Tech wrap: Google fined over drug ads

August 24, 2011

Google has agreed to pay $500 million to settle a probe into ads it accepted for online Canadian pharmacies selling drugs in the United States, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. The forfeiture is one of the largest ever in the United States, according to the DOJ. It represents Google’s revenue from Canadian pharmacy advertisements to U.S. customers through Google’s AdWords program and Canadian pharmacies’ revenue from U.S. sales.

Apple won another battle in the mobile tech patent wars on Wednesday when a Dutch court ruled that Samsung Electronics must stop marketing three of its smartphone models in some European countries. Apple, which has conquered the high end of the phone market with its iPhone, argued that Samsung had infringed on three of its patents. The court ruled that Samsung smartphones Galaxy S, S II and Ace breached just one of Apple’s patents.

BlackBerry users tired of the narrow selection of apps available to them should welcome news that models expected next year will be able to run apps designed for Google’s Android mobile platform. According to a Bloomberg report, which cites three unnamed sources, Research in Motion plans to make its forthcoming BlackBerry models Android-compatible in an attempt to boost sales of its smartphone models and win back consumers. The Android Market currently offers more than 250,000 apps, nearly six times as many as RIM’s own app store, the article notes.

Reversing its view from a year ago, a federal appeals court said Verizon Wireless customers must resolve disputes over alleged fraudulent cellphone charges individually through arbitration rather than as a class. Some consumer advocates say arbitration favors companies by making it too costly for consumers to bring small claims.

Guess who’s moving to Silicon Valley? Hollywood’s largest talent firm CAA is. The agency is considering opening an office in Silicon Valley to expand ties with the technology community, two people familiar with the firm’s plans told Reuters correspondent Peter Lauria.

TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, said revenue rose 19 percent as it signed new deals with cable operators to use its technology, sending its shares up in after-hours trading.

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