U.S. government sues to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger [updated]

By on August 31, 2011 at 10:40 AM.

U.S. government sues to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger [updated]

The United States government has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, saying that such a deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market. Bloomberg reports that the complaint was filed by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, and the government is asking for a declaration that the proposed merger would violate U.S. antitrust laws. The complaint seeks to have the deal blocked as a result. “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing. AT&T has argued that it needs T-Mobile’s spectrum in order to improve service quality and cover the majority of the U.S. population with 4G LTE service.

UPDATE: AT&T has issued a statement in response to the DOJ lawsuit. The FCC has issued a statement as well, as has Sprint. More →

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Verizon wants Obama to curtail potential patent war damages

By on August 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM.

Verizon wants Obama to curtail potential patent war damages

Verizon Communications’ chief counsel Randal Milch wants United States President Barack Obama to limit potential damages relating to the ongoing patent wars sweeping technology companies in the U.S. As the number of patent complaints among major handset vendors around the world continues to grow, several companies have turned to the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to have the import and sale of alleged infringing products blocked. Milch recently circulated a chart showing all of the devices that may be banned in the U.S. due to patent complaints seeking injunctions, including the iPhone and several Android tablets, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Instead, the lawyer thinks President Obama should issue a blanket statement declaring that he will overturn any ruling that would block the importation or sale of wireless devices in the U.S. Verizon believes vendors found to be infringing on patents should only be forced to pay royalties to the relevant patent owners. More →

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Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

By on August 23, 2011 at 9:15 AM.

Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

Microsoft opened its case in front of the United States International Trade Commission on Monday in an attempt to block Motorola Mobility from selling its Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip smartphones in the U.S. Microsoft believes that Motorola Mobility is infringing on seven of its patents related to how a user interacts with calendars, contacts, email and more. “We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation David Howard told Bloomberg. “Motorola is infringing on our patents and we are confident that the ITC will rule in our favor.” Google recently announced its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in an effort to bolster its patent portfolio and help its Android partners fight in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft. A Motorola Mobility spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company is “vigorously defending … against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy,” and that the company has also “brought legal actions of our own in the U.S. and in Europe to address Microsoft’s large scale of infringement of Motorola Mobility’s patents.” The U.S. ITC expects to conclude its investigation of the matter by March 5th. More →

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British Parliament member calls for BBM suspension following London riots

By on August 9, 2011 at 4:15 PM.

British Parliament member calls for BBM suspension following London riots

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has agreed to work with London authorities as they begin their investigation into recent riots. According to some Londoners, rioters were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, along with social networks such as Twitter, to organize the attacks. “It is clear that technology is being used, including in demonstrations, to direct people and undermine the police,” London’s deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told Bloomberg. “It is not for us to to moan about this, but to adapt policing style and deal with it.” RIM typically prides itself on the security of its BBM service and has denied access to governments worried the chat platform could be used for planning terrorist attacks. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” RIM wrote in a recent tweet. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” Read on for more. More →

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Apple blocks sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in EU

By on August 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM.

Apple blocks sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in EU

German news outlet Financial Informer reported on Tuesday that Apple has won a preliminary injunction to stop the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the whole of the European Union except for the Netherlands. The Regional Court of Düsseldorf appears to have sided with Apple’s claims that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on intellectual property related to the design of Apple’s iPad. Apple has a similar ongoing lawsuit in the Netherlands. Should Samsung continue to sell the tablet, the company could face fines of up to $350,000 for each violation. Foss Patents said the ruling in Germany will go into effect immediately, although Samsung could appeal the decision during another hearing. On August 1st, Apple blocked Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until courts there rule on whether or not the tablet infringes on 10 of Apple’s patents. Samsung agreed not to advertise or sell the device and Apple will pay damages if the South Korean company wins the Australian case.

More →

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Apple blocks Samsung from selling Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia

By on August 1, 2011 at 10:25 AM.

Apple blocks Samsung from selling Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia

Apple has inked an agreement with Samsung in Australia that prevents the South Korean company from selling its competing Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet there. According to Bloomberg, Samsung cannot sell the tablet until Australian courts rule whether or not the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on 10 Apple patents. Apple alleges that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 copies the touchscreen tech found on the iPad and also has the same “look and feel.” Samsung agreed not to advertise the device and Apple said it will pay damages should Samsung win the case. The two companies also have a number of ongoing legal battles in the United States and elsewhere. In April, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung and claimed the South Korean company had created a number of “copycat” devices. A court ruling forced Samsung to show Apple its new line of phones and tablets, but a Samsung request to see the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 was shot down. More →

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Apple files complaint with ITC to block import of Samsung smartphones and tablets

By on July 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM.

Apple files complaint with ITC to block import of Samsung smartphones and tablets

Last week Samsung filed an official complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) asking the government body to block the import of Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple flipped the tables on Samsung and has filed its own complaint with the ITC asking that it block the import of Samsung’s tablets and smartphones, Bloomberg said. The move follows Apple’s request to a U.S District Court in San Jose to block the import of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, DROID Charge and Nexus S 4G. The legal battle has been ongoing since Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung in April and accused the Korean phone maker of creating copycat devices that infringed on its intellectual property. Samsung bit back later in April and said that it will do everything it can to protect its own intellectual property. Meanwhile, U.S. courts have granted Apple access to Samsung’s most recent products, but have denied Samsung the same access to the Apple iPhone 5 and iPad 3. The legal battle could place strain on Samsung’s component business, which is expected to struggle during the second half of this year — Apple is the largest buyer of Samsung’s LCD products. More →

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Sprint CEO Dan Hesse working with state regulators to block AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition

By on June 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse working with state regulators to block AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition

Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse has been a staunch opponent to AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. He has already proclaimed that the merger would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market, and now he’s stepping up his game. “Clearly, purely, we want to win and block the merger,” Hesse told Bloomberg in a recent interview. Reportedly, the CEO is working with 18 state regulators to stop the deal, and has even been speaking to CEOs of large U.S. tech firms to get others to speak out against the acquisition. Hesse says he wants the best for the entire industry, not just for Sprint. “The industry just won’t be as innovative and as dynamic as it has been,” he said. “It’ll gum up the works when everything has to go through these two big tollbooths, one that’s called AT&T and one that’s called Verizon.” AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, has argued the opposite. Stephenson says the merger will improve reliability on his network and will result in net job growth. Despite AT&T’s backing from major industry players such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Qualcomm, Hesse isn’t giving up. “An underdog is not thinking about the point spread; they’re thinking about winning the game,” Hesse said. “We can win this.” More →

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Comcast, others blocking access to The Pirate Bay [Updated]

By on May 12, 2011 at 10:32 AM.

Comcast, others blocking access to The Pirate Bay [Updated]

Reports have begun sprouting up all over the Internet claiming that Comcast, and a handful of other ISPs, are blocking access to torrent treasure trove, The Pirate Bay. Being a Comcast customer here in Boston, I thought it might be a good time to test the reports. My findings: yup, they’re definitely blocking it. Attempts to navigate to thepiratebay.org result in a timeout error — I even switched DNS servers to make sure it wasn’t a name-server record error causing the behavior. After firing up my trusty VPN client and initiating a session, connectivity to the site was immediately restored. Comcast now has more impetus to bar connections to the torrent index — its merger with NBC Universal means that the ISP owns content that is potentially being shared illegally — but the blocking of sites that do not further a corporation’s interests is a very slippery slope. I’ve reached out to Comcast for comment and will report back with any additional information provided. Anyone else seeing this behavior? If so, drop us a comment and let us know where you are and what ISP you’re using.

UPDATE: Comcast has issued the following statement to BGR: “We’re not blocking PirateBay [The Pirate Bay] and reports online indicate users from several ISPs around the world are affected. We have FAQs about our network management practices available here.” More →

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Google rolls out domain blocking in search results

By on March 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM.

Google rolls out domain blocking in search results

Google on Thursday announced the availability of a new feature that allows users to block specific domains from appearing in their search results. Google has taken several measures lately in an effort to improve the quality of its search results, which can often become devalued by “content farms” and other sites that make it their business to game Google by churning out low-quality search friendly content. Beyond changes that Google has made to its algorithms, users can now take it upon themselves to weed out the junk that Google misses. When users click on a search result and then return to Google, they will now see an option to block domain that was clicked. The result is a customized search experience that will continue to improve over time as users block more domains. Google is currently in the process of rolling out the new feature, which should be available to all users soon. More →

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Fox blocking Google TV?

By on November 10, 2010 at 9:38 PM.

Fox blocking Google TV?

What’s the deal network television? No love for Google TV? Major broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have already put a software block in place preventing Google TV appliances from accessing their content, and now it seems like Fox is joining the party with its own anti-GTV stance. Blog gtvhub is reporting that basic cable network Fox is blocking access to its online streaming-video content from Google TV devices. Seems pretty lame to us. What do you think, does this affect the utility of Google’s TV software? More →

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India asks Google, Skype, and RIM for access to email and other data

By on July 4, 2010 at 9:05 AM.

India asks Google, Skype, and RIM for access to email and other data

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According to the Economic Times, India’s government has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) to send a notice to RIM, Skype, and Google requesting that each service open its email and other communication data to the Indian government. The data must be presented in a format that is readable by security and intelligence agencies and has given each company 15 days to comply with this request.  If a company fails to meet this deadline, it risks being banned or blocked by the government of India. This latest request escalates the ongoing dispute between RIM and India over access to RIM’s proprietary BIS and BES services and expands it to include these other service providers. Neither RIM, Skype, nor Google has responded to this latest request so we will have wait to see how this all turns out.

[Via ComputerWorld] More →

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China uses crowdsourcing and money to identify pornography on the internet

By on December 10, 2009 at 6:28 AM.

China uses crowdsourcing and money to identify pornography on the internet

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Crazy but true… China’s Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center is offering a monetary reward to online surfers who send in information about pornographic websites. The first person to send in information about a particular website will receive a reward of 1,000 ($146) to 10,000 ($1,460) yuan with the award amount being determined by a committee within the Center. Even though citizens can surmise that the data collected in this government sponsored peep show will be used to censor these websites, the program has been wildly successful. In the first 24 hours of operation, the Centre reportedly received 500 phone call tips and 13,000 online tips. Wow!  To maintain our high moral standards, we will reserve further comment on this one and let you, our readers, engage in a stimulating discussion in the comments below. We know it will be good. More →

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