Henry Mance

Henry Mance is a companies reporter, covering UK technology.

On Friday we reported that the European parliament is threatening to break up Google. More precisely, it is likely to approve a draft motion calling for the European Commission to consider the “unbundling” of search engines from other commercial services as one possible solution to Google’s dominance.

But would this even work in practice? The short answer is, it’s not clear.

The German MEP Andreas Schwab, a long-time Google critic who is sponsoring the draft motion, told the FT that the practicalities had still to be looked at. Read more

Is it too early to make forecasts for 2015? Not for CCS Insight, a UK-based technology research firm, which is already confidently predicting that a major internet player will buy Netflix, and Vodafone will buy Sky, by the end of next year.

“All Web players are looking for a stronger presence in paid-for video, something Netflix has achieved with remarkable success… Yahoo, Alibaba and Google are potential suitors,” CCS says in an upcoming report. If Google does not buy Netflix, it will launch its own video streaming service in 2015, it predicts.

Further bold/foolhardy predictions below. Read more

Google has mocked News Corp for this anti-EU headline in the Sun

Google has responded to criticism from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp that it is dominant, anti-competitive and bad for media companies. So where are the key battle lines, and how convincing are Google’s arguments?

Point 1: How dominant is Google?

News Corp said: “[Google’s] power increases with each passing day”. Read more

Which is better value: Netflix or the BBC?

Some TV viewers – especially younger ones – seem to think the answer is Netflix. It has cool new shows, including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. And a subscription costs UK viewers roughly half as much as the BBC – £6.99 a month, compared to the BBC’s licence fee, which works out at £12 a month.

But the BBC wants to knock down the Netflix-mania, at least when it comes to drama. Read more

For the past year, new internet subscribers in the UK have had to make an “unavoidable choice”.

No, it’s not whether to pay for speeds of 152Mb per second, or whether to subscribe to Premiership football. It’s whether to turn on a “family-friendly network filter”, affectionately known as porn blockers.

And what did Brits decide? Read more

The BBC thinks its iPlayer service is “the best online television service in the world” – a platform so good that it’s the envy of Silicon Valley. So will Apple and Google be impressed by the platform’s latest redesign, unveiled in London on Tuesday?

This is a crucial time for the iPlayer: it will soon become the only home of BBC Three, the off-beat channel which is being taken off air to save costs. Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general, wants the platform to be the “front door” to all the broadcaster’s content.

So what’s on offer in the new version? Read more

Almost five years after launching, crowd-funding platform Kickstarter has received pledges worth $1bn. Half of the money has apparently been in the past twelve months (see chart below).

If Kickstarter were a venture fund, it would be a fairly significant player. So how exactly has humanity been enriched, for its money? Read more

Some newspapers hate Google, so trust the Economist to be contrary and hire its executive chairman.

The Economist Group said that Eric Schmidt (pictured) had joined its board for a three-year term.

Schmidt is, of course, only the latest internet evangelist to get his hands grubby with news. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid $250m to buy the Washington Post, while eBay’s founder Pierre Omidyar is investing a similar amount in an investigative outlet to be fronted by Glenn GreenwaldRead more

China’s biggest ecommerce company, Alibaba, has joined the growing enthusiasm for cloud storage applications, buying Kanbox for an undisclosed amount.

Kanbox offers free storage for documents, photos and other files, bringing Alibaba into competition with other Chinese heavyweights Tencent and Baidu, which offer similar services. The company raised $20m in Series B funding two years ago, so the acquisition value is likely to have been several hundred million dollars. Read more

If you’re wondering why Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square hasn’t launched in Europe, here’s one possible answer. The market is just too competitive.

Already several European companies do what Square does – allowing small businesses to process card payments without a monthly contract. They are now engaging in a price war, ripping up the 2.75 per cent transaction fee that Square made standard. Read more