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European Union approves €3.2 billion for battery tech R&D
by Paul Hill
The European Commission has approved €3.2 billion in funding for several projects across the European Union which seek to further develop new battery technologies. The money is being sourced from several EU member states including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Sweden. The public funding will allow for an additional investment of €5 billion from private firms.
The Commission’s Executive Vice President, Margrethe Vestager, said:
The public money will fund research into mining and processing of raw materials, the production of advanced chemical materials, the design of battery cells and modules and how they can be integrated into systems, and finally into methods of recycling or re-purposing used batteries. Funding these types of projects is one of the missions that Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission President, set out in her manifesto earlier this year.
By investing in research and development of battery technology, the EU hopes to meet its goals of becoming a zero-carbon economy by 2050. The funding could mean that products like electric cars have a larger battery capacity allowing for travel over greater distances, and ensuring that the technology is more environmentally friendly.
By Namerah S
Danske Bank announces Apple Pay support to customers in four European countries
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Starting today, all customers of Danske Bank will be able to use Apple Pay and the many services the application provides including contactless payments at retail locations, in-app purchases, and online shopping. This includes cardholders of the 145-year old Danish bank located in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, as stated in the announcing press release.
Both private and business customers of Danske bank will be able to use Apple's mobile payment application as long as they have a Visa or Mastercard bank card. The Apple Pay service can be activated via the Danske Mobile Banking app or through the Apple Wallet.
Katrine Mitens, head of Payments and New Ventures at Danske Bank, commented on the move:
Further information and terms and conditions concerning the use of Apple Pay with a Danske Bank account can be found on the European bank's official website (in Danish).
French President Macron not giving up on tech tax despite pressure
by Paul Hill
The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has said he’s not going to give up on his plans for an EU-wide sales tax on big technology firms such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The comment was made to reporters from Germany’s Zeit a day after the plans hit a stumbling block when the French couldn’t get the backing from the Danish, Irish, and Swedish governments.
In a short remark to reporters today, Macron said:
On Tuesday, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, was trying to defend the proposals in order to get all the governments on board with the plans. After he failed in that task he offered a concession saying that France would even support delaying the introduction of the tax until 2021.
Ireland’s opposition was likely due to the fact that it plays host to many big tech firms and this proposed tax could cause them to set up operations elsewhere in future. Meanwhile, Denmark cited retaliation from the United States as the reason why it wouldn’t get behind the current proposals.
For their part, the Germans are saying that the European Union should wait for an OECD position on digital tax before moving forward with the plans, and the Irish also agree with this. Only time will tell now if a heavyweight like Macron will be able to sway the minds of those resisting the tax.
By Hammad Saleem
Google Wifi availability expands to five more countries
by Hammad Saleem
It's been over a year since Google's Wifi router was introduced at a press event alongside the Google Pixel. Until now, it's been available in seven countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
The search engine giant has added five more countries to the list: Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Customers residing in these countries will be able to purchase the Google Wifi device through the company's store starting today. It can be purchased as a single product or a pack of three.
The pricing for a single product is as follows:
Denmark: 1,090 KR Finland: € 149 Netherlands: € 139 Norway: 1,390 KR Sweden: 1,490 KR For those who wish to buy the three product pack, here's how much that will set you back:
Denmark: 2,890 KR Finland: € 375 Netherlands: € 359 Norway: 3,590 KR Sweden: 3,690 KR No further details about other potential promotions or releases in other countries have been released.
The Surface Studio will be available in 13 additional markets starting mid-June
by Florin Bodnarescu
Back in November of 2016, Microsoft unveiled it 28-inch touchscreen-touting all-in-one called Surface Studio. At its event in Shanghai, Microsoft announced the Studio's pre-order availability in China - with shipments starting June 15 - and has also given some good news to people in 12 other markets.
You can now pre-order the computer in these new countries, with shipments starting June 15:
Austria - starts at €3,549 UK - starts at £2,999 France - starts at €3,549 Germany - starts at €3,549 The Netherlands - starts at €3,549 Switzerland - starts at 3,499 CHF China - starts at ¥ 25,988 Denmark - starts at 27,099 kr Finland - starts at 3,699 € Sweden - starts at 34,499 kr Norway - starts at 32,499 kr Note that only the store pages linked above have pre-orders available. The Studio is also coming to Hong Kong - whose store lists that the Studio is "coming soon" - and Japan. The latter of the two doesn't even have a listing at all at the time of writing.