Twitter Channels Google, Issues Transparency Report
Today in international tech news: Twitter issues an extensive transparency report; Google sends a letter to Europe; Italy threatens Apple over the company's refusal to give free two-year warranties; and one day after announcing a deal with MasterCard, Deutsche Telekom reveals it is "in talks" with Google about mobile payments.
Jul 3, 2012 8:42 AM PT
The report, which details takedown requests, information requests and where user information was sent, is the first of what will become biannual reports, according to TechRadar.com.
It was apparently high time to get started: Twitter received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than in the entirety of 2011.
Google also reported an uptick in government requests.
Among the noteworthy findings: The U.S. did not issue any official takedown requests, while the UK, France, Greece and others did. That's not to say, though, that the U.S. wasn't involved. Twitter apparently received 679 requests for user information from the U.S., granting 75 percent of them.
Japan had the highest frequency of requests in the Twitter report, as reported by TechInAsia.com.
With the specter of antitrust charges looming, Google on Monday sent a letter to European regulators stating -- well, no one seems to know exactly.
The New York Times was among those to report that a letter was indeed sent from Google. But neither EU officials nor Google cared to disclose what the letter said.
The European Commission warned Google in May that the search engine giant may have abused its dominance, and that it could face an antitrust investigation. Google followed up with a letter on June 11, which is reputed to have laid the groundwork for collaboration -- as opposed to litigation -- between Google and the Europe.
The European Commission was clear from the off that Google could settle the investigation prior to going to court. That move may have been designed to avoid the sort of notoriously lengthy investigations that have become commonplace in Europe, such as the EU's recent case against Microsoft which spanned more than a decade.
European regulators have laid out a few specific areas of concern for Google. There is of course the alleged abuse of market dominance -- for instance, featuring its own maps and images over those of competitors. But there's also the charge that Google lifted materials from competitors and included them with its own search results. There are also concerns about advertising patterns.
Google is also facing antitrust investigations in the U.S., Korea and India.
Italy Warns Apple Over Warrranty
Italy threatened temporary closure of Apple's operations in Italy, as well as additional 300,000 euros (about US$375,000) in fines, if the company refuses to offer the free two-year warranty mandated by Italian law, according to Reuters.
Italy has already hit Apple with 900,000 euros in fines for not telling customers about access to free assistance, according to Reuters.
Apple currently offers a free one-year warranty that can be extended to two years -- for a fee. Italian law, meanwhile, reportedly requires the first two years to be free.
Apple now has 30 days to respond, according to Reuters.
Deutsche Telekom, Google in Talks
Deutsche Telekom is "in talks" with Google about the phone company's mobile payment system, according to BusinessWeek.
On Monday news broke that Deutsche Telekom, Europe's second-largest phone company, had inked a deal with MasterCard to launch a mobile paying platform.
Deutsche Telekom's head of innovation is quoted in the BusinessWeek article, and it sounds as though discussions with Google are in the infant stages. So don't expect any MasterCard-esque alliance announcement to come soon -- just know that they're talking.