Briefings

EU fines Google €1.49 billion in AdSense antitrust case

The tech giant has been found guilty of preventing third parties from using its tool for displaying search ads for over 10 years. Google has changed its AdSense contract conditions in response, allowing large third parties more room to show their competing search ads. On Tuesday, Google said it will begin asking Europe-based Android smartphone users if they want to switch to competing search engines or web browsers. (The Next Web, Wall Street Journal)

Disney seals US$71-billion deal for 21st Century Fox as it prepares to take on Netflix

Disney will absorb Fox’s film and TV studios, its FX networks, National Geographic and the Indian TV giant Star India. The deal gives Disney ownership over Fox’s entire TV and movie catalogue, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, the rights to which it sold to Fox in the 1990s. Disney will also get a controlling stake in Hulu. (The Guardian)

Wealthsimple doubled investment base last year

The financial technology firm had $3.4 billion in assets under administration (AUA)—the amount of money being invested through the platform—as of Dec. 31, 2018, compared to $1.7 billion the previous year, according to parent company Power Financial’s annual report. Wealthsimple—not yet five years old—now has over 100,000 clients. (The Logic, with a h/t to the reader who spotted it)

Toronto Life owner St. Joseph Communications to buy Rogers magazines

The deal will give St. Joseph Communications ownership of nearly every major English-language magazine in Canada, with the addition of seven brands, including Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Canadian Business and Flare. The deal is expected to close next month. The financial terms were not disclosed. (Globe and Mail)

China’s electric cars hit some potholes

About 70 per cent of Chinese consumers said they regretted buying new energy vehicles (NEV), mostly electric cars. Those cars had a 10 per cent recall rate last year following a decade of subsidies by the Chinese government that have helped prompt the creation of 487 companies since 2013, not all of which are producing high-quality cars. One million NEVs were sold in China in the first 11 months of 2018, up 68 per cent from 2017. (Bloomberg)

Google unveils Stadia cloud gaming service

The search giant revealed its long-anticipated cloud gaming service and its corresponding specialized controller at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco Tuesday. Games will be streamable across all devices for a subscription fee, without the need to be downloaded or installed. Players will be able to use the Stadia controller or a standard mouse and keyboard. (The Verge)

Instagram adds new feature to let U.S. users shop via app

On Tuesday, Instagram announced the launch of its new checkout feature, which is currently in closed beta for businesses and only available to U.S. users. The social media giant has partnered with over 20 brands, including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Michael Kors. Once the feature is expanded, some e-commerce partners will be able to use their stores on Instagram, including Shopify. (Reuters)