Mark Sweney
Mark Sweney
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UK competition watchdog warns big tech firms of investigations

UK competition watchdog warns big tech firms of investigations

Companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple face increased scrutiny from CMAMon 22 Feb 2021 06.30 ESTLast modified on Mon 22 Feb 2021 13.48 ESTThe UK’s competition watchdog plans to launch a series of antitrust investigations into big tech companies including Google and this year, in the latest sign of increased scrutiny of the practices of the Silicon Valley companies.The Competition and Markets Authority will later this year become home to a which will police the internet companies and have powers to impose fines of billions of pounds.“Until we have these new legal powers, if we...

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Mark Sweney
2d ago
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O2 fined £10.5m for customer overcharging over almost a decade

O2 fined £10.5m for customer overcharging over almost a decade

Ofcom finds error meant 140,000 departing customers paid £2.4m more than they should haveFri 12 Feb 2021 06.03 ESTLast modified on Fri 12 Feb 2021 09.31 ESTThe mobile operator has been fined £10.5m for overcharging 140,000 customers several million pounds as a result of billing errors that persisted for almost a decade.The telecoms regulator, , said the fine – which was reduced from £15m because of O2’s cooperation with its investigation – related to errors in the final bills received by customers leaving the operator.The investigation found that between 2011 and 2019 an error in the way...

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Mark Sweney
Feb 12
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White House ‘monitoring’ GameStop share surge as US hedge fund pulls out

White House ‘monitoring’ GameStop share surge as US hedge fund pulls out

Melvin Capital Management had bet on failure of store before small investors sent shares soaring, and in New YorkWed 27 Jan 2021 18.20 ESTFirst published on Wed 27 Jan 2021 13.36 ESTThe White House has said it is “monitoring” the extraordinary surge in the share price of ailing video games retailer GameStop and other companies amid a surge of bets by small investors discussing their investments online.Wednesday’s announcement by the press secretary, Jen Psaki, came as the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission said they were “aware of and actively monitoring the ongoing market...

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Mark Sweney
Jan 27
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Hollywood studio MGM puts itself up for sale at $5bn

Hollywood studio MGM puts itself up for sale at $5bn

MGM, the Hollywood studio behind the and Rocky franchises, is up for sale with a price-tag of more than $5bn (£3.75bn).The studio has explored selling several times over the last few years, when preliminary talks were held with Netflix and Apple among others, but price proved to be a stumbling block.However, the streaming wars continue to fuel huge inflation in the prices willing to be paid for must-have content, and proven global franchises are becoming increasingly scarce and as a result rocketing in value.MGM owns a library of 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, from...

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Mark Sweney
Dec 22
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Dolly Parton says she may sell her entire back catalogue of songs

Dolly Parton says she may sell her entire back catalogue of songs

Parton says she has often thought about selling catalogue, but would ‘still have some control’Thu 10 Dec 2020 11.25 ESTLast modified on Thu 10 Dec 2020 11.58 ESTDolly Parton has said that she is considering selling her back catalogue of thousands of songs, as big name artists The “Queen of country”, whose 3,000 song credits including I Will Always Love You and 9 to 5, said she didn’t want to get caught out like some stars who had not sorted out their estate in their later years.“I’ve owned my own publishing company for years and years,” said Parton, in an interview with Music Week. “It’s...

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Mark Sweney
Dec 10
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Tech giants may face billions of pounds in fines from new UK watchdog

Tech giants may face billions of pounds in fines from new UK watchdog

The should have the power to fine Google, Facebook and other large firms in the industry billions of pounds if they fail to stick to a new code of conduct, according to the competition regulator.The (CMA), which will host the new dedicated Digital Markets Unit (DMU), has advised the government that the new regulator must have the power to impose huge fines as a final “backstop” or it will be unable to ensure tech companies abide by the new rules, which are designed to create a fairer market for smaller rivals, newspaper and magazine publishers, and consumers.Read moreUnder , which were...

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Mark Sweney
Dec 8
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UK to ban all online junk food advertising to tackle obesity

UK to ban all online junk food advertising to tackle obesity

Downing Street has unveiled plans to implement a total ban on online junk food advertising – the toughest digital marketing restrictions in the world – in an attempt to tackle the growing obesity crisis.While health campaigners have welcomed the proposed ban, which is now subject to a six-week consultation, it has stunned the advertising industry, which has called it indiscriminate and draconian.The new rules, which go much further than , would affect foods deemed to be too high in fat, salt and sugar. However, a range of foods, from avocados and marmite to jam and cream, could be caught...

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Mark Sweney
Nov 10
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UK mobile phone firms to be banned from selling locked handsets

UK mobile phone firms to be banned from selling locked handsets

Mobile phone companies are to be banned from selling devices that are locked into specific networks to make it easier for customers to switch providers.The telecoms regulator, , has ruled that BT, its mobile subsidiary EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone will have to stop selling mobiles that work only on their network from December next year. Other UK mobile phone operators already allow customers to switch from one network to another while keeping their existing handset.Ofcom said while consumers were able to get their mobile phones unlocked, it was sometimes complicated, and could cost about...

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Mark Sweney
Oct 27
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Amazon to escape UK digital services tax that will hit smaller traders

Amazon to escape UK digital services tax that will hit smaller traders

Amazon will not have to pay the on products it sells directly to consumers but small traders who sell products on its site will face increased charges.The tax, which aims to get tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook to pay more tax in the UK, is forecast to eventually bring in about .Amazon has already stated that the 2% tax on revenues made in the UK will be but it will not be adding the charge to the cost of advertising on its platform.According to , Amazon, which on total UK revenues of £13.7bn last year, will not have to pay the tax on goods it sells directly.The new tax is...

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Mark Sweney
Oct 14
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WhatsApp launches factcheck feature aimed at viral messages

WhatsApp launches factcheck feature aimed at viral messages

Users will be able to check truthfulness of messages that have come via five or more people Tue 4 Aug 2020 09.53 EDTWhatsApp has introduced a feature allowing users to check the contents of viral messages in the latest move to root out disinformation and fake news being spread on the Facebook-owned service.The feature, which is being piloted in six countries including the UK from Tuesday, allows users to perform a Google search on content they have been forwarded to factcheck claims and information.WhatsApp has added a magnifying glass icon that will appear next to messages that have been...

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Mark Sweney
Aug 4
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Ryanair boss: Britons know quarantine rules are rubbish

Ryanair boss: Britons know quarantine rules are rubbish

The Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said he will not cancel flights despite the government’s new for travellers arriving in the UK, because “British people are ignoring this quarantine. They know it’s rubbish.”O’Leary’s comments come after Ryanair, easyJet and IAG, the owner of British Airways, in an attempt to overturn rules requiring all passengers arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days, which came into effect on Monday.Read moreBreaking the rules, which are designed to help prevent a second wave of the coronavirus, is punishable with a £1,000 fine. The policy is to be reviewed...

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Mark Sweney
Jun 8
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Studios bypass cinemas with lucrative lockdown premieres

Studios bypass cinemas with lucrative lockdown premieres

n animated musical extravaganza about a group of pop-loving trolls may turn out to be the most important film in recent Hollywood history. , which has become a lockdown hit, notching up digital sales of $100m (£80m) in three weeks, has become the focal point of a battle that could forever change moviegoing habits in .With cinemas closed, Hollywood studios are challenging the sacrosanct tradition that multiplexes air films first for up to three months, before their release on other platforms such as pay-TV, DVD and streaming. Instead, they are pushing new films straight to fans at home.has...

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Mark Sweney
May 2
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Disney heir criticises company over $1.5bn bonuses as it cuts pay

Disney heir criticises company over $1.5bn bonuses as it cuts pay

An heir to the Walt Disney fortune has criticised the company for protecting executive bonuses and dividends of more than $1.5bn (£1.2bn) while cutting the pay of more than 100,000 workers to help weather the financial impact of coronavirus.Abigail Disney, an Emmy award-winning film-maker and a granddaughter of the company’s co-founder Roy Disney, launched a Twitter tirade against the world’s biggest entertainment group over its treatment of employees.Disney, who in the past has of the executive chairman, Bob Iger, said the $1.5bn in typical dividend payouts would keep staff paid for...

theguardian.com
Mark Sweney
Apr 22
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