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Australia suspends ads on YouTube; Apple wins over Australian banks

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent technology and startup news in Australia and New Zealand.


* Australian Senator Scott Ryan's website on March 31 announced that the government is suspending "all noncorporate campaign advertising" from Google Inc.'s YouTube Inc. The decision was based on the advice of the government's media agency, Dentsu Mitchell, which is also the flagship PR agency of the Dentsu Aegis Network, the statement said. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it denied authorization to Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp., National Australia Bank Ltd. and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd. to collectively bargain with Apple Inc. and collectively boycott Apple Pay, according to a March 31 news release. The regulator was not satisfied that the benefits of such an action will outweigh any detriments.


* Israeli cybersecurity company CyberGym will transfer its headquarters to Melbourne, Victoria, and is looking to raise about A$30 million for its IPO on the ASX, the Australian Financial Review reported April 3. CyberGym provides cybersecurity trainings to organizations, which includes simulations and coaching, to allow employees to properly respond in an instance of an attack.

* ANZ Bank has tapped Nuance Communications Inc. to allow customer payments of A$1,000 and above through the bank's mobile app using voice biometrics technologies, Business Insider Australia reported April 3.

* Australian online marketplace platform MyDeal will launch a new app and revamp its website following receipt of a A$5 million funding from Tony Gandel, son of property developer John Gandel, the Australian Financial Review reported April 3. The startup's first funding was made through Gandel Invest.

* Gogo Inc. will provide in-flight connectivity to Virgin Australia for its domestic and international services, according to a March 30 news release. Starting from April, Virgin Australia will begin customer testing of the service using Gogo's 2Ku technology on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

* Inc. may have a range of shopping services established in Australia by the end of 2018, Fairfax Media reported March 29, citing Brittain Ladd, a former executive for Amazon Global Logistics. The e-commerce giant plans to "launch as many services and products as possible within Australia," including Amazon Prime, Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh, according to Ladd.

* Facebook Inc. Global Retail Chief Martin Barthel encouraged retailers to adopt a mobile-first strategy in order to compete with Amazon when it arrives in the country, the Australian Financial Review reported March 29.

* Facebook, Google and other multinational companies are now paying tax in Australia based on their profits in the country instead of shifting income to low-tax countries, The Associated Press reported March 21. Australia will receive an extra A$2 billion in taxes in the current fiscal year because of the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law.

* Apple opened an office in Wellington, New Zealand, to develop augmented reality technology, The New Zealand Herald reported March 21. The iPhone maker also poached employees from Weta Digital, the New Zealand-based special effects company that worked on "King Kong" and "Avatar," according to the report.

* The government of South Australia began the A$2.8 million trial of driverless shuttles that intend to transport passengers to and from the Adelaide Airport, ZDNet reported March 21. The driverless shuttle initiative is part of the seven projects included in the government's A$10 million Future Mobility Lab Fund.

* Angus Taylor, the Federal government's assistant minister for digital transformation, said that Australia is eyeing to spend A$900 million per year on tech startups in an attempt to deviate from traditional tech service providers such as IBM Corp., Business Insider Australia reported March 20. Taylor said that the government is looking to do small projects with startups because "the risk is lower, they're easier to manage, and if they get into trouble they're easier to deal with."