In U.S. and Europe, Some Oppose the Breakup of Big Tech

Many public figures have called for the breakup of leading technology companies, but the European Commission’s head of competition Margrethe Vestager is not one of them. She stated that breaking up such companies should be a remedy if it’s “the only solution to [their] illegal behavior.” “We don’t have that kind of case now,” she said, although she didn’t exclude a future possibility. In the U.S., conservatives and libertarians, who often oppose antitrust measures, are also pushing back against the move to break up Big Tech. Continue reading In U.S. and Europe, Some Oppose the Breakup of Big Tech

Apple Drops More on Ads for iPhone Than Its OTT Platform

Apple’s debut of its streaming service, Apple TV+, has garnered outsized attention. But an examination of Apple’s spending on marketing indicates the Silicon Valley company’s main priority is its new iPhone. In September and October this year, Apple spent a total of $71.9 million on iPhone ads and $40.3 million on Apple TV+ ads. In October, for example, Apple spent $19.9 million on television commercials for Apple TV+, but, according to measurement company iSpot.tv, only $38.6 million on the new iPhone. Continue reading Apple Drops More on Ads for iPhone Than Its OTT Platform

Google $2.1B Acquisition of Fitbit to Face Antitrust Scrutiny

Google is buying wearable fitness-tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. But the deal already faces antitrust scrutiny as well as concern about the massive amount of personal private health data that Google will gain with the purchase. Google stated — and Fitbit chief executive James Park reiterated — that health data would not be used for Google’s advertising business, but that might not be enough for regulators. The 12-year old Fitbit pioneered wearables before the advent of smartwatches. Continue reading Google $2.1B Acquisition of Fitbit to Face Antitrust Scrutiny

Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

Apple’s revenue climbed 1.8 percent to $64.04 billion, due to sales in wearables and services such as apps, mobile payments and streaming-music subscriptions. Meanwhile, iPhone sales fell 9.2 percent and profit fell 3 percent to $13.69 billion. The company’s operating expenses have also risen 9 percent as it embraced facial recognition for the new iPhone and increased R&D spending. In advance of the Apple TV+ debut on November 1, Apple held a gala event for “The Morning Show” at New York’s Lincoln Center. Continue reading Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

AT&T revealed more information about its HBO Max streaming service, scheduled to debut in May 2020. The service, priced at $14.99 per month, will be free for existing HBO and HBO Now subscribers, and premium AT&T customers, and feature shows from TV producer Greg Berlanti and actress/producer Mindy Kaling as well as content from HBO and Warner Bros. movie/TV library, including “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” It is also acquiring streaming rights for shows such as Comedy Central’s “South Park.” Continue reading AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

Tech Giants Ramp Up Lobbying as Legal Probes Continue

As lawmakers investigate Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for antitrust violations, these tech giants are boosting their spending on lobbying. Amazon spent $12.4 million, a 16 percent increase. In the first nine months of 2019, Facebook spent $12.3 million, almost 25 percent more than the same period last year. Apple and Microsoft increased their outlay, by 8 percent and 9 percent respectively. Although parent company Alphabet reduced spending on lobbying by 41 percent, Google spent $9.8 million through September 30. Continue reading Tech Giants Ramp Up Lobbying as Legal Probes Continue

Nvidia Introduces Two Next-Generation Shield TV Devices

Nvidia just launched two new Shield TV set-top boxes, making them the third generation after the 2015 debut and 2017 update. The new Shield TV 2019 Editions are both faster and offer a new remote. The Nvidia Shield TV, priced at $149.99, is housed in a new cylindrical form factor, with HDMI and microSD on the top and wired Gigabit Ethernet and power on the bottom. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro, priced at $199.99, maintains its existing design, with an upgraded Nvidia Tegra X1+ SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces Two Next-Generation Shield TV Devices

Advertisers Turn to Streaming Services For More User Data

As streaming services proliferate, so does the technology that tracks their viewers. AT&T, Roku, and ad giant Publicis, among others, are harvesting viewers’ email addresses and the devices they use to stream content. Privacy advocates are concerned, with Center for Digital Democracy executive director Jeff Chester calling the practice a “digital daisy chain of data-gathering on viewers.” But advertisers find the opportunity to gather the specific data available with streaming services too appealing to pass up. Continue reading Advertisers Turn to Streaming Services For More User Data

Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

Facebook, which has had a mixed relationship with news media, debuted Facebook News, a section devoted to news stories from a range of publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed and Business Insider. Most notably, Facebook is paying for use of the content, inking some deals that top $1 million, and letting professional journalists choose some of the stories to be published. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg urged all online platforms to support professional news outlets. Continue reading Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

Verizon Communications, the largest U.S. wireless provider, will provide a year of free access to Disney+ for its customers who have unlimited data plans. About half of Verizon’s 100+ million customers currently pay for an unlimited data plan. Disney’s new film and television streaming service will debut November 12 and cost $6.99 per month. Verizon will also offer a year of free Disney+ to its FiOS Internet and 5G home broadband subscribers. Disney+ is one of several new streaming services targeting Netflix’s dominance. Continue reading Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

Facebook to License News From Dow Jones Media Outlets

News Corp and Facebook inked a deal that will let the social media platform license headlines from The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones media outlets including the New York Post for its ad-free news section. The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News and Business Insider are other publications that have reached similar arrangements with Facebook. The New York Times is in talks with Facebook, but has not revealed whether it is close to a deal. News Corp’s deal was complicated by WSJ’s digital subscription business model. Continue reading Facebook to License News From Dow Jones Media Outlets

House Hearings Consider Balance of Competition, Privacy

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings that included testimony about how tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have collected significant quantities of data that give them a dominant market power that endangers consumer privacy. House Republicans, however, noted that strong data protection regulations in Europe, as well as other privacy regulations, could hurt competition among these companies. The hearing is the latest effort in the House’s antitrust investigation into digital giants. Continue reading House Hearings Consider Balance of Competition, Privacy

Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

For the second straight quarter, Netflix fell short of its subscriber-growth target. For some, this raises questions about Netflix’s ability to fend off competition in an increasingly crowded market, particularly as traditional media companies continue flooding the space with video-streaming services. On Wednesday, however, Netflix shares rose 8.5 percent based on news that the overall subscriber base did grow in the 3rd quarter, it didn’t lose domestic numbers, and it also saw strong international subscriber growth.

Continue reading Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

Facebook Falls, Amazon Rises, and Apple Holds Top Spot

In Interbrand’s latest Best Global Brands report, Facebook fell out of the top ten, dropping to 14th due to an estimated declined value of 12 percent. Amazon moved up to 3rd and The Walt Disney Company moved up to 10th. Apple remains in the top spot, with Google right behind. Previously, Facebook had grown in value each year of its existence up until 2017, when it came in 8th place on the list. But with incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal on its heels, the company’s value has dipped. 

Continue reading Facebook Falls, Amazon Rises, and Apple Holds Top Spot

Hulu Joins the Streaming Competition in Offering 4K Video

After removing it in 2018, Hulu once again has 4K content available via its service. This time around, 4K content can be accessed through Xbox One devices (Hulu will soon add 4K support for Amazon Fire TV, LG webOS and others). Formerly, Hulu had only made 4K content available via Apple TV 4K and Chromecast Ultra, and the content selection had been somewhat limited compared to rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Now, Hulu has more original content under its belt to offer in 4K, including hits like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The First,” “Castle Rock,” and others. 

Continue reading Hulu Joins the Streaming Competition in Offering 4K Video

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