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Aug 27, 2008
The world of technology is in disarray and not just because of the old news that is the Yahoo takeover by Microsoft. The EU are at loggerheads with the US over the tariffs that are charged for high tech goods. The problem is focussed around the EU hiking up prices on a number of goods including multi-function printers and TV set-top boxes that have internet capabilities.

The US are not happy as they believe this to be in violation of the terms of the World Trade Organisations Information Technology Agreement, or ITA which eliminated duties om high tech products from 1997 to encourage trade. The EU began charging duties on these specified products since 2005 arguing that they are no longer exclusively high tech products, they are in fact consumer products and therefore fair game.

The US are none too happy about this and the mediations have broken down. The US have called in the World Trade Organisation asking them to mediate the situation as formal consultations between the US and EU to resolve the US concerns about the suspected violation of the 1996 WTO accord have broken down. The US believe that EU tariffs are inconsistent with the WTO accord and they discourage technological development in the IT sector.

Another organisation which has the net worth of a small nation which has been in the news recently is Apple. The word on the massively lucrative cyber street is that Apple has recently overtaken Google in the market value race. The source is in fact Mac Daily News however it has not been contested by anyone from Google, they claim that Apple is worth 157,012,662,240 dollars compared to Google at 156,392,862,560 leaving a difference of 619,799,680 dollars.

Although these figures look more like IP addresses, Microsoft are still the daddy with a net value of over 250 billion dollars. The unfathomable wealth of these companies could clear national debts of various developed counties, solve world hunger or fund the Elton John 70th Birthday party however at the moment the global battle of these companies still rages.

One of the top companies Google does seem to have a pre-occupation with worthy causes, as it has set a company called Google dot org which is researching into sustainable energy sources. 10.25 million dollars has been pumped into climate and energy initiatives such as solar thermal power and wind energy sources. Currently it might seem like a good cause as such, however Google could stand to make a bundle if the research bears fruit.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is a correspondent covering technology news and an expert on information technology.
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