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EU Commission Pushing Forward with Unified Electronics Charger Standard and Unbundling of Chargers

What can only be called a long running drama, the EU has once again put its foot down when it comes to chargers for various consumer electronics devices, although it's mostly about smartphones and regular old mobile phones these days. The whole thing took off some time in 2009, although back then, it was a voluntary effort and according to today's press release by the EU Commission, we're down from 30 to three "competing" standards (micro USB, lightning and USB-C), but apparently that is still not good enough.

As such, the EU Commission has now decided that USB-C is the answer to their prayers and it'll now be an enforced standard for a wide range of devices if they're to be allowed to be sold in the EU. We doubt this will go down well with many device manufacturers, Apple being the obvious one here, even though the company has been slowly transitioning to USB-C on its tablets, none of its phones are using USB-C today. The following device categories are affected: smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles.

European Commission Fines Qualcomm €997M for Abuse of Dominant Market Position

The European Commission has fined Qualcomm €997m for abusing its market dominance in LTE baseband chipsets. Qualcomm prevented rivals from competing in the market by making significant payments to a key customer on condition it would not buy from rivals. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Qualcomm illegally shut out rivals from the market for LTE baseband chipsets for over five years, thereby cementing its market dominance. Qualcomm paid billions of US Dollars to a key customer, Apple, so that it would not buy from rivals. These payments were not just reductions in price - they were made on the condition that Apple would exclusively use Qualcomm's baseband chipsets in all its iPhones and iPads.

This meant that no rival could effectively challenge Qualcomm in this market, no matter how good their products were. Qualcomm's behaviour denied consumers and other companies more choice and innovation - and this in a sector with a huge demand and potential for innovative technologies. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules and why we have taken today's decision."

WD's Purchase of Hitachi HDD Business Approved by EU Regulators

Western Digital (WD), secured an approval (conditional), from the European Union regulator in-charge of competition that enables it to go ahead and purchase Hitachi's hard disk drive business. WD is purchasing Hitachi's HDD assets for US $4.3 billion. "The proposed divestiture will ensure that competition in the industry is fully restored before the merger is implemented," EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement. What makes the EU approval conditional is the fact that WD had to first agree to sell several of its production operations, which it did, to Toshiba, early this month.

Microsoft's Official Statement Following EU Commission Objections on IE with Windows

It is not the first time that Microsoft has had run-ins with the European Commission. The problem that keeps coming up is what the commission believes to be anti-competitive practices, being that Microsoft is bundling its own software with Windows instead of offering them separately. As has been seen with Windows 7, Microsoft has tried to keep them happy this time, by only including Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer. The rest can be downloaded free of charge, by what Microsoft has named the Windows Live Suite. It seems that this is not enough however, despite Internet Explorer being included in Microsoft's operating systems for over ten years, they have decided that this is an anti-competitive move by Microsoft, and as such have issued a Statement of Objections. The commission has given Microsoft approximately two months to respond, the official statement from Microsoft follows:
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