Disney+ to Launch Across Europe This Week With Reduced Streaming Quality, Launch in France Delayed

Disney's premium streaming service, Disney+, will launch across Europe on Tuesday with temporarily degraded video quality, according to Reuters. The measure aims to reduce the burden on the continent's data networks as millions of people switch to working from home.


In a company statement, Disney said it had agreed to a European Union request for streaming-video providers to "ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure."
Anticipating higher consumer demand, the company is instituting measures to "lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25 percent in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th," said Kevin Mayer, head of Disney's Direct-to-consumer and International business.
In addition, the launch of Disney+ has been delayed in France by two weeks on request of the French government. Disney+ will now launch in the country the week of April 7.

Facebook yesterday also committed to downgrade video streaming quality across its social media platforms, including Instagram.

Last week, the European Union asked streaming services to consider temporary reductions in streaming quality due to the abnormally large number of people working from home and taking advantage of streaming services amid the viral outbreak. Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon all responded to the call.

Currently, streaming content providers have only been asked to lower streaming quality in Europe, so the lower streaming rates do not affect the United States and other countries. The United States has not called on streaming content providers to implement data reduction measures.

It's not clear how long Disney plans to stream with reduced quality and whether tweaks will be made for a better compromise between quality and data usage. Netflix said that it will continue using the lower quality stream for the next 30 days.
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French Regulators Fine Apple $1.2 Billion for Anti-Competitive Behavior

France's competition watchdog on Monday fined Apple 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for anti-competitive behavior in its distribution network and an abuse of economic dependence on its resellers, reports Reuters.

Two of Apple's wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were fined 63 million euros and 76 million euros respectively, for unlawfully agreeing on prices, the authority said.

"Apple and its two wholesalers have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products," it said.
Apple in its October earnings call said that France's competition authority had alleged that some aspects of its sales and distribution practices were in violation of French law, but did not provide details on which aspects of its business were under investigation.

Apple earlier this year was fined 25 million euros by French consumer fraud group DGCCRF for intentionally slowing down iPhone 6, ‌‌iPhone‌‌ SE, and ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 7 models with the power management software that was meant to prevent older iPhones with degraded batteries from shutting down during times of peak power usage.
Tag: France

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French Regulators Set to Levy Fine Against Apple for Anticompetitive Behavior

France's competition authority is set to fine Apple next Monday for anticompetitive behavior in its distribution and sales network, reports Reuters.


Specific details about the fine and the fine amount are expected to be announced next week, and there's no word yet on just how much Apple will owe.

Apple in its October earnings call said that France's competition authority had alleged that some aspects of its sales and distribution practices were in violation of French law, but did not provide details on which aspects of its business were under investigation.
In June 2019, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") issued a report alleging that aspects of the Company's sales and distribution practices in France violate French competition law. The Company vigorously disagrees with the allegations, and a hearing of arguments was held before the FCA on October 15, 2019. The Company is awaiting the decision of the FCA, which may include a fine.
Apple earlier this year was fined 25 million euros by French consumer fraud group DGCCRF for intentionally slowing down iPhone 6, ‌iPhone‌ SE, and ‌iPhone‌ 7 models with the power management software that was meant to prevent older iPhones with degraded batteries from shutting down during times of peak power usage.
Tag: France

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Apple Fined 25 Million Euros in France for Slowing Down Older iPhones With iOS Update

Apple has been fined 25 million euros by a French consumer fraud group for intentionally slowing down some iPhone models with a software update.


The Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF), which is part of the country's economy ministry, concluded that Apple had failed to inform users that iOS updates to older iPhones could slow down their devices.

The DGCCRF revealed its findings in a Friday press release:
"Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and after the agreement of the Public Prosecutor of Paris, the Apple group agreed to pay a fine of 25 M € in the context of a criminal transaction.

"Seized on January 5, 2018 by the Paris Prosecutor's Office to investigate the complaint of an association against Apple, the DGCCRF has shown that ‌iPhone‌ owners were not informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.

"These updates, released during 2017, included a dynamic power management device which, under certain conditions and especially when the batteries were old, could slow down the functioning of the ‌iPhone‌ 6, SE models. and 7."
The investigation followed Apple's admission in 2017 that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

When the ‌iPhone‌ slowdown controversy was at its height, Apple apologized for its lack of communication and offered affected customers cut-price iPhone battery replacements. The company has always maintained that the features are designed to preserve the life of the ‌iPhone‌ for as long as possible, and were not implemented to force upgrades.

That being said, Apple has accepted an agreement with France's public prosecutor to pay the fine of 25 million euros and to publish a press release on its website for one month.



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Disney+ Likely to Cost £6.99 Per Month in UK, €7.49 in France

Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that Disney+ will launch in the United Kingdom and other select European countries on March 31, 2020.


Iger didn't mention how much European customers would have to pay to access its 500 feature films and over 7,500 shows, including the entire Pixar library and a raft of original content.

However, one MacRumors reader appears to have discovered the British and French pricing plans ahead of time, simply by switching between Apple accounts on his iPhone.

Jean-Marc first downloaded the Disney+ app from the US App Store using his US Apple ID, and then switched to his French Apple ID, followed by his British Apple ID. The Disney+ subscription screen subsequently presented him with the following monthly and yearly pricing plans.


  • France: €7.49 per month or €75.99 per year.

  • UK: £6.99 per month or £68.99 per year.
Of course, these prices haven't been officially announced by Disney and could be subject to change before the service launches in Europe next year.

However, given that Disney+ costs $6.99 per month in the U.S. (or $69.99 per year), it was pretty much expected that the dollar price would be mirrored in pound sterling.

As for the price in Euros, it's unclear if this applies only to France or to other Euro-using countries as well. We do know that Disney+ costs €6.99 in the Netherlands (€69.99 per year) because of its early trial there, so perhaps we can expect some variation between EU territories.

Otherwise, the annual prices given are equal to 12 months at €6.33/month and £5.75/month, respectively, offering a 16 percent saving over the monthly plan.

(Thanks, Jean-Marc!)


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Powerbeats Pro Now Available to Order in UK, France and Germany

Apple's Powerbeats Pro totally wireless earphones officially went on sale today in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, as predicted. However, the fitness-focused, Beats-branded earphones are only available in black, and stock appears to be limited.


As of writing, Apple's online UK store is switching between allowing customers to add the earphones to their bag, and graying out the Add to Bag button to prevent them from doing so. Delivery dates are also flipping between June 6-10 and "coming soon."

If you're having trouble ordering Powerbeats Pro via Apple's online store, try the Apple Store iOS app, as it appears to be allowing more orders to go to checkout. Customers can also try their luck ordering through the Beats website, which is quoting similar delivery dates.

Powerbeats Pro cost £219.95 in the UK and 249.95 euros in France and Germany. They're Apple's first totally wireless Beats earphones, featuring the same H1 chip as the second-generation AirPods for hands-free "Hey Siri" and faster connection speeds between the iPhone, Apple Watch, and other devices. They last up to nine hours per charge, with more battery life available on the go via an included charging case.

Powerbeats Pro are similar to traditional earbuds, with silicone tips that nestle in the ear and an earhook to hold them firmly in place. The silicone tips come in four sizes, but the earhooks, which wrap around the ear, are one size, and make sure the Powerbeats Pro stay firmly in place during physical activity.

The earphones are initially available in black only, with ivory, moss, and navy colors set to become available this summer, although Apple cautions that color availability is subject to change.

Powerbeats Pro have been on sale in Canada and the U.S. since early May. In June they will be available in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and Brazil in June.

For more info on Powerbeats Pro, check out our Powerbeats Pro guide.


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Powerbeats Pro Orders Begin This Friday in UK, France, and Germany

Apple's totally wireless Powerbeats Pro earphones become available to pre-order in the United Kingdom on May 31, according to a social media ad posted on the official Beats By Dre U.K. Twitter account.


The date was spotted in the small print at the end of the 15-second video short, which features British professional boxer Anthony Joshua and touts the nine hours of listening time offered by the fitness-focused earphones. The promotional ad originally went out on May 27.

The black Powerbeats Pro have been available to pre-order since May 3 in the United States and Canada, with the first deliveries to customers arriving on May 10. However, they remain listed as "coming soon" on Apple's online U.K. store, while fine print on the Beats website for the U.K., France, and Germany simply states that the earphones will begin their rollout later in May.

Extrapolating from the U.K. date in the ad, and given how late in the month we now are, it's highly likely that Powerbeats Pro will also be available to pre-order in black in France and Germany from this Friday, May 31.

According to the fine print on other regional Beats websites, Powerbeats Pro will be available in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and Brazil in June.

The earphones are initially available in black only, with ivory, moss, and navy colors set to become available this summer in the United States and Canada, and most of the countries listed above, although Apple cautions that color availability is subject to change.


Powerbeats Pro are Apple's first totally wireless Beats earphones, featuring the same H1 chip as the second-generation AirPods for hands-free "Hey Siri" and faster connection speeds between the iPhone, Apple Watch, and other devices.

The Powerbeats Pro feature adjustable, secure-fit ear hooks and earbud tips with four size options. As mentioned, they last up to nine hours per charge, with more battery life available on the go via an included charging case.

Powerbeats Pro are priced at $249.95 in the United States, $329.95 in Canada, £219.95 in the United Kingdom, and $349.95 in Australia.

Thanks, Chris!


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Apple Pay Expands to BNP Paribas and HSBC Banks in France

Apple Pay adoption received a big boost in France today as two major banks officially announced their support for Apple's mobile payment system.


HSBC officially launched a dedicated support page for Apple Pay, confirming an earlier discovery by French tech news site iphon.fr.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas made good on an announcement last month to bring Apple Pay support to its customers by announcing the compatibility of its Visa bank card with Apple's digital wallet on compatible Apple devices.


BNP Paribas and HSBC join 25 other banks that support Apple Pay in the country, although Apple has yet to update its European Apple Pay bank partners page to reflect the change.

Apple Pay first launched in the United States in October 2014 and has since expanded to many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Ireland, and Ukraine.

(Thanks, Adrian!)

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: France

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Apple Agrees Deal With France to Pay Back-Taxes

Apple has reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, according to multiple reports today.


Apple's French division confirmed the tax payment agreement to Reuters, but didn't disclose how much it had agreed to pay, although French media have suggest the sum is around 500 million euros ($571 million).
"As a multinational company, Apple is regularly audited by fiscal authorities around the world," Apple France said in a statement. "The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company's French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts."
France has been working diligently to stop tech companies like Apple from exploiting tax loopholes in the country. The loopholes are said to have allowed Apple to "minimize taxes and grab market share" at the expense of Europe-based companies.

French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the leaders behind the tax crackdown on international tech companies, with a goal of bringing a more unified corporate tax system across the nineteen euro area states.

Apple has had trouble with tax activist groups accusing the company of wide-scale tax evasion and occupying its Parisian retail stores. In February 2018, Apple sued the activist group "Attac" for its protests in stores, but the High Court of Paris denied Apple's request for an injunction that would have blocked the group from protesting.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: France, tax

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Apple Previews New Champs-Élysées Store in Paris, Opening This Sunday

Apple today officially announced its latest retail store, Apple Champs-Élysées in Paris, located on one of the French city's most iconic streets. The store opens on Sunday and will replace the nearby Apple Carrousel du Louvre, which permanently closed in October.

The store occupies a Haussmann-era apartment building, featuring what Apple is calling its "grandest" Forum dedicated to free Today at Apple sessions, which focus on photography, music, coding, and design. In the first week, Apple Champs-Élysées will host sessions with popular musicians, filmmakers, animators and more.

"The energy in Paris is electric and it will be one of our premier cities for Today at Apple," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail. "I hope that everyone who visits Apple Champs-Élysées will be inspired to unlock their creative curiosity and learn something new."
Apple has restored the facade and entryway, and extended the Burgundy stone from the exterior throughout the building. Meanwhile on the upper levels, French oak parquet floors detail the interconnected spaces of the Parisian apartment.

"Working within a historic Parisian building is a great responsibility and a phenomenal opportunity," said Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer. "Our first priority was to honor the history of the building, while thoughtfully updating it to create spaces both grand and intimate. The carefully interweaving layers are warm and light filled, celebrating the timeless spirit of the city."
Environmental concerns have also played a part in the architectural design at Apple Champs-Élysées. For example, the courtyard is covered by a roof light that provides natural illumination and helps generate renewable energy, thanks to integrated photovoltaic panels. In addition, an integrated rainwater collection system provides water for the bathrooms, trees and green walls, ensuring the store maintains Apple's commitment to 100 percent renewable energy.

More than 330 employees, including over 100 new hires, will welcome customers when Apple Champs-Élysées opens its doors on Sunday at 12.00 p.m. local time.


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