ITI Daily News Roundup

01/04/2013

Key Issues

Taxes

Inquiry Into Tech Giants' Tax Strategies Nears End.  Congressional investigators are wrapping up an inquiry into the accounting practices of Apple and other technology companies that allocate revenue and intellectual property offshore to lower the taxes they pay in the United States. (NYT)

Intellectual Property

U.S.-Russia IPR ‘Action Plan’ Is Largely Devoid Of Concrete Commitments.  The long-awaited “action plan” for improving intellectual property rights (IPR) protections in Russia that was released by the U.S. and Russian governments late last month contains little when it comes to concrete commitments, is unenforceable, and mostly calls for the two sides to continue consultations on key issues. U.S. industry sources acknowledged these shortcomings, but argued that the plan could at least help to keep Russia engaged in bilateral talks.  (Inside US Trade)

Leader Of U.S. Movie-Pirating Group Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison.  A man who admitted to being the leader of the IMAGiNE Group, which released unauthorized versions of theatrical films online, has been sentenced to serve 60 months in prison — reportedly a record for an American web piracy sentence.  (NPR)

Global Trade

Congress Fails To Pass MTB, But Key House Members File Combined Bill.  Roughly 600 temporary duty suspensions expired on Jan. 1 as the 112th Congress failed to pass a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB), but House Ways and Means Committee leaders the same day laid the groundwork for consideration of such legislation in 2013 by introducing an MTB package consisting of language agreed by both the Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees and vetted by the Obama administration and the International Trade Commission (ITC).  (Inside US Trade)

Record India Deficit May Limit Rate Cuts as Rupee Drops.  India’s record current-account deficit threatens to weigh on the rupee and curb the magnitude of interest-rate cuts forecast to begin this month in support of government policies seeking faster growth.  (Bloomberg)

Cybersecurity

Cyber thieves impersonate Google+.  Net criminals have exploited a security lapse to pose as part of the Google+ social media service in a bid to steal confidential data.

Workforce

White House pushes forward on immigration.  Executive authority furthers changes to ease deportation rules, even as the administration gears up for a political fight over a more sweeping legislative package in the months ahead.  (WPost)

Foxconn challenged as global reach grows.  Foxconn has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan in Brazil, which the country’s government says could reach $12bn of investment. Many of the plants make Apple products to help avoid import taxes on electronic goods sent from China, home to most of Foxconn’s iPhone and iPad factories.  But the new factories in Brazil, where unions are historically strong, have faced challenges. In addition to the October protest in Jundiaí, which employs 6,000, workers there have staged protests over everything from overcrowded transport to working hours and lack of career planning offered to employees.

Mobility

Rural India can give M2M critical push.  Indian government and carriers must work together to drive large-scale deployments of M2M, which can improve the life of villagers while bringing more revenues for telcos.  (ZDNet)

Samsung still rules U.S. mobile market.  With a 26.9 percent market share, Samsung remained the top mobile-phone maker for the U.S. over the three months ending with November, says ComScore.  (CNET)

Tech Business

Twitter could be worth $11bn.  As social network prepares to go public in 2014, analysts estimate worth based on trading in secondary markets and Apple interest in the social networking firm.  (The Guardian)

India's Infosys denies report of firing 5,000 staff.  Infosys Ltd said on Friday a newspaper report it was planning to fire up to 5,000 poorly performing workers was "wrong", although it encourages "chronic underperformers" to leave as part of its routine staff management.  (Reuters)

China fines LG, Samsung in flat panel price case.  China fined South Korean and Taiwanese makers of LCD display screens $56 million on Friday for price-fixing, joining the United States and Europe in a crackdown on the industry.

HTC to Step Up Innovation.  HTC had one of its worst years in 2012, as Apple and Samsung ate into its market share and profitability. But HTC CEO Peter Chou vowed to win consumers back by developing more innovative products.  (WSJ)

ITI Member News

Google Pushed Hard Behind the Scenes to Convince Regulators.  Executives made frequent trips to Washington to press their case in an antitrust inquiry, laying out legal arguments and applying lessons from Microsoft’s bruising 1990s battle.  (NYT)

FTC commissioner worries Google deal looks like special treatment.  J. Thomas Rosch, a Republican member of the Federal Trade Commission, criticized his fellow commissioners on Thursday for accepting a voluntary agreement from Google to address concerns that it is stifling online competition.  (The Hill)

Microsoft vents over FTC Google antitrust ruling.  The tech giant isn't best pleased with the FTC's decision concerning complaints over Google's "anti-competitive" business practices.  (ZDNet)

Feds unhappy with Google chairman Eric Schmidt's planned trip to North Korea.  The U.S. State Department said on Thursday the time was not right for Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former diplomat Bill Richardson to travel to North Korea.   (Reuters)

Google's Motorola purchase: Was it worth it?  Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, closed the deal in May 2012 and then went about closing facilities and selling parts of it. Were the patents and handset unit worth it?  (ZDNet)

Apple, Android combine for almost 90% of U.S. smartphone market.  The latest smartphone figures show Apple and Android phones have taken nearly complete control of the U.S. smartphone market, with almost 90% combined market share.  (LATimes)

RIM expands patent deal to bring 4G LTE to BlackBerry 10.  To prepare for the operating system’s debut, RIM is expanding its existing patent agreement with wireless research company InterDigital. With the expanded deal, RIM now has the rights to InterDigital’s 4G LTE and LTE-Advanced technology. (VentureBeat.com)

Qualcomm Sued Over Political-Giving Records.  The New York State Common Retirement Fund has filed a lawsuit against chipmaker Qualcomm for the right to inspect the company's books and records for political spending.  (WSJ)

eBay launches selling helpers as way to lure new customers.  Kicking off three new pilot programs to bring more sellers and buyers to the site, the online auctioneer goes offline and assists users in person.  (CNET)

Cisco, NXP Place Bet on Connected-Car Company.  Most cars may one day be smart enough to drive themselves. Before then, some companies expect them to communicate safety information among themselves, with Cisco Systems and NXP Semiconductors placing a new bet on that direction.  (WSJ)

Dell Shares Rise as UBS Raises Target.  Dell rose to the highest price in more than four months, gaining for a third trading day, after an analyst at UBS AG raised his price target on optimism for the computer maker’s new offerings for corporate customers.  (Bloomberg)

Today on the Hill

House:  The House convenes at 10 a.m. ET, with votes starting around 10:45.  The House will vote on an increase in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program, in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 12:30 p.m. ET.  If the House passes the flood insurance bill, the Senate likely will approve it by unanimous consent.

Joint Session:  At 1 p.m., the chambers will convene jointly to count the Electoral College ballots for the presidential election. 

1600 Penn.

The First Family will be in Honolulu, Hawaii, through Saturday. The President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing every day, but there are no public events scheduled.

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