EU may force Apple to open contactless payment tech to rival services

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Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
At least, if the European Union laws are as expected.
Photo: Square

Apple Pay may wind up being just one of several mobile payments services available on the iPhone if the European Union gets its way, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The report claims that the EU is weighing up new rules that would compel companies like Apple to open up the NFC (Near Field Communication) tech in its smartphones and watches to rival players. That could mean that Apple Pay isn’t the only option for customers who want to pay for products with their Apple device.

Secure messaging app Telegram files antitrust complaint against Apple in EU

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Telegram adds its voice to the chorus of developers complaining about Apple.
Photo: Telegram

Popular secure messaging app Telegram filed a formal antitrust complaint with the European Union over App Store practices, the Financial Times reports.

In a complaint addressed to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, Telegram’s creators argue that Apple must “allow users to have the opportunity of downloading software outside of the App Store.”

Apple wins appeal against its enormous $14.8 billion European tax bill

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iPhone with gavel.
Decision went in the favor of Apple and Ireland.
Photo: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Cult of Mac

In something of a surprise outcome, Apple and Ireland have won their appeal against a European tax bill order which fined Apple $14.8 billion.

The European Commission ordered Apple pay the enormous sum in August 2016. According to the EU, Apple paid a tax rate as low as 0.005% of its European profits in 2014. This was supposedly part of a “sweetheart” deal it received in Ireland.

European Union will rule on Apple’s $16 billion tax case next week

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International governments plan to rethink tax rules for the ‘digital age’
Apple has been disputing the fine since the moment it was levied.
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels CC

The second-highest court in the European Union will make a ruling next week regarding Apple and Ireland’s appeal of a $16 billion fine in back taxes for Apple.

The European Commission ordered Apple pay the sum in August 2016. This was based on a so-called sweetheart deal under which Apple allegedly received favorable tax rates in Ireland.

Apple’s $15 billion in back taxes won’t help Ireland during COVID-19

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International governments plan to rethink tax rules for the ‘digital age’
The cash is right there -- but not for the taking.
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels CC

Ireland is not allowed to use the 14 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in disputed back taxes it collected from Apple to help boost its economy during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday, the leader of the opposition Sinn Féin party, Mary Lou McDonald, said the Irish government could “right this minute” reach into the escrow account where the funds are held and use them to help workers. However, Taoiseach politician Leo Varadkar says that simply isn’t the case.

Disney+ will launch with reduced video quality in Europe, delayed 2 weeks in France

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Coming to Europe this week. France a bit later!
Photo: The Walt Disney Company

Disney has delayed the launch of its Disney+ streaming service by two weeks in France. This is as a result of a request by the French government.

Disney has also agreed to a European Union request for streaming video providers to scale back streaming quality by “at least” 25%. This is to “ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure” at a time when the internet faces the strain of more heavy traffic while people are stuck home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Apple TV+ cuts streaming quality in Europe to lower stress on internet

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Apple TV app Samsung
Apple appears to have heeded the E.U. request to lower quality of its Apple TV+ service to reduce the strain on the internet.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Following a request to streaming services to switch from high definition to standard in an effort to reduce the strain on the internet, indications were Friday that Apple has followed suit of other major services and slowed down its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Cult of Mac has confirmed through two Apple TV users – one in Great Britain and one in southern France – that the quality of content on Apple TV+ has been lowered. Subscribers described the differences as primarily fast-moving content that is slower to refresh, heavily compressed and more pixelated.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Video follow Netflix in throttling video quality throughout Europe [Update]

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YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
Image: Brad Gibson/Cult of Mac

YouTube and Amazon Prime Video confirmed Friday they will will start throttling video quality in Europe in an effort to reduce the strain on network infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary measure will see all YouTube videos displayed in standard definition by default, though, it is still be possible for viewers to select a higher resolution.

Netflix reduces streaming bit rates in Europe to fight internet congestion

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netflix.logo
Netflix is making some big changes to help lessen the impact of COVID-19 on networks.
Photo: Brad Gibson / Cult of Mac

Quarantine and chill is about to get a noticeable quality drop for Netflix users in Europe.

Netflix announced Thursday it would begin to reduce bit rates on all streams in Europe starting today. The move came shortly Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called a European Union official to discuss how to stop the internet from getting congested as more people are being told to work from home.