GOOGLE: ‘ LOOKS AT BUYING UP PATENTS IN NEW PATENT PURCHASE PLAN ‘


#AceSocialNews – April.28: Google is angling to buy up patents from companies looking to sell in a new "Patent Purchase Promotion" that will start next month.

The promotion will allow patent holders to set a price on patents they are willing to part with. Google will then decide which ones it wants to buy. The search giant is painting the experiment as one that could help keep patents out of the hands of so-called "patent trolls."

"Unfortunately, the usual patent marketplace can sometimes be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls. Then bad things happen, like lawsuits, lots of wasted effort, and generally bad karma.

Rarely does this provide any meaningful benefit to the original patent owner," the company said in a blog post.

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FEATURED SOCIAL MEDIA: ‘ HOW THE GEEKS OF YESTERYEAR BECAME THE BILLIONAIRES OF TODAY ‘


#AceNewsDesk – Featured Post:April.26: There was a time when a couple of late teen/early millenniums would get together, max out their credit cards, borrow from their parents and anyone who would listen to them, work (and sometimes sleep) in a garage and emerge with the next great idea.

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“I hope you’re not busy for about a month…” – Man Stoner, “Up in Smoke,” Paramount, 1978

Not anymore.

Now, they see what someone else has done; give it a new twist, new coat of lipstick, an incomprehensible name and trot off to Sandhill Road and/or other VC (venture capital) organizations around the globe to collect a few hundred million so they can start out in style.

What are they worth?

Billions.

What have they “sold?”

Well, they closed a few or dozen VC deals and have risen to the elite unicorn status.

Isn’t entrepreneurship grand?

Unicorn status was initially bestowed upon the category of firms valued at over $1B.

Today, the low end is $10B and entry in the club will probably rise to $100B in no time.

And just think, we can credit this all to the iNet that speeds information around town, around the globe in the blink of an eye.

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Global Contact – The Internet may have been designed as a means to help engineers, academics and scientists to exchange information more rapidly; but it has quickly become the tool of commerce and the way folks communicate across the table, across town and across vast oceans. In no time, you can exchange news, data, images; buy/sell goods and make a fool of yourself or insult/abuse people you don’t even know with a click of the mouse. It’s fantastic.

If it weren’t for the used, abused, misused Internet; there would be utter silence.

Instead, every minute:

– 10M ads are displayed

– 500K tweets are sent

– 7M messages sent

– 3.5 pieces of content shared

– 100 hours of video uploaded

– 6.9M Facebook messages sent

– $134K Amazon sales made

– 1,572,877 GB of IP data transferred

And in two years, there will be 3x more connected things than people on Earth.

We’ll be driving 13x more mobile traffic and it will all produce more than 5ZB (Zettabytes) of data that has to be stored.

When Pedro was asked how long it would take, he said; “A week. I mean a day. A weekday.”

All on the lowly global backbone and technology that the US government initially funded.

No wonder every government feels entitled to listen in and see what’s going on.

Except for the under appreciated hardware, software and service providers; it’s a regular money-making machine, so why not invest big!

smoke3.jpgUp, Up and Away – New start-ups get funded almost every day because they have a new idea, new way to interest/attract people that will make all of the early stage investors (and early employees) amazingly rich for only a few hundred million dollars invested. Funds are rushing to get on the table early before the stakes go up.

Of course, not all of them will survive to go public; but VCs don’t care, which is why they invest in 10 or so of the same thing.

If the company burns through the paltry $40 – $80M too quickly, no problem … they simply go back and dip into the money well with an even bigger idea and they’re good for another couple of years.

After all, look at their valuation.

Besides, they’re private firms so they don’t have to play by the same rules public companies have with things like quarterly filings, SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) documents like audited numbers of real users (not deceased, one timers), real traffic (not bots), revenues and burn rate (how fast you’re going through the stash of cash).

That’s one of the perks of being private vs. public.

You don’t have to tell them a **** thing if you don’t want to!

So folks can let their imaginations go wild … and they do.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so get in before this sucka’ goes ballistic.

None of them heard Man Stoner’s warning, “Hey, hey don’t take those, man.”

Of course, it may not take off because history has an ugly way of repeating itself in business.

smoke4.jpgThat’s So Yesterday – While the industry may have experienced a bubble/burst situation a few years ago, there’s no reason to think the rapid advance of unicorn firms will encounter the same disaster. Of course, there’s no reason to think it won’t happen again either.

Back in 1999-2000, we had this thing called the dot.com bubble.

It was a beautiful thing – pixie dust, rainbows and good times that would go on forever.

Until they didn’t.

Back in those days, people were betting huge sums of money on young companies run by folks with no track record in business who found it fun and easy to spend the chunks of cash people gave them.

Talking about today’s environment but sounding a lot like the ‘90s, Bill Gurley, a VC, told the SXSW (South by Southwest) folks, “There is no fear in Silicon Valley right now. A complete absence of fear.”

Of course, there are entrepreneurs who didn’t take the easy route to getting their ideas off the ground and growing their firms.

Take Daymond John, of Shark Tank, and Larry O’Connor, of OWC.

John, of Shark Tank, started a clothing line called FUBU (For Us By You) with a second mortgage on the house he and his mother shared. He likes to look at boring things like COG (cost of goods) and sales, margins instead of nebulous numbers like somehow getting one percent of a $50B market.

He doesn’t think the idea of dropping $1M on 100 untested/unproven companies or management teams is a really swift move.

Being in line with comparables in the market (revenues and spending) doesn’t mean much when the market correction comes … and it will come.

Actually, he calls it “dumb money.”

Like most successful entrepreneurs today, both John and O’Connor had an idea, believed in it, and found a way to make it happen.

When he was “tuning” Apple computers back in 1988, O’Connor thought improving systems was too expensive and something most users could do themselves with the right “stuff.” He started OWC (Other World Computing).in his folk’s kitchen and barn.

He continued growing the product lines for the Apple, Apple II and beyond systems. Today, he and his team focuse on good products, customer value, customer service and … oh yeah, retained earnings.

Fortunately, there are a lot of great firms like FUBU and OWC today that have deep roots and resist the temptation of the fast/easy money route. They always remember their first sale, their first customer that launched the company.

Private or public, they know it’s about the customer, not the deep pocket folks.

Pedro looked at the quick and easy VC-funded approach and said, “Kinda looks like a toothpick.”

Of course there is another factor to consider – global economic cycles – that occur regularly as markets adjust to try and equalize supply and demand.

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Ups ‘n Downs – Since perhaps the beginning of time there has been an imbalance in supply and demand which held sway over the price of goods, products and services. Excess demand produces higher costs, higher profits; while excess production drives prices and profits down. That may be why they’re called business cycles.

For example, when there’s a shortage of technology products – flash memory, hard drives, CPUs (central processing units), GPUs (graphic processor units), rare earth, you name it, demand and prices go up.

To get their unfair share, firms ramp up their production to take advantage of the demand and increased margins.

Then suddenly, there’s a glut. Prices go down – to keep the lines running – and margins disappear. It happens with almost boring regularity because it’s a constant guessing game as to what’s hot, what’s not.

Of course that will never happen in the rarified game we’re playing today – you know, giant sums of money, sky-high valuations and everyone looking to score with the next blockbuster company.

Oh sure, for some it will end badly and for scores of others, it has; but most assuredly not with the one you’re in or the one your mutual fund is invested in.

After all, everyone knows unicorns don’t really exist, so how could they disappear or die?

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Beautiful – Yes, we admit unicorns do look beautiful in our dreams; but unfortunately, at some point in time we have to wake up. And when we do, the pixies, mermaids and unicorns disappear; so as much as we’d like them to exist, we know they really don’t.

Man Stoner looked at what was going on and said, “I think we’re parked.”


Disclaimer:
This article is not written by ACE NEWS GROUP. The original source of this post is an Anonymous writer affectionately known as the Penguin.

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Producing the Today programme


steviefm

Around this time last year I wrote an article about my then job, which was managing the social media and website for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Not long after publishing it, I was given the chance to to move off the online team and become a producer on the actual radio show. I thought now might be a good time to write an updated blog entry about what this job involves and give some examples of what I’ve been doing for the past year for anyone who might be interested in hearing more about the behind-the-scenes mechanics of the show.

mishal

First of all, just to quash from the gate any suspicion that I landed this dream job by being some kind of ruthlessly ambitious careerist, let me say that this is a role that I never envisioned myself doing. Not because I didn’t want to, quite the opposite, but because working for a programme…

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FEATURED APP SPOT: ‘ MY IDOL TURNS YOUR SELFIE’S INTO DIGITAL AVATARS BUT ONLY IN CHINESE AT PRESENT ‘


#AceSocialNews – Featured App:April.25: Every month or so, an app comes along that captures the imagination of the Internet. We saw it with Words with Friends, Draw Something and Flappy Bird, but nothing had caused quite as big a stir as any of those apps in a while.

At least, that was the case until everyone stumbled across the free Chinese app My Idol earlier this week.

DON’T MISS: 8 awesome paid iPhone apps on sale for free for a limited time

My Idol is an app that turns your selfies into digital avatars — avatars which you can dress up and force to perform a variety of strange tasks. The most common (and most eerie) is, of course, the pole dance, which is probably what you’ve seen all over your Twitter feed for the past few hours. You can also stick them on motorcycles, make them sing or have them lift weights.

The app is available on the U.S. App Store, but it’s entirely in Chinese. The developer is working as quickly as possible to bring an English-language version of the app to market (before the viral hit inevitably fades away), but in the meantime, this “guide for non-Chinese users” should tell you everything you need to know to get started.

Once you’ve got an idea of how to work the app, you can create something as horrific as this:

My Idol

Download My Idol on the App Store


Disclaimer:
This article is not written by ACE NEWS GROUP. The original source of this article can be found here:

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FOIA: ‘ FILED OVER 2012 GOOGLE ANTI-TRUST INVESTIGATION ‘


#AceNewsDesk – Featured Report:USA:April.21: EPIC has filed a FOIA request with the Federal Trade Commission, seeking the two reports prepared by agency staff during the 2012 Google antitrust investigation.

The Wall Street Journal has obtained a report revealing that the Commission ignored recommendations to reform Google’s anti-competitive practices.

According to the newspaper, the agency’s […]

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We’ll Be Counting Scars


Donna. Really great writing hope you get your hero – nice people need their protector when going gets tough.
You are a hero of social media to me as your writing inspires and always makes me smile. Ian

yadadarcyyada

1funny148

Doesn’t age have any advantages? I still don’t sleep well. Stars glistening, moon beaming, I think of bills, appointments, problems… I make lists, read, try to write (curse your inevitable betrayal writer’s block), and tried to simultaneously organize and turn off my thoughts.

It gives too much time for reflection. I ponder if my life would be easier if I had a hero. He can’t be just any hero; the term so loosely used nowadays. He’s gotta be strong…he’s gotta be sure… and he’s gotta be larger than life….my exhausted brain sighed, you’re just tossing and turning, with that Bonnie Tylersong in your head. I think of heroes as I slip into the arms of the sandman.

1hero18As a teen, I was a soap opera junkie. I couldn’t get enough of the endless tangled story lines, because like sands through the hourglass, so was that phase of my life.

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TWITTER: ‘ NOW ALLOWING USERS TO RECEIVE DM’S FROM ANY USER ‘


AceNewsDesk – April.20: Twitter responds to harassment questions “Communicating with people you may or may not know in real life just got easier,” says Twitter Senior Software Engineer Nhu Vuong in a blog post announcing a change to Twitter’s direct messaging system. The new feature gives users the ability to receive messages whether the user follows them or not. Vuong used an example of an ice cream shop and a fan to show what’s changed:

https://twitter.com/MIRASLOW/status/590248133239574528

“Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first. With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.”

Twitter says the change also tweaks messaging rules “so you can reply to anyone who sends you a Direct Message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you” and adds a new direct-messaging button on profile pages for Android and iPhone. The feature is not automatically enabled; users will have to opt in.

Mashable reports this is just the latest attempt from Twitter to boost user engagement.

“In January, for example, it introduced group direct messages, as well as the ability to share and edit video inside Twitter. And earlier in April, it officially revamped its retweet feature, making it easier for users to plug other people’s tweets and add their own comments.”

But several Twitter users are saying that the change will lead to more online harassment.

We reached out to Twitter with questions about the new policy and how it might affect online harassment. It sent along the following statement via email:

“The changes are intended to make conversation easier, not invite spam. We’ve given the user multiple opportunities to control who messages them.

“The setting that allows users to accept Direct Messages from anyone is optional, users do not have to opt-in to receive direct messages from everyone. Additionally users can turn this setting on and off at their leisure.

“Should a user receive a direct message from someone they do not wish to speak with privately, deleting the message will give the user to end the conversation or delete the message. Ending the conversation prevents the initiator from contacting you in the future. Deleting the message removes the conversation from your inbox. And users cannot be contacted by accounts they have blocked.

“Users have always been able to send direct messages to their followers. What’s new today is that the followers can respond, without first having their follow reciprocated by the person who initiated the conversation.”

Twitter already has an existing protocol to handle abuse on Twitter, and we’ve previously reported on ways Twitter has recently upped its response to online harassment.

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COMPANY DNA: ‘ WHAT IS IN A NAME YOU MIGHT SAY WELL WHEN YOUR APPLE EVERYTHING ‘


#AceNewsDesk – Guest Post:April.18: There is something terribly wrong with the consumer electronics industry because we never have a product category – real category – until Apple comes on the scene. Then everyone jumps in to praise, beat up on the product and tell us all the things that are right/wrong and how someone else (who sues/supplies them) is going to be so much better. The problem is few companies understand, focus on who they are so the consumer has a single point of reference. Don’t give me logic, people identity with the company. Like it or hate it, you buy or reject the company not the new announcement. If you don’t have that foundation you’re buying from whatstheirname. Focus folks. Focus

Of course if you want to share this with others, GREAT!!!

Understand Who You Are, Not Just What You Make

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“ Oh, obviously! The moment I sat down I thought I was looking into a mirror.” – Vincent Benedict, “Twins,” Universal Pictures, 1988

A while back, I said I wouldn’t want to be Tim Cook and take the helm of Apple. You know, all the comparisons and second guessing.

I was wrong!

The way the industry is going, I wouldn’t want to head up any company that makes stuff that competes with Apple’s stuff.

People scream/brag about their Apple-like whatever.

Companies allow Everyone to compare you with what Apple did:

– It’s better, worse, not as good as, not sold like Apple’s thingie

– It doesn’t have the features, has too many

– Your price is too high, profits too low

– Your roll-out was too dull, too expensive, too low key, too…

Engineering and marketing folks spend way too much time thinking about Apple, what they’re doing/going to do instead of thinking about what their company is doing/going to do!

That’s called following!

So far this year, we’ve had CES (Consumer Electronics Show), MWC (Mobile World Congress), GDC (Game Developer Conference), Geneva Auto Show and NAB (National Association of Broadcasters).

Apple didn’t exhibit at any of them.

Still, companies, analysts, the media:

– Talk about what they’re doing, not doing, when they’re going to do it, how they’re going to do it

– Compare whatever is being done, being displayed with Apple’s whatever

– Discuss how their product enhances, disrupts your use/your Apple-based life

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Who You Are – Companies spend so much time, effort and money focusing on the next new product and moving to the next great idea. They forget that consumers are people; and even in our digital world, they like to/want to/need to identify with people. Companies that understand their DNA – where they’re from and what they stand for – give customers (B2B, B2C) a foundation for a relationship.

Apple gets all of the free attention, coverage.

Everyone else pays for it!

Apple – and a few other firms – focus on their DNA – who they are, where they came from, where they are going, how they’re going to get there – so everyone can wrap their head around the company and their products.

Every day, they come to work determined to be different things to different people.

If the company doesn’t understand its DNA, then how can anyone else?

Why should people – customers, partners, shareholders – care, why should they bother?

Apple products do pretty well in their major product categories – computers, tablets, smartphones, wearables – and they are slowly broadening what they are going to be when they grow up.

But the real marketshare leader is Other.

Ironic isn’t it, no one compares their new stuff to or pays attention to Other?

They get no attention because they put together new images of themselves with each new CEO, CMO, team, agency, product, season.

Except for a brief interruption, Apple’s focus has been on developing, tweaking, refining, improving Macs, iEverythings, Apple Thingies!

Yes, they’re shifting and broadening, but they base their new strategies on their DNA.

Or, as Julius Benedict put it, “The second rule in the crisis situation.”

A DNA focus is what:

– Gets the people up in the morning

– Stimulates them to design/develop/deliver things that work (for the most part)

– Encourages the seven billion plus people on the planet to lust for, hate, want to have a piece of, want to beat them and their shared vision

Followers change clothes and … follow.

Folks point out that computers are dying, tablets are fading, smartphones are reaching saturation, and wearables are stumbling.

The only thing to do is something new!

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Timing is Off – Marketers tend to forget that there is a huge difference in time between Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm (top) and Gartner’s hype cycle. Marketing and other promotion folks “lose interest” in products once they’ve peaked on the cycle; but that’s just when consumers are beginning to buy the products, services, technology. Consumer aren’t dumb, they just likes to get the maximum from their purchases.

But there’s a huge difference between innovation adoption and hype cycles.

Perhaps that’s why Apple has $178B sitting in cash!

Most consumers – professionals and digital natives – buy new solutions more slowly and tend to use them longer than most companies would like.

Most people buy products/solutions that meet their needs longer than the next SKU (stock keeping unit) refresh.

And surprise!

They usually make their decisions based on WOM (word of mouth) recommendations.

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Multiple Devices, Uses – While multi-usage devices are introduced, people continue to use computers, smartphones, tablets and soon wearables for different tasks. Consumers understand the reasons for buying a Swiss knife communications tool but even digital natives have different devices they carry with them and use.

And they use multiple devices.

People still purchase computers because they’re the preferred device for many applications. Which may be why Macs enjoyed a 30 percent sales increase?

People just don’t replace computers today, so overall sales are off. Instead, they make modest investments to improve their systems – adding memory, moving up to SSD, getting cases/covers – and extend the life/performance.

The rest of their device budget first went for a sleek, multipurpose smartphone. The small screened wonder was going to cannibalize larger device sales.

However many experts feel Mac sales grew because of consumers’ experience with their iPhones. People liked the phone and the way it just worked (for the most part).

They liked the DNA behind the device so when they wanted to replace their aging computer or wanted to use a sleek tablet for video games, movies and work; they turned to the people who promised cross-device continuity.

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Positioned Leaders – Every organization today is focused on delivering the next great thing in mobile communications, doing it their way to set themselves apart from the competition. Only a few are well positioned to handle the future.

After all, WOM informed them that Apple was one of the leaders in the 4th generation mobile wave.

Strategy Analytics noted that Apple OS tablets have slipped to 15M units last year, compared to 35M Android-based tablets.

What they don’t point out is:

– There are maybe 100 different Android tablet manufacturers and most folks can only name one or two

– They aren’t really Android tablets, they’re Samsung, Amazon, Asus, Lenovo, whomever tablets

– The same apps are available on both libraries but most of the action is on the iPad, according to eMarketer

At MWC, everyone was out to do in the iPhone with a better smartphone … thinner, more curved, tougher, more open/closed, cheaper.

Julius Benedict looked at them all and said, “If you’re lying to me, I’ll be back!”

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The Killer Device – While the iPhone is the smartphone leader in terms of image, it isn’t the leader in total unit sales. Still, all of the folks who displayed at MWC focused their attention on being the iPhone killer rather than on what made them special and unique in the mobile device category.

Still, according to Gartner, Apple sold nearly 75M units in the 4th quarter while Samsung sold about 73M with a lower profit margin.

But the big gorilla in the room is China Mobile.

They have the inside track to 1B plus people who may lust for products with Apple’s DNA but have to settle for a Xiaomi, Huawei or any of the cheap knock-off no names.

Now we’re entering the next phase, wearables.

People are trying real hard to figure out (justify) why they need something like a 10 grand Apple watch. But watches are just show ‘n tell bling, the opening salvo.

Wearables will open up new opportunities in fitness/healthcare, glass/goggle, gaming, clothing, payments, implants and apps by the gazillion.

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Beginning of IoT – Wearables are on the leading edge of the hype cycle, promising the best of all worlds. However, the category isn’t just one market, it’s multiple markets focused on applications and user commitments – clothing, eyewear, modular, wristwear, healthcare, financial, general business and more. It will take hundreds of false starts until firms begin having their devices work with other devices/systems before the market will grow and mature.

It’s an opportunity for firm(s) to come to grips with their DNA and make the IoT (Internet of Things) and IoE (Internet of Everything) not just another new product/service but their foundation, their path to tomorrow.

This will be the challenge for Apple’s DNA because they have to show that they believe in the broader world of products, applications, devices and things.

Their fantastic walled garden will have to bring others in.

They may already be moving in that direction:

– The enterprise relationship with IBM is bending the rules to put devices and apps into businesses around the globe

– They are allowing people other than uses to work with, test a pre-release version of their OS

– They are working with healthcare agencies, governments, majap (major appliance), card firms, banks, transportation firms, others to develop safe, secure solutions for their needs that work with other solutions

Yes, there are some very good “others” that speak from/stay focused on their DNA every day, rather than focusing on how their thing is better than the other guy’s/gal’s thing.

As Julius Benedict said, “If you choose to bluff, you must be prepared to have your bluff called.”

Following the lead/steps of another company won’t produce a perfect clone.

Instead, as Vincent Benedict said, “Instead of just one perfect kid, Mom had the two of us.”

twins8.jpg

What’s your company’s DNA?

Now I’ve got to pull together my analysis of NAB. And if you want a storage view of M&E catch the one-day Creative .Storage Conference June 30 in Culver City. All the details are here http://www.creativestorage.org/ and don’t forget to tell your friends (and others). – A


Disclaimer:
This article is not written by ACE NEWS GROUP. The original source of this article is guest anonymous.

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COMMUNITY CHOICE PROJECT: ‘ SIMUTRANS A CROSS-PLATFORM SIMULATION GAME ‘


#AceSocialNews – April.17: For our April "Community Choice" Project of the Month the community elected Simutrans, a cross-platform simulation game. In Simutrans, you control a transport company and satisfy demands for transport from cities and factories. Simutrans is very flexible and can be customized with different graphics and varying levels of economic challenges.

Because Simutrans uses isometric sprites, it is very easy to have your favorite item running in a simulation. Simutrans is focused on performance but with as much flexibility or "configurability" as possible. Download Simutrans now.

Related Projects

BRUSSELS: ‘ EU COMPETITION CHIEF ACCUSES GOOGLE OF ABUSING INTERNET SEARCH DOMINANCE ‘


#AceSocialNews – BRUSSELS:April.16: The European Union’s competition chief is filing an antitrust complaint alleging Google has been abusing its dominance in Internet searches and is opening a probe into its Android mobile system.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday she is "concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service."

Vestager said the separate antitrust probe into Android will investigate whether the Internet giant relies on anti-competitive deals and abuses its dominant position in Europe’s mobile market.

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