DJIA: 17,826.30  -279.47 (-1.54%) | NASDAQ: 4,931.814  -75.976 (-1.52%) | S&P 500: 2,081.18  -23.81 (-1.13%) Markets closed

  • Show Article Details

    * UK authorities want to promote financial innovation. * Government also aims to curb bitcoin use in crime. * Bitcoin backers say UK attitude makes London attractive. * World's biggest bitcoin networking group is London-based. By Jemima Kelly. London, centre of the $5-trillion-a-day global currency market, now wants to be home to a controversial upstart - bitcoin.

  • Show Article Details

    It took Time Warner HBO's Internet stand-alone service HBO Now for Lacy Beam and her husband to finally cut the cord. "Once HBO Now came out, we decided to break up with DirecTV," said Beam, who also subscribes to Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu Plus, a joint venture of Comcast (CMCSA), 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney (DIS), Must Read: 11 Safe High-Yield Dividend Stocks for Times of Volatility and Uncertainty.

  • Show Article Details

    China's Huawei unveiled its flagship P8 smartphone on Wednesday, a device that stacks up against the latest models from Samsung and Apple (AAPL) in technical specifications if not marketing budget. The P8, which runs Google's Android operating system, has a 5.2 inch display screen -- slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S6, unveiled last month, and the iPhone 6 -- and an eight-core 64-bit processor.

  • Show Article Details

    * EU sends Google antitrust charge sheet over shopping searches. * EU regulator also launches probe into Android mobile system. * Charges don't necessarily lead to fines. * Google says its products foster competition, help consumers. By Alastair Macdonald and Julia Fioretti.

  • Show Article Details

    In her native Denmark, she’s known as Queen Margrethe III – a wry nod to the considerable power she wielded as government economic minister. Some Danes also call her the Queen of Twitter for her popular social-media feed, which features her reactions to everything from TV talent shows to economic policy.Today, Margrethe Vestager is known as the woman going after Google.And with that, she’s assumed a potentially much larger throne.Vestager, now Europe’s top antitrust regulator, announced Wednesday that she was formally accusing Google (GOOG) of violating European antitrust laws by favoring its search results over those from competitors. While an investigation of Google (GOOG) had dragged on for five years without result, Vestager’s decision to aggressively target one of the most successful U.S. businesses — a move criticized by President Obama — suddenly kick-starts the European Union’s highest-profile antitrust suit since its lengthy battle with Microsoft (MSFT) a decade ago.Vestager is the leader and public face of the E.U.’s claim that Google (GOOG) abused its market power to restrict competition. “And this, in my opinion and in our preliminary review, is not as it should be,” she said during a news conference Wednesday. “And that is the reason for this endeavor.”Shortly after the announcement, she hopped on a plane for Washington, where she will give two speeches on antitrust issues and meet with U.S. regulators, before giving two more speeches in New York on Monday — events that should raise her profile even higher.Those who know Vestager and watched her long climb to her new perch describe her as respected, intelligent and unwilling to yield to political pressures when she believes the facts support her, even when it may hurt her.“She’s known for being a tough cookie,” said Marlene Wind, a political science professor at the University of Copenhagen.Vestager, 47, took on the role as the E.U.’s competition commissioner in November. She faced a full plate of potentially controversial ­cases, including Google (GOOG), Russian energy company Gazprom and to questions about tax evasion in Luxembourg. Her predecessor as antitrust chief, Joaquín Almunia, had tried and failed repeatedly to reach a settlement with Google (GOOG). To many observers, he appeared hesitant to file a formal “statement of objections” against the company.Vestager showed no such reservations. She said she viewed the formal accusations as a way of prodding the case toward resolution. Google (GOOG) has 10 weeks to respond in writing. A hearing before E.U. commissioners could follow, along with a formal trial. A settlement could be reached anytime along the way.“For me, the road from here is open,” Vestager said. “I would like to hear what Google (GOOG) has to say for itself.”Google (GOOG) issued a statement Wednesday defending its business practices, calling the E.U.’s accusations “wide of the mark.” The company says that consumers have more choices than ever and that other online firms are thriving.Vestager’s willingness to be confrontational — to challenge Google (GOOG) in public rather than hold more-private discussions — has surprised many people.“It’s a very un-Danish way of doing things,” Wind said.And that should serve as a warning to the American company.“Google (GOOG) shouldn’t underestimate her,” Wind added.Vestager, who holds a masters in economics, started her career as a civil servant working in the Danish government's finance ministry. She eventually assumed the roles of the country’s education minister and economic minister.She’s a longtime member of the Radicals, which, despite its name, is a centrist political party. It’s a small group, garnering about 10 percent of the national vote, but critical for forming coalition governments with both the larger liberal and conservative parties in Denmark. And Vestager has often played influential government roles — to the point that many considered her more powerful than the ruling prime minister.But she’s not propelled by political calculation, said Kristian Madsen, U.S. correspondent for Politiken, Denmark’s largest newspaper, where he also served as a longtime political pundit.“She’s data-driven, and in that sense, unideological,” Madsen said.During her party’s last campaign in 2011, the slogan was “Listen to the economists. That’s what we do.” The very unsexy message was that the emotional pleadings of politicians should not overshadow the facts. As economic minister, Vestager pushed through an overhaul of Denmark’s pension system, raising the retirement age and changing benefits. That wasn’t popular with voters, Madsen said. But Vestager was unperturbed.“She’s very set when she thinks she’s right — which is most of the time,” Madsen said. “She’s no fan of the negotiating table.”That could hurt Google (GOOG), which theoretically could face a $6 billion fine and be forced to change how it does business overseas. Vestager said she is not after Google (GOOG) changing its search algorithm or redesigning its pages. Given the speed of online innovation, she said, she was more interested in an agreement on principles.“I am very, very open to solutions as long as they address the concerns that we have — that there is conduct that hampers consumer choice and innovation in general,” she said.The E.U.’s current accusations are focused on its assertion that Google (GOOG) unduly favored its own comparison shopping tool called Google Shopping over those from competitors. Vestager said the inquiries into other areas — Google Maps and Google Travel, among them — were ongoing. The E.U. also announced that it was opening an investigation into potential anti-competitive practices with Google’s Android mobile operating system.“So there could be more statements of objections,” Vestager said.Despite her tough tactics, Vestager is regarded in Denmark as warm and possessing a dry wit. When a new government was formed in 2011, she and other politicians made headlines during the traditional visit to inform the queen, in this case Margrethe II, because they traveled on bicycles. Vestager’s ride had a large wicker basket on the front.And during Wednesday’s news conference, Vestager made a joke about Google (GOOG) as she answered a reporter’s question. She began by noting how pervasive Google (GOOG) is in Europe, where it has 90 percent of the search market, compared with 67 percent in the United States.Google (GOOG) has inserted itself even into our language, she said.“If you look for something, you say, ‘Let me Google (GOOG) it.’ And if you want to say something about what may not be the wisest question — and I’m not alluding to you,” Vestager said, smiling, as laughter rolled out from the audience, “they would say, ‘Let me Google (GOOG) it for you.’ ”“So it’s in our behavior,” she said. “It’s in the way that we work.”And, to her, it needed to change.




  • Show Article Details

    NEW YORK-- Online marketplace Etsy is expected to price its initial public offering later Wednesday for the shares to start trading on Thursday. The company is planning to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker ETSY, and has said it will sell 16.6 million shares, priced at $14 to $16.. The Brooklyn, New York-based company was founded in 2005 by Rob Kalin as he was searching for a place to sell his handmade wooden computers.

  • Show Article Details

    Now that Internet providers have formally challenged the government's net neutrality rules in court, the next stage of the battle has begun. Here's a rundown of what we can expect to happen next.Catch me up, here. Telecom and cable lobbyists are suing the government? Why?They're hoping to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's new rules, which seek to prevent Internet providers from unfairly speeding up, slowing down or blocking your Web traffic.What is it the lobbyists object to, specifically?The complaints range from the procedural — that the FCC didn't follow the right notice-and-comment steps in writing its new regulations — to the substantive, such as the argument that the net neutrality rules impose onerous and unconstitutional restrictions on Internet providers.Will the arguments work?That depends a lot on which court winds up taking the case.What do you mean?Well, here's what happens when an appeal like this occurs. Once the regulations become fair game, anyone has 10 days to file an appeal in their preferred court (longer if that's not a priority). If multiple lawsuits get filed in different places, the court system holds a random lottery to determine where the case should be heard.This actually has a huge potential effect on the outcome: Some courts may be more friendly to the rules than others, thereby increasing or decreasing the likelihood that they'll be struck down.This sounds like a crazy and unpredictable system. Who said this was a good idea?Believe it or not, it's actually an improvement over what we had before. You see, it used to be that the first court to receive an appeal would be the one to hear the case. But legal experts say that was incredibly messy, because it resulted in a race to the courthouse every time. People who wanted rules struck down would file in a court they thought was friendliest to them; defenders, knowing that a challenge was inevitable, would rush to a different court in a preemptive move to head off the worst-case scenario.As a result, you had multimillion-dollar cases being more or less decided in a few seconds by paralegals and clerks. It was nuts.Okay. So which court is going to take this case?It could very well wind up being the D.C. Circuit. That's where all the major trade groups have filed their appeals. It was that Washington court that heard the last challenge to the FCC's net neutrality rule. It was that federal court that largely struck down the rules and told the FCC to try again.This isn't set in stone. Someone else could file an appeal at another court(s) before the close of the 10-day window. Then the court system would use the lottery to select a venue at random from the options. (Update: Indeed, a small, Texas-based Internet provider has appealed in New Orleans, so the lottery will be held, after all.)What would it mean if the case landed back at the D.C. Circuit?From the way the trade associations are acting, it's clear they believe the D.C. Circuit is on their side. All of them filed in Washington, even when some could have chosen to file elsewhere. The court has twice before rejected the FCC's attempt to impose its net neutrality regulations."It had the previous two court cases," a wireless industry official said, "so based on the understanding of this complex issue, it would make sense to keep it there."So the D.C. Circuit will probably throw out the rules again?Not necessarily. In fact, some proponents of the FCC's rules think putting the case before the D.C. Circuit could actually benefit them this time instead of the telecom and cable industries. That's because, when the court threw out the FCC's rules, it did so on a technicality. Agreeing in principle with the FCC's rationale, the court held in Verizon (VZ) v. FCC that the agency had implemented its rules using the wrong part of the law.To get on the right side of the law, the court implied, the FCC could either rebrand Internet providers as "common carriers" regulable under more restrictive telecom regulations, or re-write the rules so that they imposed fewer obligations on the Internet providers, classified as an "information service."The FCC wound up taking the former path — one that Andrew Schwartzman, a lecturer at Georgetown University, thinks the D.C. Circuit would recognize and uphold."As someone who's in favor of the net neutrality rules, I think the D.C. Circuit's a good place to be," Schwartzman said. "The Verizon (VZ) decision wrote a roadmap for the FCC to follow, and I like my chances."How can supporters and opponents of the FCC both think the D.C. Circuit would be good for them?It's a matter of perspective. But at the end of the day, if the case is heard in Washington, one of those groups will be proven right — and the other wrong.




  • Show Article Details

    A day after announcing advanced talks and meeting with top French politicians, Nokia  said it would buy Alcatel-Lucent SA  in a €15.6 billion, all-share takeover that has the blessing of the French government and will create a European telecommunications-network equipment heavyweight.

  • Show Article Details

    Carlyle Group (CG) is seeking to raise about $430 million by selling its entire remaining shares in China's Haier Electronics Group Co (HRELF), IFR reported on Wednesday, citing a deal term sheet. Carlyle is offering 140 million Haier electronics shares in a range of HK$23.50-HK$24.25 each, up to a 6.7 percent discount to Wednesday's close, IFR said.

  • Show Article Details

    * EU sends Google antitrust charge sheet over shopping searches. * EU regulator also launches probe into Android mobile system. * Charges don't necessarily lead to fines. * Google says its products foster competition, help consumers. By Julia Fioretti and Alastair Macdonald.

  • Show Article Details

    South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (SSNLF) on Wednesday said demand for both the flat-screen and curved-screen models of its new flagship Galaxy S6 smartphones is "much higher" than initially planned for. The comment expands on guidance for a near-term supply shortage for the curved-screen Galaxy S6 edge model by Samsung's mobile chief J.K. Shin last week.

  • Show Article Details

    Alcatel could be the big winner in a merger. LONDON-- After months of negotiations, Nokia (NOK) confirmed Wednesday morning it's buying French rival Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) for 15.6 billion euros to create the world's largest wireless-network equipment supplier. For Alcatel shareholders, a tie-up is almost a win-win, analysts said, while Nokia (NOK) stock owners could face a period of restructuring costs, scrapped dividends and diluted share prices.

  • Show Article Details

    * Q1 profit up 60 percent, but outlook disappoints. * Forecasts Q2 sales of 1.6 bln euros vs. expected 1.64 bln euros. * No new orders yet for next-generation EUV machines. By Toby Sterling. ASML Holding (ASML), a key supplier to top global semiconductor makers, gave a slightly lower than expected forecast for second-quarter sales after posting a 60 percent jump in first-quarter profit on Wednesday.