Europe

Tim Bradshaw

The taxi industry’s war on app-enabled chauffeur services such as Uber has broken out into physical combat on the streets of Paris. During a strike by French cab drivers who are protesting against the rise of what are locally called “voitures de tourisme avec chauffeurs”, several drivers and limos who crossed the picket line were attacked, with windows smashed and tires slashed. 

The three-year Brussels probe into Google’s search business seems to be meandering towards a thundering anticlimax. With every legal twist, revised settlement offer and procedural shuffle, the case is losing the zip that made it a cause célèbre in the antitrust world. The opposing camps, meanwhile, appear ever more entrenched and polarised. Nobody is satisfied.

 

Richard Waters

First, for Google’s opponents, let’s look on the bright side.

The company’s tentative deal with European regulators in April to head off a formal anti-trust complaint was, according to critics, worse than useless. In the words of Silicon Valley lawyer Gary Reback: “They were Nowheresville”.

Tuesday’s revised deal at least fixes the most glaring flaws. Whether it will do anything meaningful to change the competitive situation is another matter. 

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. 

It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.

A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins. 

Splashpath founder Dan Morgan (left) with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

London startup Active in Time has taken the path less traveled to financing by licensing its Splashpath swim tracking app to Speedo. 

Strike one up for the humble firewall, veteran of network security software.

McAfee, the 25-year-old security software maker founded by John McAfee and bought by Intel in 2011, has made a conditional offer for Finland’s Stonesoft, which makes military-grade firewalls for securing networks. 

Robert Cookson

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. 

Roy and Eldar Tuvey, the British brothers who sold their startup ScanSafe to Cisco for up to $183m in 2010, have announced a new venture, this time in mobile services.

Wandera helps companies save money on data roaming by compressing data in the cloud before it is sent to an employee’s phone or tablet. On Wednesday it received $7m in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, whose past investments include Skype, Box and Linkedin. 

Tim Bradshaw

The Number 10 adviser behind London’s Tech City project, Rohan Silva, is to leave Downing Street this summer to become an entrepreneur himself.

A champion of innovation, behavioural economics and “open data” in government, Mr Silva confirmed his departure to the Financial Times late on Tuesday night, after reports first emerged on Sky News