Apple Could Be Fined Millions for Strict iPhone Marketing Contract

Did you ever look at a phone provider catalogue and think, where have I seen that advert before? If the phone in question is an iPhone then you may have noticed its prominent placement in the catalogue along with the near identical adverts in every single catalogue. There is a reason for this other than just marketing, and could get Apple fined up to €48.5 million for their strict iPhone marketing terms.

France’s country competition regulators have launched a complaint regarding Apple’s agreements, stating that they are actually illegal. Part of the terms and conditions is that carriers have to order a minimum number of iPhones, cover the cost of repairs for some of the phones and even pay for the ad’s used (including those used for in-store displays).

If this wasn’t enough Apple gains several legal benefits, such as being able to access and use some of the carriers patents and even use their branding as they see fit. The contract also allows Apple to void the contract without any prior notice, something that would scare anyone selling thousands of euros worth of equipment.

With Apple looking at renewable energy for their facilities, they may want to rethink their strategy when it comes to selling their devices as even if this court case is just in France, other countries may follow suit and start looking at stocking alternative products because of the contract they are being forced to sign.

FCC Says Netflix Throttling Itself Isn’t Against Net Neutrality

Recently the popular streaming service Netflix admitted that when it comes to mobile phones accessing their system, they reduced the video quality on most mobile networks to help avoid excessive data usage. This caused an uproar given Netflix’s stance on the topic was to support the concept of Net Neutrality (the idea being that all traffic on the internet is equal and, therefore, shouldn’t be prioritized or capped based on its content). It nows seems that the FCC have stated where they stand on the matter.

The FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler stated that the Federal Communications Commission had no intention of investigating the service for throttling its own streams. Critics of Netflix agree with the idea that the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality applies to internet service providers, those that provide the entirety of the internet to you rather than just a service within the internet. Even with this agreement, they want the company investigated, with Wheeler clarifying that they “do not regulate edge providers”. An edge provider in this case is what the FCC title online content providers, the ones that actually use the internet to provide a service rather than provide access to the internet itself.

This comes at a time when the FCC are openly investigating mobile providers for their internet usage systems, with companies like TalkTalk offering their Binge service, a service which allows you to stream unlimited amounts of content from select providers that have partnered up with TalkTalk.

Where do you stand? Should companies be allowed to reduce quality to ensure you get a smooth service without additional costs? Should they be allowed you provide you with “unlimited content” from select providers?

Make Sure You’re Getting 100% Of Your Internet Connection

Net Neutrality is the concept that all information on the internet is equal, this means that if it’s you sending a message on facebook or someone else in your house playing a game, all the data being sent from your house across the world is treated equally. This concept means companies can’t pick and choose what data is slowed down so other bits of data can get somewhere quicker.

The Internet Health-checker tests your internet connection for just that, by sending random bits of data to locations outside of your internet providers network. This lets it see if there are jumps or bumps in how fast your internet connection is. But you’re not alone, when you test the connection it anonymously compares the data with others from the same provider, letting Fight For The Future check and see what companies, if any, are throttling internet users.

You may think that this is obvious, but some companies and even internet service providers (ISP’s) have made moves so that you or companies can pay for a better connection. The most famous of these examples was Comcast and Netflix, in which Comcast negotiated with Netflix to deliver smoother downloads to its customers in exchange for a small fee. The difference in the connection prior to the agreement and then after can be seen in the graph below.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified the Internet in America in February to prevent actions like this, in which companies could create fast and slow lanes, essentially making customers and internet based companies pay premiums for better speeds, while throttling the connections of people who were not willing to pay for the “premium” bundles.

I welcome any move that helps prevent fast lanes being created on the internet, the concept of reducing someone’s service so you can charge them and others more for a better service seems counter-intuitive to attracting customers to your company, with those found doing this caught and shamed publically online.

What’s your internet health like? Is your consistency high or is there a risk that your ISP is throttling your connection?

Thank you LifeHacker and Battle For The Net for the information.

Images courtesy of InternetHealthTestThe Washington Post and Netflix.