Benner on Tech: Google in Europe and Hackers vs. U.S.

Katie Benner is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about technology, innovation, and the cult and culture of Silicon Valley. She lives in San Francisco.
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Even though Google still asserts that it’s done nothing wrong in Europe, the company is willing to concede it didn’t do a good job of telling its company story in Europe or explaining how Google benefits small businesses and consumers.

In an interview with Politico, Google’s president for Europe, Matt Brittin, said that Google is also open to settling the anti-trust accusations that were brought by the European Commission in a “statement of objections” that was sent to the company in April that accused Google of abusing its dominance in search. With regards to the EU’s case against the company, Brittin said it was time to be pragmatic.

He also offered an apology of sorts for offending European sensitivities, saying: “As far as Europe is concerned: we get it. We understand that people here are not the same in their attitudes to everything as people in America.”

We’ll see whether such statements can change much at this point. Google pushed the Europeans so far as to actually send a statement of objections. For the EU, the time for pragmatism may have passed.

Hackers vs. the U.S.

Hackers -- suspected to be based in China -- infiltrated the Office of Personnel Management, which has personnel information about employees of many federal agencies, and stole data on 4 million people. The Wall Street Journal notes this as one of the largest-known thefts of government information.

Separately, the New York Times discovered that the Obama administration quietly expanded a program that lets the National Security Agency track Americans’ international Internet traffic without a warrant to look for evidence of hacking that might originate overseas.

Merger Madness

Dish Network could merge with T-Mobile US, according to the Wall Street Journal. If the deal goes through, T-Mobile’s John Legere would run the combined company, and Dish’s Charlie Ergen would be chairman. After the Journal broke the news, Legere took to Twitter to engage with reporters about the rumors, but then deleted those tweets.

People Like Privacy

A new study found that many Americans don’t think it’s fair to have to trade in their privacy for free Internet services, but that they feel helpless to do anything about it. Joseph Turow, the study’s lead author, told the New York Times, “But what is really going on is a sense of resignation. Americans feel that they have no control over what companies do with their information or how they collect it.”

A Big Exit

SunGard Data Systems, which was taken private in an $11 billion private equity deal, filed for an IPO. (Wall Street Journal)

Weekend Reading

** Bloomberg’s Ashlee Vance explains how Larry Ellison is using his fortune to save tennis.

With help from Mark Hurd, Oracle’s co-CEO and fellow tennis aficionado, [Larry Ellison] wants to restore tennis to prominence in the U.S., and make the game more profitable globally. “I think we simply have to do something to improve the quality of American tennis,” Ellison says, sounding for a moment like someone determined to end malaria.

** Wired’s Issie Lapowsky takes a look at the school that Silicon Valley hopes will save education.

By Silicon Valley standards, AltSchool is already a runaway success. But the world of education doesn’t operate by Silicon Valley standards. To be a true success, Ventilla and his team still have to prove that AltSchool is more than just another private school for the tech elite, and that it can actually make a difference in some of the country’s neediest schools. 

Ventureland

Uber faces a fresh challenge from the French government, which plans to enforce rules that say apps can’t show the availability and locations of non-traditional taxis. (Wall Street Journal)

Ellen Pao may have asked Kleiner Perkins for $2.7 million to not appeal the gender discrimination case she brought against the firm and lost. (Re/code)

Madrona Venture Group has raised $300 million for a fund to invest in enterprise software and virtual reality among other things. (Bloomberg)

People and Personnel Moves

Padmasree Warrior, Edzard Overbeek and Wim Elfrink, three senior managers at Cisco, are leaving the company as the incoming CEO Chuck Robbins reshapes the executive team. (Wall Street Journal)

David Ebersman, Facebook’s former chief financial officer, now has a healthcare startup called Lyra Health, which uses data to improve treatment of behavioral disorders. (Bloomberg)

Mina Radhakrishnan will join the investment firm Redpoint as its entrepreneur in residence. She was previously Uber’s head of product. (Re/code)

Chris O’Neill is leaving his role as the business chief for Google Glass, but he will stay at the company. (Re/code)

Companies

Apple is scrambling to agree on terms with record labels before it unveils its new streaming music service next week at its Worldwide Developers Conference that kicks off on June 8. (Bloomberg)

Comcast agreed to buy Visible World, an ad-tech firm. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook held its first-ever privacy summit as part of an effort to improve its own privacy bona fides; but experts at the event disagreed on almost everything, and the audience walked away without firm takeaways on best practices for user data. (Wall Street Journal) The company made a new version of Facebook for Android, Facebook Lite, that uses less data and can be more easily used on weak networks.

Tesla cut a deal to sell up to 500 megawatt-hours of battery capacity to Advanced Microgrid Solutions, which provides energy-storage systems. (Bloomberg)

Yahoo is shutting down its maps site, as well as Pipes, a tool for gathering Web content, and Yahoo Music in France and Canada. (Bloomberg)

Media Files

A song must be played five to seven times on Spotify’s free service to make the same amount of money that it gets with on play on Spotify’s $10-a-month Premium tier. (Wall Street Journal)

SoundCloud cut a licensing deal with Merlin, which handles the rights for 20,000 independent record labels. (Bloomberg)

News and Notes

Viacom will now automatically delete employee e-mails every 30 days in response to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. (the Wrap)

Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company, is working to raise $1.5 billion so that it can continue to acquire companies. (Wall Street Journal)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the editor on this story:
Maria Lamagna at mlamagna@bloomberg.net