Wall Street Journal

Google’s Tough European Summer: Android and Online Search Probes

European Union regulators are poised to unleash a formal investigation into Android, Google’s operating system for mobile devices, on the back of concerns that it is promoting its own services such as maps and applications and shutting out rivals.

Companies recently received questionnaires requesting proof of “any written or unwritten” dealings showing that Google imposed “exclusivity” requirements on mobile-phone makers and network operators. In particular, regulators are asking for evidence of Google demanding that mobile devices shouldn’t be pre-installed with any application, service or product that compete with its own Android products.

Fear and Loathing Over Russia’s Anonymous Wi-Fi Ban

Russia ordered users of public Wi-Fi networks to identify themselves in order to access the Internet, causing confusion among officials and providers and alarming users already worried by growing state control over the web.

While some European countries have similar requirements, civil-rights advocates say its application in Russia is more worrisome. Russian officials denied the move is aimed at controlling users.

The Russian Communications Ministry issued a statement trying to reassure users that they won’t need to show their passports to get online. But it didn’t specify what constitutes a public place -- something the regulations didn’t clarify -- and a ministry spokesman said the matter need to be looked into carefully by lawyers.

T-Mobile US Rejects Iliad's Request For Information

Apparently, T-Mobile US denied Iliad’s request for access to the US telecommunications provider's books after determining that the French company's proposed $15 billion bid wasn't strong enough.

Sprint Abandoning Pursuit of T-Mobile

Apparently, Sprint is ending its pursuit of T-Mobile US. Sprint and its parent, SoftBank, decided it would be too difficult to win approval from regulators.

Sprint is also expected to replace its chief executive, Dan Hesse.

Sprint's decision didn't have anything to do with the surprise bid for T-Mobile by France's Iliad. Rather, the US regulatory hurdles were the key.

What You Can Do About Facebook Tracking

Here are four cold, hard realities of Facebook's privacy policies -- and what you can do about them right now:

  1. You can't stop receiving ads on Facebook -- but you can keep Facebook from aiming specific ad topics at you.
  2. As long as your browser keeps cookies, you can't stop Facebook from tracking you according to age, gender and where you live. But you can stop it and other companies from using that information to deliver ads.
  3. You can stop Facebook from knowing your phone's location and limit it from using other information to target ads.
  4. Unfortunately, all of these rules could change later.

AT&T, Verizon Lead Wireless Industry’s TV Spending

The wireless industry is an aggressive marketing category and has spent $1.77 billion on national TV advertising through the first half of the year, much of it on broadcast television, according to data from research firm iSpot.

While wireless industry’s top two commercial advertising spenders -- AT&T T and Verizon -- spent similar amounts on broadcast television spots through the end of June, they allocated that spending among networks differently. AT&T, the wireless brand that has spent the most on TV commercials so far in 2014, has spent $480.2 million on TV ad placements through June 30, according to iSpot.

Meanwhile, Verizon has spent $408.5 million on TV ad placements through June 30, concentrating its commercial spending on Fox, NBC and ABC.

$3 a Month? The Discount Magic of Iliad, French Bidder for T-Mobile

France’s Iliad which runs mobile carrier Free Mobile, has been operating in the French mobile market since early 2012, and had taken a 12% share of the market by last December.

Its launch sparked a price war in France, with the company offering cut-price plans for as little as €2 ($2.68) a month. The company’s founder is a price cutter at heart–a good match for T-Mobile’s current approach to shaking up the U.S. market.

France to Probe Mobile Upstart

The French government asked the country's antitrust authority to study whether Iliad, France's new cut-rate mobile-phone operator, is benefiting from a sweetheart roaming agreement, potentially giving ammunition to incumbent companies that have argued the deal is forcing them to cut jobs.

France's independent competition watchdog said that it will give an opinion by the end of February on whether Iliad's Free Mobile, France's fourth mobile-phone operator, would gain a "lasting advantage" over competitors if it extends its roaming agreement with partly state-owned France Télécom SA, the country's largest mobile-phone operator by subscribers.

The government also asked the authority to weigh in on whether France's mobile operators can pool resources to roll out shared wireless networks in rural areas, as well as whether the operators can share wireless networks in urban areas "without harming competition, jobs and investment."

Smartphones Become Next Frontier in Cybersecurity

There is a new frontier in cybersecurity: The computers masquerading as phones in consumers' pockets. Smartphones are constantly connected to the Internet, infrequently updated and are challenging to secure. They're rich targets, recording pictures, names of associates and conversations.

France's Iliad Makes Bid for T-Mobile US

French upstart telecommunications company Iliad has made an offer for T-Mobile US in a bold bid to counter by Sprint for the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the US. Iliad announced that it offered $15 billion in cash for 56.6% of T-Mobile US at $33 a share.

Iliad said its offer for T-Mobile US, which is majority-owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, "should not raise any antitrust issue in light of the competition rules given that Iliad is not present in the United States."