News roundup – Crypto market plunge, Goodbye MS Internet Explorer and Meta’s Giphy lifeline
Cryptocurrency market value sinks under $1tn
The value of the cryptocurrency market has fallen below $1tn for the first time since January 2021, according to data site CoinMarketCap, reaching as low as $926bn. It said that investors have ditched riskier assets in the face of high inflation and fears that interest rate raises by central banks will stunt growth. The largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was down more than 10% on Monday, falling to an 18-month low of $23,750 – it is down by around 50% so far this year. Smaller coin Ethereum fell over 15% to $1,210. “They are prime victims of the flight away from risky assets as investors fret about spiraling consumer prices around the world,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Apple faces German antitrust probe over app tracking rules
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, has started proceedings against Apple to investigate whether its tracking rules and anti-tracking technology are anti-“competitive and self-serving”, according to a press release. Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said there is reason to doubt the tech company is making “pro-competitive” rules when it applies rules to third parties, but not to Apple itself. “This would allow Apple to preference its own offers or impede other companies,” he continued. The tech giant has disputed suggestions that its ATT framework has unfairly benefitted the company to the detriment of third-parties. However, the watchdog’s findings suggest that Apple “is not subject to the new and additional rules of the App Tracking Transparency Framework”.
UK watchdog queries ruling against Meta’s Giphy deal
Meta Platforms won an appeal against Britain blocking its acquisition of Giphy on a single procedural ground, yet the country’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) endorsed the regulator’s findings. Last year, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered Meta to sell animated images platform Giphy because of its concerns about a loss of a competitor in advertising, and the impact on social media rivals. The CAT said that the CMA had “failed properly to consult” and “wrongly excised portions from its decision”, adding that the parties should identify how and when the question of remittal could be determined. The CAT could dismiss the decision and send the case back to the CMA for re-investigation. The decision will be decided in due course.
Microsoft to shut down Internet Explorer after 27 years
After 27 years, Microsoft has announced that its iconic browser will finally be retired. Internet Explorer reach a peak of 95% usage in 2003, but the browser failed to maintain its position and the user base sharply declined. Sean Lyndersay, Microsoft Edge program manager, stated that “the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 lies in Microsoft Edge”, as reported by Mashable. “Not only is Microsoft Edge a quicker, more secure, and more contemporary browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it also addresses a crucial concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” he added.
Global tech unsteady as WTO weighs e-commerce tariffs
The global technology industry is pressing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to exempt data flows from cross-border tariffs, stating a failure to do so would “undermine” a global recovery already under threat by spiraling prices. Keisal Peters, trade minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, who is leading discussions, said at the conference that divergences remained. As time runs out, WTO members should consider meeting halfway, he added. In 1988, the WTO agreed to a moratorium on e-commerce tariffs and repeatedly extended it at ministerial conferences, which the Geneva-based trade body usually holds every two years.
Now, India, Indonesia and South Africa are threatening to block an extension. This raises the prospect that tariffs could be imposed on such data flows as music streaming and financial transactions.
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