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EU regulators expected to fine Google $5 billion

European Union regulators have slapped Alphabet-owned Google with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, which is by far the most popular smartphone OS in the world.

Google said in a statement that it would appeal the ruling, arguing against the EU’s view that its software is restrictive of fair competition.

European officials say Google’s parent company has unfairly favored its own services by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google apps Chrome and Search in a bundle with its app store, Play. It also said Google violated competition rules by paying phone makers to exclusively pre-install Google search on their devices and preventing them from selling phones that run other modified, or “forked,” versions of Android.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, ordered the company to put an end to illegal conduct within 90 days, or else face additional charges of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide revenue. The EU fine is the largest ever issued to Google, which last year was served with a $2.7 billion penalty for favoring its shopping service over competitors.

In its decision, the EU pointed to Apple, Google’s fiercest competitor in the smartphone market, saying the smartphone maker did “not sufficiently constrain” Google. Apple also pre-installs a number of apps on its iPhone models.

The ruling was issued to protect European consumers, EU Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager told CNBC. “They have products that we all like and like to use,” she said. “The only thing we don’t like is when they get to misuse their success and put in place illegal restrictions.”

Following the fine, “the thing that Google has to do now is, of course, to stop,” Vestager said.

In a blog post, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, wrote that the commission ignored “the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones,” adding that the decision did not consider the choice Android offers to phone makers, mobile network operators, app developers and consumers.

He also defended the company’s app bundling, arguing it’s easy for users to install alternatives if they don’t want to use Google’s pre-installed options. The EU decision, he said, could “upset the careful balance” Google has with Android. The company lets phone makers use the open source software for free, but generates advertising revenue when consumers use its apps.

Google’s advertising business is growing much faster on mobile than desktop, and by bundling its apps together, Google has more real estate to sells its ads as well as more data about users for targeting those ads.

Alphabet shares were down less than 1 percent midmorning Wednesday amid news of the fine, which could have been as high as $11 billion, or 10 percent of Alphabet’s annual global revenue, according to EU regulation guidelines. The EU first opened its investigation into Android in 2015, two years after receiving a complaint from FairSearch, which, at the time, included the likes of Microsoft and Nokia.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaks during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, April 15, 2015.
Francois Lenoir | Reuters

In a news conference on Wednesday, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, reiterated the argument presented in the decision.

“Our decision stops Google from controlling which search and browser apps manufacturers can pre-install on Android devices or which Android operating system they can adopt,” she said.

The commission is still investigating a third antitrust case against Google’s search advertising service, AdSense.
I like - Comment - Share - Permalink - 3 February 15:08 - Public
Windows Loader is merely an activation tool that used to activate Windows 7 and all the other versions such as Home, Professional, E, etc. Team DAR is the most popular team in the field of developing such Oem7F6. They develop the best activation tools for you to activate Windows and activate Office.

Windows 7 Loader is the best activation tool to use as the Windows 7 activator. This makes you more comfortable to activate windows within your desktop without any disruptions.

Now, the Windows Loader is supported by the virtual machines also. If someone is using VMWare, Virtual box or any virtual machine software, then you can simply activate your Windows by using this tool.
Steps to Activate Windows 7 through Windows Loader
...

The following steps show you the path to activate any Windows version within your computer for free.
After the installation of Windows Loader, you can see its logo on the screen of the desktop.
Then, right-click on that icon and click on the Run as Administrator.
This will accompany you to a Windows Loader screen. Here, you should click on the Activate button.
After a few seconds, you will see the Green Dot there, which means that your Windows is activated now.
I like - Comment - Share - Permalink - 29 January 16:04 - Public
General profile updated
27 January 3:29 - Public
The lack of a permanent address hinders a person’s escape from homelessness.

Like so many things, those of us who have permanent addresses often take them for granted. We never realize how many doors they open for us or how many things just get done smoothly because we have them. Once you don’t have an address, then you begin to see the ways it is essential for daily living.

If you want to fill out a job application, you must put in your permanent address.

Registering to vote? Mailing address, please.

Applying for benefits or housing, receiving official communications, opening a bank account, replacing identification, registering the vehicle you live in, and 100 other different tasks that fall under the heading of “daily minutiae” for housed people can easily spiral out of control for homeless people if they don’t have a reliable place to receive their mail.

How do people without permanent addresses receive those things?

It’s not always easy, but there are ways for people who are homeless to receive their mail. And these services are essential.

Some Shelters

This isn’t something that all shelters offer, but some places still collect and distribute mail for their guests. If there’s a shelter someone regularly returns to, it makes sense for them to receive their mail there if possible.

Still, most homeless shelters aren’t likely to offer this service as they have a regular rotation of people staying each night. Long-term shelters or those that offer more personalized support are more likely to offer mail services. It just depends.

Even shelters that offer mail services have their limits. They may institute a maximum number of people they can receive mail for at one time. Or, more commonly they’ll have a maximum number of days mail will be held before being discarded. That number will likely depend on the volume of mail they’re receiving. And it could be anywhere from 7 to 30 days.

Churches

Some churches, generally larger ones, offer mail services to people without permanent addresses. These are often the same places that offer meal services. So, it may be convenient for people to pick up their mail at a place they already go regularly to eat, rather than having to go out of their way anytime they want to check their “mailbox.”

Like shelters, church mail programs will often have a maximum holding period. So those who use the service must always keep that deadline in mind and choose a place that’s easy to get to so any important mail is not missed.

PO Box

If it’s affordable enough, some people who are homeless do pay for a PO box, either permanently, temporarily, or intermittently when they need to receive something. If there aren’t any accessible places offering free mail services in the area, this may be the only option.

Of course, this method requires a bit of an investment. And to get the best rates, you must commit to a longer-term and pay the money upfront. This may or may not be an option depending on how much money you can scrape together at once.

Another wrinkle in the PO box plan is many post offices are completely booked up. They wouldn’t have a PO box to give you even if you could pay. While it might not be a problem for a housed person to drive to the post office in the next town over, that’s a big, exhausting trip for a person who’s homeless and relying on public transit or walking to get around.

An alternative to a PO box is to just have mail delivered to general delivery in the city you’re in. This can work well for transient people who are moving around a lot. But if you need to list a permanent address for a job application or government form, it may not be accepted. General delivery is only useful for homeless people in certain situations. More than likely they’ll need another type of service in addition to receive their really important mail.

Through Friends

Many people who find themselves homeless don’t have strong bonds with friends or family with permanent addresses. So, this route isn’t often taken, but it can work out sometimes.

If a homeless person knows someone with access to a permanent address that would be willing to receive their mail for them, they might come to an arrangement together. This person could be a friend or family member from before they were homeless. Or someone they met along the way, or someone who used to be homeless as well and has since found housing. It could even be the owner of a local business that the person frequents.

Whoever the person may be, if the two have a good rapport and trust, they may be willing to receive mail and make sure that it gets delivered to the proper person.

Mail Services Are Essential

Offering mail service is one of the simplest ways organizations can help homeless people. But it often goes overlooked. Given the relief it can provide people struggling to escape homelessness, the costs of running a mail service are negligible. This is especially true if you’re already running a meal service or shelter program.

Mail receiving services are inexpensive, unobtrusive, require very little dedicated time, and can be done just about anywhere by anyone. All you really need is a filing cabinet, a volunteer or two, and of course – a permanent address!
I like - Comment - Share - Permalink - 27 January 3:28 - Public
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