The signs were there, but did either cable giant see them?
This past Friday, the Comcast Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger was officially canceled. A report by Bloomberg Business indicates the resistance by both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in play for quite a bit longer than just the week prior to when the deal was nixed.
Penalties of up to $16,000 could be assessed for each call
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in March 2009. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, is jointly litigating the case with four state co-plaintiffs -- California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.
Following deal with Appeals Court, all parties restart with fresh attitudes
Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed monitor for Apple's anti-trust compliance policies, demonstrated a marked change in attitude towards the company in his latest report, the first since a Court of Appeals and the DOJ significantly scaled back his powers of investigation and range of allowable duties following Apple complaints in February. A change of "point of contact" with the company has resulted in Apple being "more cooperative" than previously, Bromwich said.
Will fight Bromwich appointment, 'roving' investigation, excessive fees and qualifications
Apple has officially filed for an appeal of US District Judge Denise Cote's recent decision, which denied both Apple's request to suspend an antitrust external compliance monitor (ECM) while an appeal of the main judgement is considered, and a request to disqualify the current appointee, Judge Cote's personal friend and former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich.
Controversial 'monitor' shows himself to be biased, Apple argues
Apple has filed a formal request with the same judge that appointed the antitrust compliance monitor to have him removed, citing a wide range of complaints and accusations of overreach -- including the monitor's own recent declarations, which the company says prove a pre-existing bias. Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich was a controversial choice for the post due to his lack of antitrust experience and personal relationship with the judge, among other problems and conflicts of interest.
Will not interfere in Apple deals with movies, TV, music however
Judge Denise Cote, who presided over the e-book price-fixing trial between Apple and the US Department of Justice, has softened or eliminated a number of restrictions recommended by the DOJ since it emerged victorious in the trial; however, she said in a hearing on Tuesday that she does plan to require Apple to hire an external monitor whose job would be to review the company's internal antitrust compliance program.
After pre-trial remarks, suddenly questions DOJ interpretation
Additional testimony and questioning in the DOJ e-book price-fixing trial against Apple has turned the nature of the case -- which has already become more into a inquiry of Amazon's misdeeds than of Apple's -- so far away from where the DOJ wanted it to go that even Apple's own lawyers sat up and took notice when Judge Denice Cote asked a key question during Friday's hearing. Cote, who in various pre-trial statements had made it crystal clear she believes the DOJ's original claims against Apple, injected doubt into a key part of the prosecution's case.
Fights to save settlement with three publishers
The Department of Justice has filed its response to Apple's call for the settlement with three of the major publishers to be dismissed or suspended at least until after the trial in which the DOJ accuses Apple and two other publishers of colluding to fix e-book prices. In it, the DOJ accuses Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan of causing "unmistakable consumer harm."
Date a compromise between Apple, DOJ requested dates
Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has set the e-book antitrust bench trial, which pits the Department of Justice against Apple and two of the five major book publishers, to June 3, 2013. The date is much later than Apple wanted, but much earlier than the Department of Justice wanted. Apple was hoping to get the trial underway as soon as possible, citing a cloud over the industry and damage to its reputation. The DOJ had pushed for a much later start date, claiming that Federal investigators needed until March 2013 just to gather evidence, and that Apple was rushing the case.
iTunes, Hulu, Netflix traffic allegedly discriminated against
The Justice Department is allegedly in the midst of a large-scale antitrust investigation focusing on potentially anticompetitive practices by cable companies that compete with online video purveyors such as Apple's iTunes store, Hulu, or Netflix. Regulators are said to be attempting to determine if Comcast violated a net-neutrality agreement to not discriminate against competitors that send data through its Internet service to reach customers, though the broad probe is claimed to involve other cable companies.
Federal complaint dropped, civil suit pending
One of the defendants dealing with multiple antitrust lawsuits has settled the overall complaint filed by many states' attorneys general. As a result, Judge Denise Cote granted a motion on Tuesday to dismiss Simon & Schuster from the federal complaint. The terms of the settlement have not been provided.
Hitachi-LG veteran to face prison
The US Department of Justice stated Monday that a Hitachi-LG Data Storage executive had admitted to price fixing charges. Senior Sales Manager Woo Jin Yang agreed to face reduced prison time of six months, as well as pay a $25,000 fine, for artificially raising the bidding prices of CD and DVD drives sold for HP PCs. Between August 2006 and February 2009, Yang, three others, and an unnamed company had swapped information on prices, market share, and sales data at HP contractor shows to establish higher prices rather than compete for HP's business.
Bissinger hurt by Apple, Amazon no-lower-price war
The insistence on having no lower prices at e-book stores has had a conspicuous if brief casualty, according to an account. Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger shared with the New York Times that he had had his sequel book, After Friday Night Lights, pulled by Amazon after it was chosen by Starbucks as a Pick of the Week and given away through Apple's iBookstore for free through redemption codes. Amazon's automatic price check forced the Kindle price to zero, leaving online publisher Byliner.com no choice but to pull the book if it didn't want Bissinger to lose money and jeopardize the Starbucks deal.
Barnes and Noble gets investment, truce
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft on Monday settled an Android patent dispute through a union. An e-reading partnership, Newco, will see Microsoft take a $300 million, or 17.6 percent, stake in a project that should merge Barnes & Noble's Nook business and its college division. In return for the funding, Barnes & Noble will make a Nook app for Windows 8 to help foster textbooks on future Microsoft-powered tablets.
iBookstore may be forced to change in Canada too
The US lawsuit over e-book pricing was quietly preceded by civil lawsuits in Canada. An interview with Quebec attorney Normand Painchaud confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that he had asked for class action status on a lawsuit against Apple and the same five major publishers targeted by the US government. Other lawsuits have been filed in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.
Apple eager to determine case in court
Apple on Wednesday stated that its confronting a Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing was deliberate. Attorney Daniel Floyd told Judge Denise Cote that Apple believed the lawsuit was "not an appropriate case" and wanted to prove itself in court. The company wanted this to be "decided on the merits," Reuters heard while observing Floyd at a hearing.
Apple publicly responds to DOJ lawsuit
Apple after silence through the past two days responded Thursday to the Department of Justice lawsuit over alleged e-book pricing collusion. Spokesman Tom Neumayr flatly rejected the accusations when asked for comment by AllThingsD, recapping the company's objections to the European Union that the iBookstore was beneficial as it was created. The iPad-focused store kept Amazon from having excessive control and improved e-books themselves, Neumayr said, pointing out that the move beyond the Kindle format also upgraded books themselves.
DOJ starts lawsuit to force fair e-book prices
(Updated with settlement news) As suspected, the US Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers over claims of unfair e-book pricing. The complaint accuses Apple of colluding with publishers by both requiring a switch to an agency model, where publishers set the prices and ask for more, as well as demanding "most favored nation" status where no rival could have a lower price than the iBookstore. Some publishers are believed to have settled, but Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are all targeted.
DOJ may decide Apple must be forced to change
A pair of sources said Tuesday that the Department of Justice may sue Apple over its e-book pricing concerns as soon as tomorrow, April 11. Deals were being wrapped up with "several" publishers this week, Reuters had heard, but Apple wasn't in discussions and could face legal action soon. No final decision had been made, which given the timing could see a lawsuit moved until later.
Apple may be last to bend on e-book truce
Some progress has been made on trying to negotiate a settlment on e-book antitrust disputes in the US and Europe, insiders disclosed Wednesday. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have reportedly agreed to terms that would dissolve the iBookstore deals they struck, the Wall Street Journal said, which gave them control over pricing and required that they offer no lower price than at Apple's store. Apple, Macmillan, and Pearson, however, were claimed to be "reluctant" to make a deal.
Leaks have Apple giving up lowest-price claue
Apple may be ready to make important concessions to settle a possible Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing, a pair of sources claimed Friday. Although not concrete, a deal could come "in the next few weeks," the Reuters insiders said. The core of the deal would revolve around Apple dropping its "most favored nation" clause, which bars publishers from offering a lower price at other stores.
Verizon raises chance of pay TV on mobile for deal
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in conversation Thursday raised the prospect of a mobile video service to try and secure its cable provider spectrum deal. He argued to the Wall Street Journal that an "integrated" service, where paid TV subscribers could watch the content on a device like a phone or tablet, could be ready by the end of the year. The offer would take advantage of a companion part of the deal, where either company could sell a service from the other.
EU deal may avoid penalty over Apple book pricing
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in comments Monday said his agency was willing to settle with publishers over an e-book price fixing investigation. He was willing to put an end to possible penalties for Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan if they addressed "all our objections [at the EC]" over the group allegedly raising prices unfairly, Reuters heard. The European regulator was working in tandem with matching US investigators, although he didn't directly confirm leaks of a possible Department of Justice lawsuit.
Apple denies Jobs admitted e-book collusion
Apple on Thursday hoped to rebut claims that its late CEO Steve Jobs had admitted to collusion with publishers as part of a class action lawsuit filed against it. It believed that the lawsuit's view that comments Jobs made on publishers being "unhappy" with Amazon and iBookstore pricing leveling costs weren't the surefire evidence the plaintiffs thought it was. The beliefs of a pact against Amazon's low prices was just "antitrust buzzwords" that belied steps Apple had taken to level the playing field, as well as the nature of the iPad itself.
DOJ warns Apple must change iBookstore rules
The US Department of Justice is readying an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers unless they change their pricing strategy for e-books, leaks revealed Wednesday night. Agency officials reportedly slipped to the Wall Street Journal that both the iPad designer as well as Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster would face legal action for possibly having colluded on e-book pricing. DOJ prosecutors objected to Apple's since confirmed insistence on an agency model, where publishers set the price, as it allegedly kept e-book prices artificially inflated.
Google may pick its own to control Motorola
New leaks suggest Google may appoint one of its own to control Motorola. A trio of Bloomberg sources understood that Dennis Woodside, who was already helping with the Google-Motorola integration, would replace Motorola's current CEO Sanjay Jha. Both Google and Motorola candidates had been on the table, one said, such as Motorola Senior VP Christy Wyatt.
EU seen as likely to approve Google buy as US
Two insiders claimed Friday that the European Commission was likely to approve Google's acquisition of Motorola. In sync with talk of a likely US approval, Reuters understood that the EU regulatory body would greenlight the deal in "unconditional" form. The EC had reportedly decided that the takeover wouldn't be anti-competitive.
DOJ may OK Google-Motorola with conditions
The Department of Justice is leaning towards approving Google's takeover of Motorola, insiders leaked Wednesday. It wasn't clear what the motivating reasons were in the Wall Street Journal tip, but the approval could be publicized as soon as next week. Regulators would mostly be watching to see if Google abused the patents it would get with Motorola to attack competitors.
Google takes Apple director Simon Prakash
Signs that Apple and Google are honoring laws barring no-poaching deals may have surfaced this weekend after new tips that Google had hired away one of Apple's veterans. VentureBeat understood that Simon Prakash, Apple's senior director for product integrity, had been hired away to work on a "secret project." He would reportedly start on Monday.
DOJ shows no hiring conspiracy, but small deals
Newly publicized evidence in the wake of an agreement to stop no-poaching deals among Silicon Valley technology companies has shown that several firms did ultimately have deals but stopped short of colluding on a larger level. Although short on details of the supposed Apple-Google agreement, an e-mail message from Adobe Senior VP of human resources Theresa Townsley confirmed that Adobe and Apple had an informal rule against hiring each other's staff. At least in 2005, Adobe chief Bruce Chizen and Apple's Steve Jobs had blocked attempts to get each other's staff.
ATT completes Qualcomm LTE spectrum deal
AT&T on Tuesday formally completed its purchase of Qualcomm airwaves. The $1.9 billion deal gives it access to 700MHz frequencies it will use to boost the coverage for its LTE-based 4G network. The extra spectrum's reach is wide enough to cover nearly all of the US, at 300 million potential users.
FCC gives light conditions to ATT-Qualcomm deal
The Federal Communications Commission has quickly acted on its promise to reexamine AT&T's purchase of Qualcomm spectrum by approving the deal on Thursday. A three-to-one vote will give AT&T the 700MHz frequencies that Qualcomm was using on its short-lived Flo TV service. AT&T will primarily have to guarantee against interference and allow roaming from phones and tablets on rival networks.
DOJ worried about collusion on Verizon spectrum
The Department of Justice on Tuesday said it was investigating Verizon's plans to buy cable companies' wireless spectrum. The agency was investigating whether or not taking the usually 1,700MHz space from Bright House, Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable raised competitive problems. Officials are reportedly concerned that the deal amounted to collusion rather than fostering competition.
ATT ends troubled T-Mobile takeover attempt
AT&T on Monday said it planned to drop its attempt to buy T-Mobile. Citing opposition from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, it decided to enter a "mutually beneficial" roaming deal with T-Mobile to share each other's capacity. AT&T would pay its promised $4 billion in combined breakup fees to T-Mobile in response to the failed deal.
ATT makes no progress on T-Mo asset sale offers
AT&T isn't making any progress in its attempts to sell T-Mobile assets to rescue its attempted buyout of T-Mobile, insiders uncovered Sunday. Discussions with smaller carriers have reportedly "gone cold," the Wall Street Journal heard. Among other problems, attempts to sell assets to Leap for its Cricket service fell as doubts existed that even this could salvage AT&T's proposed T-Mobile merger.
C Spire and Sprint to wait and see on ATT T-Mobile
C Spire and Sprint together were granted motions on Tuesday to freeze their lawsuits against AT&T over its proposed takeover of T-Mobile. Filed in tandem with AT&T, they agreed to stop in the wake of the Department of Justice staying its case. The two CDMA carriers implied they would resume action if AT&T tried restarting the takeover process.
ATT hints second thoughts on DOJ trial on merger
AT&T and T-Mobile together asked the judge in the Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit to stay the process until January 18. The two, supported by the DOJ itself, wanted time to "evaluate all options," the carriers said in a statement. It hinted that no option was off the table, including either major concessions or leaving it unchanged in what would likely be a decision to exit the deal altogether.
FCC gives ATT 180 days approval window for 700MHz
The FCC on Friday posted that it had restarted the informal shot clock for approval of AT&T's buying Qualcomm's 700MHz spectrum. Retroactively applying the start to November 29, the federal agency expects to decide within 180 days whether or not it approves the handover. Most expect the AT&T to clear the deal given that Qualcomm wouldn't be using the spectrum following the end to its MediaFLO TV service.
ATTmay have tried too hard to get T-Mobile deal
AT&T's stopped buyout of T-Mobile was hurt by relying on its own usual government lobbying tactics, an exposé revealed Friday. Government regulators and politicians grew alarmed, not reassured, when AT&T began pushing hundreds of non-technology organizations to endorse the merger, the Washington Post learned from interviews. They interpreted the unusually vocal support, which usually came from groups that took AT&T contributions, as a sign AT&T didn't believe it could get approval on merits.
Has set aside $10b in anticipation of closing deal
Despite strong opposition from US regulators, AT&T CFO John Stephens asserted that the carrier will keep trying with its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. At the UBS media conference just held in New York City, he insisted that the carrier would "continue to move forward" in spite of the Department of Justice lawsuit and withdrawing the FCC application. To prepare for the closing of the $39 billion T-Mobile deal, AT&T revealed it plans to use $10 billion cash it has accumulated on its balance sheet.
ATT may talk to DT for frequency deal
AT&T has raised the idea with T-Mobile's parent Deutsche Telekom of a network joint venture if the now doubtful T-Mobile merger isn't approved, insiders divulged Wednesday. The two are purportedly in early talks that the Wall Street Journal understood would see them share parts of each other's network, even as they ran separate competitive businesses. The deal is considered a "back burner" option but was gaining momentum as resistance grew to the merger.
FCC greenlights ATT quitting T-Mobile application
The FCC during a conference call Tuesday cleared AT&T's withdrawal of its application for the T-Mobile merger. It countered AT&T's claims to a 'right' to withdraw with the assertion that the agency had the option to keep the application intact. FCC officials had decided to let AT&T back out because it would be "unfair" to everyone involved, the regulator said during the call.
ATT may have last-ditch T-Mobile merger concession
Coming with unusual timing, a claim late Friday had AT&T planning a last-ditch proposal to try and clear the T-Mobile merger. Under the proposal to the Department of Justice mentioned to Bloomberg, AT&T would divest as much as 40 percent of T-Mobile's assets. The figure would be the most AT&T could offer under the terms of the merger before it would have to pay the same fee it would if the merger was rejected outright.
ATT insists FCC must allow exit from merger
AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts warned the FCC that the carrier might sue if it wasn't allowed to withdraw its T-Mobile merger application. Reacting to the FCC saying only that it would "consider" allowing the withdrawal, Watts argued that the FCC "has no right to stop us" and that it would be an "abuse of procedure" if the FCC didn't allow it. The company would take any dispute to court, he said.
AT&T and T-Mobile deal in danger of collapsing
AT&T and T-Mobile have withdrawn their application to the FCC for their planned merger. Following the FCC’s decision to conduct a hearing on the validity of the proposed merger, the two companies have switched their focus to gaining approval from the Department of Justice. AT&T has also indicated it expects to book a pretax $4 billion charge in the fourth quarter for a break-up fee to T-Mobile should the deal fall through.
FCC believes hearing needed on ATT merger
The FCC during a call Tuesday said it would conduct a hearing on the validity of AT&T's proposed buyout of T-Mobile. Its agenda would follow after the conclusion of the Department of Justice lawsuit, if it doesn't block the merger, and would be conducted as a "trial-type" case. Opponents like Sprint could participate, and sides would have to bring witnesses as well as carry supportable evidence, the FCC said.
Barnes and Noble says Microsoft licenses illegal
Barnes & Noble has quietly taken its allegations of Microsoft antitrust abuse to a formal level, according to newly-publicized documents. The company is now known to have sent a letter to the Department of Justice's chief competition counsel Gene Kimmelman on October 17 claiming that Microsoft's anti-Android patent licensing campaign was meant to artificially "drive out competition" and make companies choose Windows-based platforms. It contended that Microsoft's lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec was more to silence competition from the Nook and other devices than any attempt to protect claimed innovations.
Sprint must show what iPhone does in DOJ case
AT&T claimed a minor victory after a rare weekend ruling saw Sprint required to hand over requested documents where Apple played a large role. Judge Levie claimed it was "entitled" to know what Sprint's iPhone 4S deal and other recent additions would do to its market share as part of its defense against the Department of Justice's antitrust case blocking the T-Mobile merger. Levie further chastised Sprint for those documents it had already given, noting that they were over half a year old.
ATT asks court to require Sprint competition plans
AT&T retaliated against Sprint's attempt to get corporate documents in a Department of Justice lawsuit on Wednesday through a court request that would potentially force Sprint hand over its own information. The larger carrier's motion to compel would require that Sprint hand over documents on 47 areas explaining how it planned to compete whether or not AT&T's merger with T-Mobile was approved. The request would ask for some of Sprint's most confidential information, including possible discussion of a Sprint buyout of T-Mobile should AT&T be rejected.
ATT claims Sprint denying valuable defense
AT&T on Friday asked the judge in the Sprint lawsuit against the T-Mobile deal to force Sprint to hand over documents it was seeking for its defense. The carrier claimed that Sprint hadn't answered a subpoena from September 26 for documents it hoped would help formulate a defense. The files covered relationships with companies Sprint had bought, such as Nextel and Virgin Mobile, as well as its partnership with Clearwire.