Eurobites: Brussels Goes In Hard on Google

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ronan Dunne to leave O2 at end of month; KPN tests vectoring; Finland's Elisa edges up in second quarter.

  • The European Commission has stepped up its investigation of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), sending two new Statements of Objections to the search giant relating to its comparison-shopping and advertising-related practices, which the Commission alleges breach European Union rules. The Commission claims it has uncovered more evidence that reinforces its initial view that Google abuses its dominant position in search by favoring its own comparison-shopping service. On the advertising side, the Commission takes issue with Google's "AdSense for Search" contracts with third-party websites, some of which forbid those websites taking adverts from other providers. The case, as they say, continues. (See Euronews: EU Probes Google's Android Deals.)

  • Telefónica UK Ltd. , which trades as O2, is to have a new man at the helm. Mark Evans, currently chief financial officer at the mobile operator, is to take over as CEO from Ronan Dunne on August 1. Dunne has been in the hotseat since January 2008, and he first indicated that he intended to step down last September. Dunne had been exploring various options for the UK business, including a possible management buyout of the operator, following the collapse of O2's proposed merger with Three UK . (See Eurobites: O2 CEO Explores Management Buyout.)

  • Meanwhile, back in Telefónica 's Spanish heartland, the operator has signed an alliance with la Caixa bank to promote equal opportunities through the provision of quality and equitable education based on the use of digital tools in developing countries. The ProFuture Project, as the initiative is called, will build on an initial pilot project that has already been introduced in Angola.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) is to start testing the Vplus vectoring technology in Haarlem and Rotterdam, reports Telecompaper (subscription required). The operator is hoping that download speeds of up to 400 Mbit/s will be squeezed out of its copper lines through the use of Vplus.

  • Finnish operator Elisa Corp. saw revenue edge up to €393 million in the second quarter, from €390 million (US$434 million) in the year-ago period, while EBITDA rose €3 million year-on-year to €134 million ($149 million). While Elisa's mobile subscriptions increased by 6,600 during the quarter, it's a different story on the fixed broadband front, where customers slumped by 4,200 on the previous quarter.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has teamed up with SIA to launch the point-of-sale MultiPay network in more than 2,200 retail outlets, which allows the operator's prepaid mobile customers to set up direct debits for Telecom Italia services and offers using their bank or post office current account.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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