Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

Facing opposition from regulators, Sprint has opted to bow out of its pursuit of T-Mobile. The deal would have valued T-Mobile at $32 billion and provided a stronger rival to Verizon and AT&T. Sprint, the country’s third largest wireless carrier, will now have to rebuild its declining subscriber base on its own, and is currently testing new price plans. The company also decided during a board meeting yesterday to replace CEO Dan Hesse with billionaire entrepreneur Marcelo Claure. Continue reading Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

SoftBank’s Sprint unit is reportedly poised to make a $32 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile that could take place early this summer. According to people familiar with the matter, the two telecoms have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger, but are still working on a formal contract. If completed and approved, the deal would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, and potentially establish stronger competition for industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. Continue reading Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Amazon is making books unavailable for pre-ordering and extending shipping times due to its dispute with one of the country’s largest publishers, Hachette Book Group. These tactics put pressure on Hachette as the two companies negotiate new terms of a deal for Amazon to sell the publisher’s books online. Amazon wants to increase its cut of the sales from Hachette books and e-books. In a statement Tuesday night, the online retailer said it does not expect the dispute to be resolved any time soon. Continue reading Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Charter Communications may have figured out another plan to become the nation’s second-largest cable operator, despite losing out to Comcast in its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. As part of a new three-part deal with Comcast announced yesterday, Charter plans to pick up subscribers that Comcast will be divesting. Should the deals be completed, Charter will acquire a stake in a new public company to be launched by Comcast, and swap subscribers with the cable giant. Continue reading Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Sprint Could Acquire T-Mobile to Better Compete with Rivals

Sprint, the third largest carrier in the U.S., may take over its smaller rival, T-Mobile. Sprint has received proposals from at least two banks on how to finance the acquisition. T-Mobile’s market value is reportedly around $26 billion, but the deal would likely cost $50 billion total, with approximately $20 billion going toward paying off T-Mobile’s debt. The potential takeover comes at a little more than a year from an expected government auction of wireless airwaves. Continue reading Sprint Could Acquire T-Mobile to Better Compete with Rivals

New FTC Chair Warns Companies About Consumer Data Privacy

The new chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Edith Ramirez, says that the agency will pursue a more active role in policing companies that gather large amounts of data, and that the FTC will not hesitate to sue for privacy and security violations. Ramirez wants more transparency from companies that collect consumer data, as well as to keep this data anonymous. Ramirez did not provide specifics regarding how the FTC will enforce data protection guidelines. Continue reading New FTC Chair Warns Companies About Consumer Data Privacy

Justice Department Seeks to Monitor Apple’s iTunes Store

On Friday, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to restrict Apple’s influence in the publishing marketplace and give the government oversight of the iTunes and App Stores. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan last month determined that Apple had conspired with five domestic book publishers to increase e-book prices. The government proposals could provide music, TV show and content owners leverage in negotiating digital distribution. Apple is appealing the ruling. Continue reading Justice Department Seeks to Monitor Apple’s iTunes Store

Obama Administration Vetoes ITC Ban on iPhones and iPads

In a rare move this weekend, the Obama administration vetoed the International Trade Commission’s ban on the import and sale of certain Apple iPhones and iPads. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman cited concerns regarding patent holders gaining “undue leverage.” He also noted the potential harm to consumers and competition in the economy. The veto reverses a legal victory for rival Samsung, although Froman said the company can continue to enforce its patents through the courts. Continue reading Obama Administration Vetoes ITC Ban on iPhones and iPads

Court Rules Former College Athletes Can Sue Electronic Arts

A federal appeals court is allowing a group of former college athletes to sue Electronic Arts over allegedly using their likenesses in video games without their permission. This is one of two legal actions this year against the company by former college players. EA has claimed First Amendment rights, but the appeals courts have disagreed. The issue also involves the NCAA and calls into question policies regarding profits generated from college sports and players. Continue reading Court Rules Former College Athletes Can Sue Electronic Arts

Advertising Giants Merge in Effort to Fend Off Silicon Valley

Advertising powerhouses Omnicom Group of the U.S. and Publicus Groupe SA of France announced a merger on Sunday that aims to fend off the growing competition from Silicon Valley tech companies including Google and Facebook. The new Publicis Omnicom Group will have combined revenue of nearly $23 billion. The Wall Street Journal describes the merger as “a $35.1 billion cross-border linkup that shows how Big Data is making Madison Avenue look more like Wall Street.” Continue reading Advertising Giants Merge in Effort to Fend Off Silicon Valley

Federal Judge Rules that Apple Colluded on E-Book Pricing

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday that Apple colluded with five U.S. publishers in 2010 to drive up the prices of e-books. The decision threatens to limit Apple’s options when negotiating future content deals and potentially exposes the company to additional investigation of its other business practices. The decision to go to trial was considered a significant risk for Apple since the publishers, after denying any wrongdoing, had already settled similar charges. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules that Apple Colluded on E-Book Pricing

FTC Chair Proposes Inquiry into Impact of Patent Trolls

Edith Ramirez, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, presented her recommendation for an investigation into the practices of “patent trolls” yesterday during a patent and antitrust seminar in Washington. Ramirez is calling for the FTC to use its subpoena power to launch a sweeping inquiry into patent-assertion entities (PAE’s, or patent trolls), which are known for purchasing bundles of patents in order to threaten infringement lawsuits. Continue reading FTC Chair Proposes Inquiry into Impact of Patent Trolls

Coalition of 38 States Draws Up Security Steps for Google

After a two-year investigation into whether or not Google’s Street View violates privacy protections, law enforcement officials have again told the company it is time to shape up. Google acknowledged breaches this week and said no longer will there be a scenario in which a midlevel engineer launches a program to secretly gather data from possibly millions of unencrypted global Wi-Fi networks, unbeknownst to his bosses. Continue reading Coalition of 38 States Draws Up Security Steps for Google

Justice Department Files Suit to Block T-Mobile Takeover

  • The Justice Department is blocking the proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T, citing the move would result in less competition and higher prices. AT&T said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the suit.
  • The FCC is also reviewing the deal and has “serious concerns” about its impact on competition. The antitrust challenge comes five months after the deal between the second- and fourth-largest cellphone companies in the U.S. was announced.
  • “The lawsuit is the Obama administration’s boldest antitrust challenge to date and the latest evidence of its intention to reinvigorate enforcement after what it says was a lull during the previous administration,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
  • However, the Justice Department left open the possibility of concessions which could lead to a settlement.

Microsoft to Hit Google with Antitrust Complaint

In the ongoing battle between two tech giants, Microsoft claims that Google is stifling competition in Europe where Google controls approximately 95 percent of the online search market. Microsoft also alleges that Google is limiting data from YouTube and other services. The Los Angeles Times reports that Microsoft Corp. plans to file a formal antitrust complaint against Google Inc., as part of the European Commission’s investigation launched last November.

This is the first time Microsoft has filed such a complaint against a rival.

“Google has done much to advance its laudable mission to ‘organize the world’s information,’ but we’re concerned by a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative,” wrote Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith online. “We’ve therefore decided to join a large and growing number of companies registering their concerns about the European search market.”

According to Smith, Google is limiting data from YouTube required to properly display search results for Microsoft’s Bing and other search engines. And while iPhones and phones running Google’s Android software have no problems with YouTube, Smith claims Google has blocked phones running Windows software from interacting properly with YouTube.

“These allegations raise important competition concerns, especially in light of Google’s market share,” Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin said, “and we’ll examine them more closely as we prepare for our antitrust hearing.”

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