Apple fined $2.29 million over Australian ‘4G’ iPad (Source: The Economic Times)

SYDNEY: Apple was on Thursday fined Aus$2.25 million (US$2.29 million) for “deliberately” misleadingAustralian consumers about the local 4G capability of its next-generation iPad. 

The tech giant was also ordered to pay Aus$300,000 in costs by the Federal Court in a case brought by regulators. 

Justice Mordy Bromberg found that Apple misled people with claims in its advertising implying that the “iPad with WiFi + 4G” could connect with fourth generation cellular networks in Australia, when it could not. 

The judgement ruled that the company engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public and contravened Australian consumer law. 

“The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious,” Bromberg said. 

“It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation.” 

Apple offered in March to refund customers who felt they had been duped, and to publish a clarification about the popular tablet’s capabilities. 

The product is now advertised outside North America as “Wi-Fi + Cellular” — a change that came into effect on May 12 — with a clear caveat on its Australian site that “it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks.” 

Earlier this month, the company agreed to settle the case with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which initiated the proceedings. 

But Bromberg had refused to make an official ruling until he had details on how many iPads had been sold and were returned under the refund offer and further information on Apple’s financial position. 

He said Thursday the risk of contravening Australian consumer law would have been “reasonably obvious” to Apple. 

“In that context, and in the absence of any other explanation, the facts to which I have just referred suggest that Apple’s desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law,” he said. 

“Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable.” 

The iPad was the world’s best-selling tablet in the first three months of 2012, outgunning its Android-powered rivals, with sales more than doubling from a year earlier to send Apple’s profits soaring.

 
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India asked Google to censor online content 225 times. (Source : The Economic Times)

Internet giant Google has said it has logged 255 instances of India asking for online content censorship, marking a sharp rise of 49% in the second half of last year. 

Google said India’s request formed part of 1,000 demands from governments around the world in the second half of last year to take down items such asYouTube videos and search listings, and it complied with them more than half the time. 

India’s objections ranged from blockage of 133 YouTube videos, including 10 made on national security considerations and 77 on defamation, besides 26 web searches and 49 blogs, Google said in its report on Sunday. 

Google said political comments were a prime target as the number of requests for the company to remove content from the reach of Internet users jumped manifold.

Facebook to buy facial-recognition startup Face.com (Source: The Economic Times)

Facebook Inc is paying $55 million to $60 million to buy Face.com, according to people familiar with the matter, acquiring the company that provides the facial-recognition technology used by the world’s largest social network to help users identify and tag photos. 
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The deal bolsters one of Facebook’s most popular features — the sharing and handling of photos — but the use of the startup’s technology has spurred concerns about user privacy. 

The No. 1 social network will pay cash and stock for Face.com, potentially paying as much as $60 million, two sources with knowledge of the deal said. Media reports in past weeks have pegged the transaction at $80 million to $100 million. 

Neither Facebook nor Face.com disclosed terms of the deal, which is expected to close in coming weeks. 

Facebook, which will acquire the technology and the employees of the 11-person Israeli company, said in a statement that the deal allows the company to bring a “long-time technology vendor in house.” 

Face.com, which has raised nearly $5 million from investors including Russian Web search site Yandex, launched its first product in 2009. The company makes standalone applications that consumers can use to help them identify photos of themselves and of their friends on Facebook, as well as providing the technology that Facebook has integrated into its service. 

Facebook uses the technology to scan a user’s newly uploaded photos, compares faces in the snapshots with previous pictures, then tries to match faces and suggest name tags. When a match is found, Facebook alerts the person uploading the photos and invites them to “tag,” or identify, the person in the photo. 

Responding to inquiries from US and European privacy advocates, Facebook last year made it easier for users to opt out of its controversial facial-recognition technology for photographs posted on the website, an effort to address concerns that it had violated consumers’ privacy. 

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Facebook in recent months, including the $1 billion acquisition of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram. U.S. antitrust regulators are undertaking an extended review of the Instagram deal, which Facebook expects to close by the end of the year. 

Shares of Facebook, which continue to trade below the price at which they were offered during the initial public offering in May, closed Monday’s regular session up 4.7 per cent at $31.41.

 

Facebook to buy facial-recognition startup Face.com (Source: The Economic Times)

Facebook Inc is paying $55 million to $60 million to buy Face.com, according to people familiar with the matter, acquiring the company that provides the facial-recognition technology used by the world’s largest social network to help users identify and tag photos. 
Image
The deal bolsters one of Facebook’s most popular features — the sharing and handling of photos — but the use of the startup’s technology has spurred concerns about user privacy. 

The No. 1 social network will pay cash and stock for Face.com, potentially paying as much as $60 million, two sources with knowledge of the deal said. Media reports in past weeks have pegged the transaction at $80 million to $100 million. 

Neither Facebook nor Face.com disclosed terms of the deal, which is expected to close in coming weeks. 

Facebook, which will acquire the technology and the employees of the 11-person Israeli company, said in a statement that the deal allows the company to bring a “long-time technology vendor in house.” 

Face.com, which has raised nearly $5 million from investors including Russian Web search site Yandex, launched its first product in 2009. The company makes standalone applications that consumers can use to help them identify photos of themselves and of their friends on Facebook, as well as providing the technology that Facebook has integrated into its service. 

Facebook uses the technology to scan a user’s newly uploaded photos, compares faces in the snapshots with previous pictures, then tries to match faces and suggest name tags. When a match is found, Facebook alerts the person uploading the photos and invites them to “tag,” or identify, the person in the photo. 

Responding to inquiries from US and European privacy advocates, Facebook last year made it easier for users to opt out of its controversial facial-recognition technology for photographs posted on the website, an effort to address concerns that it had violated consumers’ privacy. 

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Facebook in recent months, including the $1 billion acquisition of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram. U.S. antitrust regulators are undertaking an extended review of the Instagram deal, which Facebook expects to close by the end of the year. 

Shares of Facebook, which continue to trade below the price at which they were offered during the initial public offering in May, closed Monday’s regular session up 4.7 per cent at $31.41.

 

Google pays almost $18.7 million to get domains – .google, .youtube, .goog and .plus(Source: the Economic Times)

Google wants love. But so do six other companies. They are after .love, actually, a new “top-level domain” that could catch on as .com, .org and .net did. 

Love might not prevail, but chances are, at least one of the domains in 1,930 applications for new extensions will. The domains are the letters that follow the dot in Internet addresses, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, revealed the new requests on Wednesday. 

Google proved to be one of the more ambitious applicants. It spent almost $18.7 million applying for more than 100 top-level domains, some expected, some not. Not surprisingly, the search giant wants .google, .youtube, .goog and .plus. It was the only applicant vying for .fly, .new and .eat. But it is going to have to fight Johnson & Johnson for .baby, Microsoft for .docs and .live, and Amazon for 17 top-level domains: .wow, .search, .shop, .drive, .free, .game, .mail, .map, .movie, .music, .play, .shop, .show, .spot, .store, .talk and .you. 

Amazon also went after .tunes, .got, .author, .smile, .song, .joy, .bot, .like and .call. It does not appear thatFacebook applied for any domain. Apple applied for .apple. 

The most sought-after extension is .app, with 13 applicants though not Apple, which popularized the mobile application. 

“The Internet is about to change forever,” said Rod Beckstrom, chief executive of ICANN. 

ICANN is expected to approve hundreds of these extensions, the first of which should be in use by next year. ICANN set the application fee high, at $185,000 a name, to try to discourage frivolous bids; still, more than 200 terms are being sought by more than one bidder. ICANN decides who gets ownership of the contested top-level domains. 

ICANN will evaluate applicants in batches and consider various objections. Among the objections it will consider are those from rights holders. It would have very likely thrown out an application for .microsoft from an entity that is not Microsoft. The most common objection is likely to be the “limited public interest condition.” In those cases, people might object to a profit-making company like Google owning a generic top-level domain name like .love or .fun.