Tech News

Europe Attacks Google, Segway Moves to China, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 16-04-2015

Europe investigates Android, China buys Segway, Netflix exceeds expectations, GameStop craves classics, Amazon offers Orphan Black for free, and the best Craigslist ad of all time.


Google Faces Serious Questions

The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the European Union (EU), has formally lodged a complaint against Google over its business practices in Europe. The EC investigated Google for five years before reaching the conclusion that the company is engaged in anti-competitive behavior by abusing its dominant position in Web searches.

The main bone of contention is the way in which Google Shopping links are placed above other links when people search for products they’re interested in buying. The EC claims Google has “systematically” promoted its own ads, which may have “artificially boosted its presence in the comparison shopping market with the result that consumers may not necessarily see what’s most relevant for them.” Google has come out fighting, stating in a blog post that it “respectfully but strongly disagrees” with the accusations.

The EC has also launched a separate investigation into Android, which will examine whether a) Google incentivises manufacturers to install its apps, b) Google insists its services are bundled, and c) Google is hindering the development of competing forks of the mobile operating system. Google has preemptively defended Android, stating it’s looking forward to “discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead.” Months? Try years.

China Bags American Scooter Company

According to the Wall Street Journal [Paywall], Chinese company Ninebot has acquired Segway for an undisclosed sum of money, with Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital investing $80 million in the operation. Like Segway, Ninebot manufactures two-wheeled personal transportation vehicles, so it’s clearly sticking to what it already knows.

Ironically, Ninebot was one of several Chinese imitators Segway previously accused of infringing on its patents. Which may explain why Ninebot has decided now is the right time to buy the company. It’s not yet known how Chinese ownership will change the way Segway operates, if at all.


Segway started life in 2001 as one of a number of exciting, and much anticipated, possible future solutions to urban transport problems The Transportation Of Tomorrow: Awesome Inventions That May Transform How We Commute The course of human civilization has always been shaped by transportation. The transportation of tomorrow may not solve all these problems, but it may solve some – and it’s important to give the matter thought... Read More . But the epic plans for everybody to drive Segways in and around cities never came to fruition. Instead, the vehicle became known as a novelty.

The fact that the one-time owner of the business, Jimi Heselden, died by falling off a cliff while riding a Segway, really didn’t help its reputation. Which is a shame, because they’re actually a lot of fun if you can stay on them (see video embedded above).

Netflix Celebrates Streaming Success

Netflix The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix This guide offers everything you need to know about using Netflix. Whether you're a new subscriber or an established fan of the best streaming service out there. Read More has much to celebrate, with its financial results from the first quarter of 2015 suggesting everything is looking rosy. The number of subscribers is up by 4.9 million, which includes 2.6 million outside of the United States. Revenues stood at $1.57 billion, with earnings per share higher than expected at $0.77. The Netflix share price rose on the news.

The company’s CEO Reed Hastings used his quarterly letter [No Longer Available] to announce a couple of changes coming to the service. He said, “Over the next year we’ll evolve from using HTTP to using Secure HTTP (HTTPS) while browsing and viewing content on our service.” He also made a vague promise to overhaul the UI, suggesting these changes “will bring video playback forward into the browse experience.” And about time too.


GameStop Wants Your Classic Consoles

American video games retailer GameStop is (re)-entering the retro games market, with IGN reporting it will run a trial in New York City and Birmingham, Alabama. If successful, the program, which will include “games, systems and select accessories for most ‘retro’ platforms,” will be rolled out nationally later this year.

While you will be able to sell your retro gaming gear 8 Retro Gaming Gadgets For Geeks Retro games and the gadgets that go with them are just as likely to thrill and enthrall gamers as the latest Triple-AAA titles. Read More in your local GameStop, you won’t be able to walk in buy these retro consoles and games. Instead, they will all be sold online a couple of months after being bought, in a move likely to be all about maximizing profit. Because GameStop isn’t exactly known for being generous Trading In Your Video Games – Is It Really Worth It? Does trading in a game really make sense for you and your wallet? Or are you leaving money on the table by handing your used games over to a retailer? Read More .

Amazon Streams Orphan Black for Free

Assuming you have 10 hours to spare on Friday (April 17), you can watch every episode of Season 1 of Orphan Black thanks to Amazon. The online retailer is streaming the series for free 12:01 am to 11:59 pm (PDT) in order to promote Season 3, which is starting on BBC America this weekend.

Orphan Black is a rather strange mix of science fiction, drama, and comedy, which has built a cult following on both sides of the pond. It’s certainly worth watching for free, but you should probably read our short guide to binge-watching A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream. Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More in order to prepare beforehand.


The Best Craigslist Ad of All Time

And finally, Django Greenblatt-Seay has produced what may just be the best Craigslist Taking the Battle to Craigslist Scammers: How to Avoid Scams on Craigslist Launched way back in 1995, Craigslist took the Internet world by storm with its innovative cross of classified ads with the web. But as with all Internet-based transactions, some users prefer to game the system... Read More ad of all time. And it’s for nothing sexier than a used 2002 Ford Taurus. The ad, however, is pure sex on a stick. If such a thing exists.

Greenblatt-Seay is an Omaha-based videographer, which is how he managed to pull off such an accomplished ad. He also used a drone to film the car from above, and the audio from a 1987 commercial. And yet he still hasn’t received any serious offers. [H/T Fast Company]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is the European Union justified in investigating Google for its business practices? Will the Segway ever be anything more than a novelty? Can Netflix continue to expand exponentially?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.


Image Credit: Robert Scoble via Flickr

Related topics: Craigslist, Google, Netflix.

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  1. Steve
    April 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Google is pure evil. The real question is why are the Europeans the only ones questioning their tactics? The answer is we know that Google has been using the revolving door with most governments for years and so there is nobody really watching. Fortunately their tactics are not washing in Europe. The world of tech is already being put back light years by having such a big player. They're controlling everything pretty much.

  2. Robert B
    April 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    When I hear about the newest victim of the EU, I treat it the same as the ever increasing encounters that I have the miss fortune of encounting which is the dreaded internet TROLL! I gess that Microsoft bashing is not the in thing at this point so a new candidate needed to be found. Come on EU you have got to be kidding, no one is forcing anyone to use anything that Google has. Unlike Microsofts position they are not a monopoly when it comes to search, internet services, or even mobile devices, no one is forced to use or buy any of them so why don't you wake up and smell the S#*^ you are shovelling. You act just like some 12 year old, instead of publicly calling someone (or company) names which is counter productive you should instead if you are genuinly concerned about the anti consumer policies of most companies and governments (how about the US gov't) do and instead pass some meaningful laws to either out right make the worse of the practices illegal and for the rest some strong clearly worded regulations as to what is allowed and just how far a company can go. Companies are buisnesses you know, they have a responiblilty to thier stock holders to whats that evil word oh yes make MONEY they are not charities. So regardless of where they are located in the world they inherently are there to take advantage of the following, thier customers, next their competetors, and then the laws and regulations that have been passed that try and keep them in check. So if you are a governmental body that is truly there for its people and not corrupt like all other governmets on the planet then great, all the power to you but I suspect that you are just as tainted as the US government when it comes to back room dealing and taking under the table payments from various companies so that they are then the favored one of the day. So who is contributing to your well being? perhaps it is Microsoft or someother company that has a proven history of being utterly impotent when it comes to search and the mobile arena. I doubt very strongly that you are currently singling out Google because of your good intentions for what is best for your people.

  3. A41202813GMAIL
    April 17, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I Am In The Lower Left Corner Of EUROPE.

    This War Is Stupid And GOOGLE Are Not Defending Themselves Properly.

    I Want To Use GOOGLE.COM, Not GOOGLE.PT, But To Make That Change There Is Always A Silly Music Chairs Dance, Before I Can Use What I Want, Every Single Time In The Recent Months.

    Remember The Right To Be Forgotten ?

    Give In To Stupid eu Whining Excuses And You Are Screwed Forever.

    GOOGLE Should Make eu Countries Suffer A Blackout Of All Their Services, A Single Random Day Every Single Week, And We Will See Who Needs Who The Most - WIKIPEDIA Did Something Like That Years Ago To ITALY.


  4. Alan Trinder
    April 17, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Segway moves to China. The first of many I feel and never to return. Why? Most Asian countries support their industries by protectionist laws making it impossible for foreigners to buy majority stakes in the company. Who will be next?

  5. Noel
    April 17, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Android is a rip off YOU ARE FORCED to leave what sky ware and other tracking software in that Google what to use to spy on you to it best financial interest to exploit. What is any forced to have a Google gmail account to use and android device? I have PAID TO OWN THAT DEVICE! I don't have to have a gigabyte email account to use their mother boards or a Microsoft email account to use windows OS so why is everyone forced to have a gmail account to use a android device?? Can you imagine the uproar if window made everyone leave in a massive amount of new tracking and spyware while forcing it to be linked to a Microsoft email account to use windows10 so it could use it for it best financial gain??? same thing!! Really thing about it....

    • Coldfire001
      April 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      You are "forced" to input a gmail account because you want to use Google Play Store. There are other stores which require nothing of the sort. Of course you run the risk of installing malware, spyware, trojans, keyloggers among other things. It is still a risk with Google albeit smaller and I am willing to pay that "forced" cost to cover my ass.

    • Robert B
      April 17, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      If you hate your Android phone that much you should have bought and iPhone!

  6. Scutterman
    April 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I can't see how Google is being anti-competitive. There are other search engines, and consumers can choose the one with the most relevant results to them. If they wasn't happy with the pages or adverts they were getting from Google, they would use Bing, or DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo, etc.

    It's the same with the Android complaint. Companies are happy to abide by Google's rules in order to use the FREE operating system that Google provides. They have the technology to create their own mobile OS, and they have in the past, so they obviously see greater advantages to using Android than not.