Tech targets: American companies abroad, Chinese-made gear in the U.S.

The tech industry, it’s global. And that’s the problem:

• France and its tech concerns — many of which reflect Europe’s, too — are front and center lately. Telecoms in Europe are asking American tech companies to share the costs of delivering services to Internet users. For example, Internet service providers want the the companies to share in bandwidth costs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Monday, France ordered Free, an ISP, to stop blocking Google ads — something it had begun to do last week.

“An Internet service provider cannot unilaterally implement such blocking,” Fleur Pellerin, the French minister for the digital economy, reportedly said at a news conference. Free is also being investigated for limiting access to Google-owned YouTube, according to the New York Times.

But Pellerin also seems to understand the telecoms’ point of view: “In coming years, with the arrival of connected TV, Google TV, Apple TV and Amazon TV, there’s going to be more and more massive bandwidth consumption, and the question is who will pay for the necessary investments,” she said, according to the WSJ.

Like other big, public American tech companies, Google’s success and huge profits are well-known. As we have mentioned on GMSV, the search giant has also been targeted by newspaper companies including those in France, Germany and Brazil, whose content Google links to and which want a cut of the Silicon Valley company’s ad revenue.

• In other news about targeting Western companies, India is considering a proposal that would require a large amount of high-tech goods sold there to be made there. The Wall Street Journal reports that among those affected would be companies such as Cisco Systems, Dell, IBM, Nokia and Ericsson.

The proposal comes out of India’s concerns about its growing reliance on high-tech imports, and also security. The plan started as something that would apply only to government agencies, but it expanded to include private companies.

“India is the largest free-market democracy in the world. To mandate local manufacturing is antithetical to the very concept of a free marketplace,” Ron Somers, president of the U.S.-India Business Council, told the WSJ. In addition, Akshay Grover, an analyst at Ernst & Young, said “there’s no support system for manufacturing” in India.

• And in the United States, nuclear weapons lab Los Alamos replaced network switches that were made in China because of national-security concerns, Reuters reports.

The switches were made by H3C, which was originally a joint venture between 3Com (which Hewlett-Packard bought in 2010) and China’s Huawei Technologies. In October, a U.S. government report identified Huawei as a national security threat. (See GMSV coverage.)

But get this: The Reuters article says Huawei sold its stake in the H3C partnership in 2007. Still, the report says, it’s unclear when the components were made or put in place at the New Mexico lab.

HP reportedly is sticking up for the H3C switches: “As a leader in networking, HPN ensures our product portfolio meets or exceeds the security requirements of our government and commercial customers. This industry-leading effort is performed by United States citizens in the U.S.,” an HP spokeswoman said.



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