufacturer of 3D scanning hardware and software with offices in Moscow and Santa Clara, California. At CES 2018, the company demonstrated its $25,800 professional 3D scanner dubbed Artec Leo. With the handheld scanner’s built-in processor, there is no need for an external computer, “making 3D scanning as easy as taking a video.” The company claims that its 80 fps 3D reconstruction rate makes its device “the fastest professional handheld 3D scanner on the market.” The Leo offers a large field of view for accurately scanning and processing large scenes and objects. Continue reading Artec 3D Demonstrates Fast and Accurate 3D Scanning at CES

FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

The Federal Communications Commission has approved Altice NV’s proposed $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp. As part of the deal, the European telecom group would assume Cablevision debt and invest to upgrade the company’s broadband. According to the FCC, Altice has a record of improving services after investing in broadband companies in Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg and Portugal. In December, the FCC approved Altice’s $9.1 billion purchase of Missouri-based cable company Suddenlink Communications. Continue reading FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

French Term for American Tech Giants Reflects Resentment

France has an acronym for the American tech giants that they often criticize for privacy and tax issues. GAFA (as “Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon” are now known as in France), are the latest companies under fire in a long history of French resistance of American cultural imperialism. The French have little sympathy for these massive companies that often invade personal privacy, either for profit or for government surveillance, and try to find ways around the country’s taxes. Continue reading French Term for American Tech Giants Reflects Resentment

Artec Ships 3D Body Scanning Booths for Replicas and More

Artec, a Luxembourg-based 3D scanning company, began shipping 3D body scanners that capture every detail of individuals before allowing users to order mini replicas of themselves. The Shapify Booth, featuring multiple rotating scanners, captures the image in around 12 seconds. During a one-week test, 1,000 people were scanned so that replicas could be created. The results led to the Walmart-owned U.K. supermarket chain Asda to purchase 10 booths, which cost $180,000 each.  Continue reading Artec Ships 3D Body Scanning Booths for Replicas and More

Netflix Reports Strong Q2 Earnings, Unveils International Plans

Netflix reported second quarter earnings higher than analysts’ estimates, and announced that original series “Orange Is the New Black” helped lift its number of subscribers past 50 million. Net income more than doubled to $71 million, while sales grew 25 percent. Netflix added 570,000 domestic streaming customers, bringing its U.S. total to 36.2 million. During the quarter, the company raised fees $1 to $2 a month for new customers of its online service to help finance original content. Continue reading Netflix Reports Strong Q2 Earnings, Unveils International Plans