EU

Apple Maps launches Traffic data in Greece

Real-time updates about vehicular traffic on Apple Maps have expanded to include Greece, home to population of eleven million people, according to an update posted on Apple’s iOS Feature Availability webpage. The latest expansion comes hot on the heels of launching public transit directions on Maps in Prague earlier in the week.

Traffic data on Apple Maps is currently available in about three dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark and more.

EU rules e-books can’t be subject to lower taxes

The top court of the European Union has determined that e-books shouldn’t be treated like their printed counterparts when it comes to taxes and therefore should be subject to higher tax rates, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“But the European Commission signaled it may change the rules next year to allow for equal taxation of books in any form,” reads the report.

Apple institutes app price hikes in Europe, Canada and Russia as iPhones get more expensive in Brazil

As reported by AppleInsider, Apple has raised minimum prices of iPhone and iPad applications in the App Store in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway and in the European Union.

As a result of the changes, customers in Canada will now see a minimum app price raised from $0.99 (USD$0.83) to $1.19 (USD$1.01). In the United Kingdom, the new minimum tier has gone up from £0.69 ($1.04) to £0.79 ($1.19) and €0.99 ($1.17) in the European Union, up from €0.89 ($1.05) before.

In addition, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets Apple sells in Brazil saw their prices skyrocketing by an average of 10 percent due to the steady devaluation of the country’s currency, real.

Apple’s Irish tax woes deepen as European watchdog finds ‘illegal state aid’ unacceptable

The European Commission publicized its ruling that Apple benefited from a favorable Irish tax rate, arguing that Apple’s funneling of revenues and earnings to Ireland, where the Cupertino firm cut a favorable tax deal with the Irish government in the late 1980s and early 1990s, constitutes illegal state aid, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Responding to these accusations, Apple issued a written statement denying it’s received preferential treatment from the government of Ireland. Apple is urging the need for corporate tax reform, insisting its tax arrangements in Ireland are perfectly legal.

This is what new ‘EU Internet’ switch in iOS 8 Beta 4 does for you

The most recent beta of iOS 8 has introduced an easily overlooked new option under the Cellular section of the iOS Settings app. It’s called ‘EU Internet,’ applies only to those traveling in the European Union and is a bit puzzling.

As a quick recap, exorbitant roaming charges for data downloads in the European Union have already been reduced in an effort to make prices more realistic for those using mobile devices outside their home country.

That’s just the beginning as the European parliament recently passed a new regulation, currently needing an approval by the Council of the European Union, that promises to render all roaming charges in the EU illegal by December 2015.

As a result, European customers will always pay the same price for all phone calls, text messages and mobile data usage everywhere in the EU…

European Commission green-lights Apple’s $3B Beats buy

The European Commission has okayed Apple’s purchase of the Beats Music streaming-music service and Beats Electronics’ premium headphone business, concluding that the agreement would not be detrimental to consumers across Europe. This is an important though expected development as Apple hopes to complete the $3 billion transaction by the end of the September quarter, pending regulatory approval in the United States…

EU officials upset as Apple remains mum on proposed IAP policy changes

In-App Purchase, a way overused feature which provides a way for supposedly free games and apps to ask users for cash in order to enable advanced features or unlock virtual items, is increasingly drawing ire of regulators across the globe.

In-App Purchases are notorious for fooling less-informed adults and kids into downloading so-called freemium apps so it’s no wonder the European Union officials have repeatedly warned that companies like Apple and Google should stop labeling free-to-download apps that contain In-App Purchases as “Free”.

Companies could soon be forced to make the “true cost of apps” unambiguously clear before purchase, according to a complaint the European Commission filed today…

Belgian judge threatened to block Apple websites over EU warranty shenanigans

For quite some time now, Apple has been at odds with EU watchdogs who’ve been complaining a lot about the iPhone maker’s unacceptable stance and practices when it comes to educating EU buyers on their consumer rights.

At the heart of the issue: Apple’s unwillingness to explain to its users in an unambiguous manner that EU consumer laws entitle them to at least two years of coverage on consumer electronics.

As Apple’s standard warranty provides twelve months of coverage, the company was caught cunningly beating around the bush by attempting to upsell buyers to its pricey AppleCare+ extended protection plan, which it introduced last September in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and elsewhere in Europe.

Apple was even fined over this in Italy and now comes word that a Belgium judge has contemplated blocking access to all Apple websites in the country because the company has continued to mislead consumers about warranty protections available for products purchased from its brick-and-mortar and online stores…

EU demanding ‘concrete answers’ from Apple and Google regarding in-app purchasing concerns

Reuters is reporting that The European Commission has invited Apple and Google to discuss a flurry of user complaints surrounding in-app purchases. The move follows numerous media reports that center on disgruntled parents who were shocked to find that their children racked up vast credit card bills by making content purchases in free-to-play games.

The Commission is arguing that it’s Apple’s and Google’s responsibility not to misleading consumers. The Commission also called upon greedy app creators to provide “very concrete answers” in respect to in-app purchasing concerns…

Apple, Samsung and others demand patent trolling protection from EU judges

After asking the United States Supreme Court to approve of stiffer penalties for patent trolls who bring frivolous lawsuits against them, Apple and Samsung – along with seventeen other technology companies – have joined forces and issued a letter to the European Union asking for limits on injunctions in patent infringement cases.

As reported by Bloomberg, the companies are asking EU judges to curb patent trolls and introduce anti-trolling changes into Unified Patent Court and the upcoming European Unitary Patent system…

EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug

EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines…

Apple and fellow tech titans expand fight against patent trolls to EU

Apple and more than a dozen other titans of technology have written to European Union officials, expressing concern that a unified patent court system could encourage patent trolls to expand their lawsuits overseas.

New rules now being developed could create “significant opportunities for abuse” allowing patent owners to “extract substantial royalties,” according to the letter obtained by the New York Times.

Starting in 2015 trolls could take infringement cases to non-member countries or nations without much experience, creating a European version of the Eastern District of Texas. Courts in that U.S. district are notorious for rulings favorable to companies suing tech firms, according to the letter…