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Twitter Digs Its Feet Into Japan

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said Monday that the company will bolster its investments and staff in Japan, according to Bloomberg.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Costolo did not gives specifics on the number of employees or the extent of investment. But he did make clear that Japan is a key component of the company’s global reach.

Citing Semiocast, a social media research company, Bloomberg said that Japan has the third-most Twitter users in the world at about 30 million; the U.S. is No. 1 with more than 100 million.

The record for Twitter usage was set last summer when the United States and Japan played in the Women’s World Cup final.

Tearing Down the Wallet

Following complaints by the cellular operator Three, the European Union has begun investigating a mobile wallet business founded by the companies Everything Everywhere, Vodafaone and O2.

According to ZDNet , Everything Everywhere, Vodafaone and O2 announced last summer that they were setting up a “clearinghouse for mobile payments.” Three responded with a complaint to the European Commission, asserting that is that it was locked out of the partnership.

During the weekend,the European Commission stated,

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed creation of a joint venture in the UK between Vodafone, Telefonica and Everything Everywhere in the field of mobile commerce. The Commission’s preliminary investigation indicated potential competition concerns in the nascent markets of mobile payment applications supply (so-called “mobile wallets”), mobile advertising and related data analytics services, where the joint venture may have very high market shares …

Three was not mentioned in the statement.

Infosys Ready to Shell Out

Bloomberg reported Sunday that India-based Infosys is willing to spend up to a half-billion dollars in a Europe market on a lone acquisition.

Infosys was coy about which markets and which companies it might target. But that didn’t stop Bloomberg from venturing a guess:

Infosys may make another attempt to acquire a company of that size after it walked away from a plan to buy UK-based Axon Group for 407 million pounds (US$644 million) in 2008, Chandrashekar Kakal, the company’s global head of business IT services, said in a telephone interview.

Bloomberg also pointed out that in 2011, France and Germany combined to spend nearly $180 billion on IT goods and services. Taken together, the two neighboring nations are the third-largest technology market.

ACTA Losing Traction in Europe

In a story that first broke last Thursday but continues to get press, a member of European Parliament has implored the body to reject ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

David Martin, the rapporteur of the EP’s Committee on International Trade, said last week that while ACTA’s cause was worthwhile, the agreement is rife with pitfalls:

Unintended consequences of the ACTA text is a serious concern. On individual criminalization, the definition of “commercial-scale,” the role of Internet service providers and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines, your rapporteur maintains doubts that the ACTA text is as precise as is necessary.

The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights in the future under ACTA.

David Meyer, a freelance technology journalist, broke down some of these issues in an ECT News podcast in February.

Brin Speaks

The Guardian this week launched a series called “Battle for the Internet,” which will “take stock of the new battlegrounds for the Internet.”

The series started with a bang on Sunday, as Google cofounder Sergey Brin sounded off on a number of issues and called out Facebook and Apple.

From the article:

[Brin] said he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the Internet, but warned that the rise of Facebook and Apple, which have their own proprietary platforms and control access to their users, risked stifling innovation and balkanising the Web.

Brin said he and cofounder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the Internet was dominated by Facebook. “You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he said. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the Web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”

Brin’s comments had by Monday spread far and wide throughout the Web.

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.

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