Black Friday and other dark days

As I write this, it is the so called Black Friday. Where shoppers fight for their place at the head of the queue, in order to spend their hard earned cash on things at knock down prices for Christmas.
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek MartinJPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Really, there has been fighting and tussles going on in major stores. What has this got to do with technology? Well, those self same retailers have found their websites have gone down for the count, with the massive volume of traffic piling in from homes and offices nationwide. Curry’s have cunningly got a countdown on their site, which delays access for 30 minutes. I suspect this is so that they can control the number of visitors and thus prevent more crashes, but it may just turn people away.

On to more black Friday news (notice the lack of capitalisation), for this week has seen some alarming things coming out of the EU (again).

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From the 1st of January 2015, VAT on digital downloads will now be chargeable from the place of purchase, rather than the place of supply. This is being done in an attempt to stop large businesses (like Amazon and Google) from supplying downloads in countries with low VAT rates and thus avoiding costs to themselves and a nice bit of income for the respective countries. However, and this is a big however, it affects all businesses, large or small. Sole traders too. If you supply digital downloads, you could very well find yourself required to register for VAT in every member state of the EU. Failing that there is a complicated mechanism you can use if you register for VAT here. Both situations sound like a bit of a nightmare to me.

Digital services are unaffected by this.

The Telegraph has a more in depth read here

More black news, at least for one giant company. There are calls from the EU for Google’s search business to be broken away from the rest of Google. So far it is only a recommendation from the EU, so not enforceable. It is interesting to note that although the EU at large has a growing mistrust in big businesses from across the pond, the lobbyists in this case who are pushing for Google to be broken up, are in fact American competitors. Is Google likely to be broken up? I would certainly hope not. One reason that many people use Google’s products and services is the level of integration. Any break up of the company would surely ruin that for millions of people. You can read more about the EU vote on the New York Times site

Well, that is enough about black Fridays. I am now looking forward to Cyber Monday!

Alan Stainer