Russia’s anti-trust authority on Thursday fined Google 438 million rubles ($6.75 million) after finding it guilty of abusing its dominant market position by forcing smartphone makers to install its search engine on Androids.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service in September last year deemed Google in breach of a law on “protecting competition” after an investigation following a complaint by Russia’s largest search engine, Yandex.
Yandex asked the anti-trust authorities to prevent Android phones from being automatically bundled with Google’s search engine.
The FAS said that Google has two months to pay the fine.
Yelena Zayeva, the head of its department for regulating communications and IT was quoted in the statement as saying the ruling “will allow the development of competition on the mobile software market in Russia, which will have a positive effect for consumers.”
All companies whose production is on sale in Russia have to observe the law on competition, “including transnational corporations,” Zayeva added.
Google said in a statement sent to AFP: “We have received notice of the fine from FAS and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps.”
“In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia,” Google said.
The tech giant’s Android operating system dominates the smartphone market with a share of around 80 percent, which enables Google to offer search and other services to handset users.
Russia’s anti-trust authority had been holding consultations with Google aimed at reaching an amicable agreement, but this required Google to admit guilt.
Google has insisted that consumers are free to choose whether to use its services.
Google has been hit by similar anti-trust charges in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which has launched three cases against Google, one of which is specifically about using the dominance of the Android mobile phone operating system to restrict competition.
Russia’s anti-trust authority this week also launched legal proceedings against US tech giant Apple over the alleged fixing of resellers’ prices for iPhones in the country.
Apple said in a statement sent to AFP: “Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world.”
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.
Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.
In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.
The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.
On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.
Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020
While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.
Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.
Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.
The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.
Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.
For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.
During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.
Global Digital Payments Market to Grow by 23.7% in 2020 to $4.9 Trillion
While it was already under way prior to the pandemic, the global shift to digital payments has been positively affected by the crisis.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish website Sijoitusrahastot, the global digital payments market grew by 21% YoY in transaction value during H1 2020. Statista projects that the market’s total transaction value will grow by 23.7% year-over-year (YoY) in 2020 to reach $4.93 trillion. The number of users is also set to increase by 10.1% YoY to reach 3.47 billion.
Asia’s Digital Payments Market to Reach $2.88 Trillion in 2020
In the period between 2020 and 2024, the global digital payments will grow at a 13.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $8.17 trillion by 2024. The market’s top segment is digital commerce, estimated to grow at 4.8% YoY reach $2.93 trillion in 2020. By 2024, it is set to grow to $4.11 trillion, growing at a CAGR of 8.9%.
China will take the lead in digital payments, growing to $2.31 trillion, as well as in digital commerce, reaching $1.17 trillion in 2020. For Asia as a whole, digital payments will reach $2.88 trillion in 2020 as per a Statista report.
According to McKinsey, Asia generated $900 billion in 2019 as payment revenue, almost half the global total. Between 2018 and 2019, digital payments in Asia Pacific grew by 24.7%. Comparatively, the growth rate was 14.1% in the global market, 12.2% in Europe and 5.6% in North America.
China has a dominant role in the market, thanks to mobile payments. Based on a Finextra report, 70% of China’s consumers use mobile wallets regularly. It estimates that in 2020, 80% of global mobile wallet revenue will come from China.
Capgemini projects that in 2020, mobile payments in APAC will grow at 13.9% YoY to reach $277.5 billion. In contrast, the figure will be $229.1 billion in Europe, growing at 6.2% YoY and $184.8 billion in North America, growing at 3.0%.
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