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Google to EU: Let's Make a Deal

Google to EU: Let's Make a Deal

Today in international tech news: Google revises its offer in an attempt to settle the EU's antitrust investigation. Also: A handful of publishing companies are suing a popular file-sharing site in Poland; a pair of South Korean companies get into a spat about technology theft; and Samsung plops down big money for a British wireless technology company.

By David Vranicar
07/17/12 8:15 AM PT

Google has submitted a revised proposal to the European Union in an attempt to settle the EU's antitrust investigation, according to The Financial Times.

The EU told Google in May that the company would face antitrust charges as well as fines ranging in the billions unless it settled. Earlier this month, Google contacted the EU via letter, and more recently, Joaquin Almunia, the EU competition commissioner, talked with Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

With this updated proposal from Google, the EU will now consider whether to press charges or to engage in discussions to hash out a settlement deal, according to FT. The outlet reports that both sides are eager to reach a deal to avoid what could be a lengthy and costly legal battle. At the same time, however, Google's competitors are reportedly urging the EU to levy hefty penalties, so a middle ground could be tough to find.

The EU has outlined four main concerns with Google: that the company boosts its own products on search results; that it lifts content from rivals without consent; that it excludes competitors from advertising agreements; and that it inhibits advertisers from using rivals search engines for ad campaigns.

Publishers vs. Polish Pirates

In Poland, a group of publishing companies is suing file-sharing website chomikuj.pl, according to ZDNet.

ZDNet compares chomikuj to the popular file-sharing site Megaupload, which facilitated file-sharing of copyrighted materials until it was shut down by U.S. authorities in January. Chomikuj reportedly has 6 million unique viewers each month, and while it is officially an online storage service, it has emerged as a popular platform for pirating materials -- including books.

Poland has for months been at a center of piracy and copyright issues. Polish citizens protested in droves while the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was being debated, while Polish lawmakers famously donned Guy Fawkes masks to protest ACTA.

The Polish Chamber of Books, which is Poland's publishing industry trade body, has been contemplating legal action against chomikuj for a few years, according to ZDNet.

Technology Theft in South Korea

Executives for LG Display were indicted over allegations that they stole technology from Samsung Mobile Display, according to The Wall Street Journal.

LG Display, which is 38 percent-owned by LG Electronics, and Samsung Mobile Display, a unit of Samsung Electronics, are both based in South Korea and both make flat-panel displays.

Eleven people, including mid-tier LG Display execs and former employees at Samsung Mobile Display, have been indicted in what the Journal describes as a leak of technology involving organic light-emitting-diodes, or OLEDs.

OLEDs are seen as a more attractive option than conventional LEDs but are costly and difficult to make, according to the Journal. They are widely used in smartphones, but LG and Samsung reportedly want to adapt that technology to bigger screens, namely televisions.

In a statement, LG Display denied using Samsung technology.

Samsung Buys UK Wireless Unit

While Samsung Mobile Display was busy defending its patented technology, Samsung Electronics was buying up others' technology.

Samsung paid US$310 million to acquire UK-based wireless technology company CSR, which specializes in single-chip Bluetooth solutions, according to The Next Web.

In addition to potentially bolstering its patent portfolio, Samsung obtained CSR's handset connectivity and location development operations, according to The Next Web. CSR will transfer 310 people to Samsung, which will take a 4.9 percent stake in the 13-year-old chipmaker, the site reported.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com



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