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US Widens Probe Into Microsoft's Overseas Bribes

US Widens Probe Into Microsoft's Overseas Bribes

Today in international tech news: The U.S. widens its probe into overseas bribes reportedly doled out by Microsoft. Also: Beijing authorities have approved taxi-booking apps (after failing with their own taxi-booking app); and Evernote teams up with a Singaporean telecom.

By David Vranicar
08/22/13 12:07 PM PT

The U.S. government is investigating bribes that Microsoft is alleged to have given to officials in Russia and Pakistan in return for contracts, marking the expansion of an ongoing probe.

The Russia investigation apparently centers on software resellers funneling kickbacks to execs at a state-owned company in order to win a deal. In Pakistan, meanwhile, Microsoft allegedly sewed up a tender by green-lighting a consulting firm to foot the bill for a five-day trip a government official (and his wife) took to Egypt.

The U.S. Justice Department and Security and Exchange Commission were already eyeing possible kickbacks to Microsoft reps in China, as well as shady dealings with resellers and consultants in Romania and Italy. No charges have been filed in any of these investigations, and Microsoft says it is cooperating with investigators.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal via The Next Web]

Beijing Sorting Out Taxi App

Beijing has reneged on its May ban of taxi-booking apps -- and remedied its own failed taxi-booking app released in June -- by allowing four new taxi apps to be used in the Chinese capital.

In April, the city's municipal commission of transport announced that it was looking to create a unified platform for mobile taxing booking. This was an attempt to weed out for-profit services, which were sometimes equipped with functions that allowed passengers to tip cabbies before being picked up. As a result, the first-come-first-serve model was supplanted by a biggest-tip-first-serve model.

The new apps will employ a flat fee (about US$0.80) to book a taxi, which should help avoid the excessive-gratuity problem.

Aside from the four approved apps, all others will remain banned.

[Source: Tech In Asia via Tech Web (Chinese)]

Evernote Partners With Singaporean Telecom

Evernote has announced a partnership with Starhub, a telecom based in Singapore.

Singapore has Evernote's highest per-capita penetration -- 400,000 users out of about 5.3 million people, or about 7.5 percent. That's part of the impetus for teaming with Starhub, which will offer a free one-year premium subscription to Evernote to its 1.2 million post-paid mobile customers.

Evernote also has formal partnerships in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The company launched in China last year.

[Source: The Next Web]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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