Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 11/09/2017

This weeks news include; Google appeals the EU antitrust, Facebook fined in Spain, Goldman Sachs to offer personal savings accounts in the UK. 
Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Click on the links for full stories.  Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week:
  • The Independent looks at MP’s claim that Amazon and E-Bay are killing British businesses.
  • City A.M says Techxit? UK is the exit capital of Europe for tech startups.
  • Bloomberg looks at JP Morgan boss’ Jamie Dimon said he would fire any employee trading bitcoin for being “stupid”
  • The Guardian looks at a survey stating London still world’s top financial centre despite Brexit.

 

 

1. GOOGLE APPEALS EU ANTITRUST FINE

Google has launched an appeal challenging its £2.3 billion fine imposed by the European commission. The European Commission fined Google after its investigation found that Google’s search engine abused its dominant position and gave its own search comparison services unfair priority. The EU General Court will review the case but a ruling is not expected for a number of years. 

Intel made progress in a roughly similar case against the European Commission, a case which could be used in Google’s favour, but the case does differ factually to Google’s so its applicability may be limited.

Read Reuter’s analysis for more information.

2. FACEBOOK FINE

Facebook has been fined €1.2 million by regulators in Spain for breaching privacy laws. The Spanish data protection watchdog found that Facebook had breached regulations on 3 occasions, as it failed to tell users how personal data would be used. It also unlawfully stored data of users who deleted their accounts for up to 17 months. The fine is the total for all 3 incidents, €600,000 for the most significant breach and €300,000 for both of less severe incidents.

While the fine only equals a fraction of Facebook’s €7 billion quarter revenue if fines like this become more regular it could force Facebook to alter it handles . Whether this fine will stand however, remains to be seen. Facebook appealed against a similar decision in Belgium last year and was successful against the fine.

To find out more about Facebook’s data protection issues read the Telegraph’s report.

3. EQUIFAX HACK

After it was recently revealed that hackers has accessed the personal data of up to 143 million Americans, it has emerged that details of up to 400,000 UK consumers had also been affected. Equifax has said that the names, email addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth of UK consumers has been accessed by the hackers.

An internal error between 2011 and 2016 allowed data of UK customers to be stored in the US . Equifax has also stated that some Canadian consumers had also been affected by the breach.

4. GOOGLE SUED IN DISCRIMINATION DISPUTE

Google has been sued by 3 former female employees over sex discrimination allegations. The employees claim that the technology giant fails to give women equal pay, equal promotion opportunities the same as men for similar work.  Google is reviewing the lawsuit but rejects the basis of the allegations.

Read BBC News’ analysis for more information.

Silicon Valley has come under immense scrutiny over the past few months for with Uber also facing a sexual discrimination dispute. The issue of gender equality in the tech sector is becoming an increasingly pertinent one for tech giants to address. Last month, a Google employee was fired because of a memo he sent to all employees dismissing diversity programmes in the tech sector, claiming that any gender imbalance in the field was solely due to biological differences between sexes.

5. GOLDMAN SACHS TO OFFER CONSUMER SAVING ACCOUNTS

Goldman Sachs has revealed that it will be offering personal saving accounts for consumers in the UK. The investment bank will launch this service in 2018 and comes as part of general strategic shift as other business areas become less profitable.

Individual savings & investments with Goldman Sachs had traditionally been reserved for the exceptionally wealthy but it is now the bank is looking to break into the mass market. It offered its first online consumer savings account in the US last year and will offer the same service to UK customers.

6. UK INTEREST RATES ON HOLD…FOR NOW

The Bank of England has decided to keep interest rates at 0.25% but has signalled at an imminent rate hike. The Monetary Policy Committee decided to leave rates unchanged but agreed that it appears appropriate for changes to be made over the coming months. Inflation is currently at 2.9% and this is 0.9% higher than the Bank of England target of 2%. It is hoped that a rise in interest rates and a reduction in the quantitive easing stimulus programme will bring inflation down to the desired levels.

The sterling soared to $1.33 in response to the news, a 12 month high.

7. BELL POTTINGER GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION

Public relations firm Bell Pottinger has fallen into administration after it failed to find a buyer. The firm recently found itself in trouble after it ran a controversial advertising campaign in which it appeared to emphasis the dominance of white-owner business. This sent the firm into a downward spiral where clients like HSBC and Investec ended their relationship with them, culminating in the firm being removed from the UK’s industry body.

Read BBC New’s report for more information.

8. JOHN LEWIS PROFITS FALL

John Lewis posted a 53% fall in profits in the 6 months to June. Profits for the consumer goods retailer fell to £26.6 million despite posting higher gross sales for its department stores and Waitrose stores. The main reason for this was due to higher costs and reduced customer demand overall. Furthermore, they faced additional pension and restructuring charges which increased their costs over this period.

The fall in the value of sterling has also been attributed to the decline in profits. The cost of importing goods has soared and so retailers must either absorb the additional costs or pass them on to consumers. John Lewis has chosen to absorb the majority of these additional costs and claims that this decline reflects this decision.

Read Sky News’ report for more information.

9. COMPARE THE MARKET IPO

The parent company of Comparethemarket.com has revealed that it will launch its initial public office next year. BGL Group had originally planned to list on the stock exchange this year but has now pushed them back to 2018, despite strong revenue figures. 

Read City A.M’s report for more information.

10. MERCEDES TO LAUNCH ELECTRIC VERSION OF ALL CAR MODELS

Mercedes-Benz has announced that from 2022 it will sell electric version of all its cars. At least 50 electric/hybrid versions of current Mercedes-Benz models will be sold.

It is likely that the costs of producing electric vehicles will rapidly decline over the next 5 years hence why the electric revolution in car manufacturing appears to have begun. The UK government has announced a ban on the sale of new diesel or petrol cars from 2040. Last week, Jaguar Land Rover revealed that all new models produced after 2020 would be either electric (see previous top 10).

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