Following a report yesterday claiming that Apple was being investigated by the Department of Justice over anti-competitive practices surrounding the launch of its rebranded Beats streaming music service, Bloomberg this evening now corroborates that report. Bloomberg says that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Apple is using its large iTunes store to put rival streaming music services like Spotify at a disadvantage.
Ahead of a BBC special exploring work conditions in Apple’s supply chain airing tonight (update: video embedded below), BBC.com today published a story revealing the results of its investigation. The news outlet went undercover into Apple’s supply chain and claims “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken” while citing a number of workplace violations: Read more
Earlier this year the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it would be suspending its “iPad for All” program after it ran into an array of problems. Things started off optimistically in July 2013 when the district announced that it would give 640,000 students iPads for school.
A few crafty students figured out a way to bypass the built-in restrictions on the devices, then the district realized that it may have miscalculated the cost of the entire program. Eventually officials started to question if iPads really were the right tablets to hand out after all.
Now the LAUSD has decided to scrap the entire plan for good just as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has started taking a closer look at the deal.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the federal government is not a big fan of Apple’s decision to employ data protection measures on its iOS devices that prevent snooping on a customer’s private information, even taking its disapproval to ridiculous levels at times.
Today Ars Technica reports that federal authorities are now considering new ways to force Apple to bypass these protections to assist in criminal investigations.
In the ongoing e-book price fixing case with the Department of Justice, in which Apple is accused of conspiring with publishers to fix eBook pricing and cut out Amazon, Apple has again responded to the DOJ’s claims detailing the “tough negotiations” it went through with publishers. To further prove its point that it was not colluding with publishers to fix e-book pricing, Apple said it “one-on-one” and “contentious negotiations” at a time when publishers were already considering methods of getting Amazon to increase pricing: Read more
Apple may face an anti-trust investigation in Europe over its iPhone contracts with carriers as it defends itself against separate investigations for alleged price gouging in Australia.
Apple was informed last year that it would be required to attend a hearing by Australia’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications to explain why its pricing of digital content was higher in Australia than in the United States. The hearing is now underway, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, with Apple asked to explain why content sold through iTunes is marked up between 30 and 70 percent higher than in the U.S. Apple is blaming wholesale pricing agreements in the country.
“The pricing of this digital content is based on the wholesale prices which are set through negotiated contracts with the record labels, movie studios and TV networks,” said Mr King, who is Apple’s vice president for Australia, New Zealand and South Asia.
Following the verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung trial today, where Samsung was found guilty of infringing various Apple patents related to the case, Apple is also coming out a winner, at least temporarily, in Google/Motorola’s attempt to block imports of iPhones and iPads to the United States.
In late June, we told you about Google’s attempt to block U.S. imports of iPhones and iPads based on a previous ruling that Apple infringed on one standard-essential Motorola patent. The initial ruling was under review by the ITC, which has power to block U.S. imports of Apple devices from Asia, with a decision expected at a hearing scheduled for today.
The ITC has now concluded its review (via paid blogger FossPatents), finding no violations for three of the four patents in the initial suit (including the one mentioned above), but remanded an investigation on a fourth, non-standard essential patent to Judge Thomas Pender. The result? According to FossPatents, there might be a violation and import ban related to the patent, but a remand and ITC review could take up to a year:
In February, the story broke that Google and other advertising companies were bypassing iOS Safari’s privacy settings and continuing to track users without their consent. Google quickly disabled its code responsible for the tracking after a story from The Wall Street Journal published, and Apple then claimed it was “working to put a stop” to the issue.
Now, a new report from Mercury News claimed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering whether to fine Google over the incident. The decision is expected in the next 30 days:
The Federal Trade Commission is deep into an investigation of Google’s actions in bypassing the default privacy settings of Apple’s (AAPL) Safari browser for Google users, according to sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between the company and the government… Within the next 30 days, the FTC could order the Mountain View search giant to pay an even larger fine in the Safari case than the penalty the Federal Communications Commission hit Google with Friday, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The report is referring to Google being recently fined $25,000 by the FCC after it allegedly “deliberately impeded and delayed” an investigation related to Street View cars. The heart of the Safari bypassing investigation is whether the company is violating a previous privacy agreement made with the FTC following controversy over the failed “Buzz” service. The report claimed Google could face up to $16,000 per violation per day for violating the agreement. Google said to Mercury News today it would “cooperate with any officials who have questions” and explained making its +1 compatible on mobile Safari created the issue:
Yesterday, we reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wants Apple to lose the “4G” marketing for the third-generation iPad, alleging it misleads consumers into thinking the device is capable of accessing 4G networks in Australia. Reports from ABC news quickly followed and claimed Apple would give refunds to customers and publish clarification regarding incompatibility with the Telstra network. Apple’s AU website now has “Ultrafast wireless” instead of “Ultrafast 4G” on the main features page, despite still advertising 4G as a highlight of the device through its international sales pages.
Now, authorities in other countries where the new iPad is not compatible with local 4G networks are investigating the issue. Authorities in at least the United Kingdom and Sweden confirmed they are considering investigations…