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BNET Daily Dispatch: Apple, Google, Anheuser-Busch, and Free Trade

  • The European Commission has formally charged Apple and several other big music companies (including Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG) of violating competition rules in the region. Specifically, the Commission claims that Apple's licensing agreements restrict consumers' choice in where to buy music, and in turn limit their freedom to chose which music they buy and at what price. The charges come as EMI announced that it will begin offering music through iTunes without copyright protection.
  • Google has taken a major step into the offline advertising world. The web titan will begin auctioning TV ads through EchoStar's DISH network. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said today in a press release: “we think we can add value to this important medium by delivering more relevant ads to viewers, providing better accountability for advertisers and better monetize inventory for TV operators and programmers.” Initially, however, Google's TV channel inventory will represent only a very small fraction of the total television ad market.
  • Anheuser-Busch today announced its plans to build a $63 million plant in China to advance toward its goal of doubling the distribution of Budweiser beer in China within five years. America's largest brewery said it would also begin importing China's domestic beer, Harbin, to 33 new markets. China is the largest beer market in the world by volume, with 15 percent growth last year and intense competition from domestic brands.
  • The United States and South Korea finalized the terms of the world's largest bilateral free trade agreement. If the agreement is ratified, tariffs will be lifted from 90 percent of product categories in the trade nomenclature. U.S. Proponents claim the agreement will create major export opportunities for American farmers and give service industry multinationals a stronger foothold in Asia. Opposition to the agreement comes largely from the South Korean public, who have staged protests in the streets of their capital city.
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