U.S. government to probe Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum deal with Comcast

By on December 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM.

U.S. government to probe Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum deal with Comcast

The antitrust division of the United States Justice Department will investigate Verizon Wireless’s plans to acquire spectrum from Comcast and its partners for $3.6 billion. Verizon Wireless announced in early December its intentions to purchase 122 AWS spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The carrier said it plans to use the additional spectrum to build out its 4G LTE network, pending government approval of the purchase. The Justice Department has the power to block the deal, although it is unclear when the investigation will be concluded.  More →

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Justice Department to postpone or dismiss case against AT&T

By on December 9, 2011 at 7:15 PM.

Justice Department to postpone or dismiss case against AT&T

The Justice Department intends to file a motion next week to delay or dismiss its lawsuit against AT&T’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The DOJ originally sued AT&T to block the deal in August, and AT&T soon after decided to pull its merger application from the FCC to instead focus on the suit. In light of the withdrawal of AT&T’s merger application, however, the DOJ seemingly no longer has cause to sue. “It’s not a real transaction until they file with the FCC,” Wayland told Judge Ellen Huvelle according to Reuters. With that, it looks we’re now watching at a giant game of cat and mouse. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently said that U.S. regulators don’t understand the wireless industry enough to see the benefits of its proposed T-Mobile USA purchase. Earlier Friday he said in an interview that ”regulators can’t keep up with the changes in the industry” and that blocking the merger will increase wireless prices for U.S. consumers. More →

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Barnes & Noble calls on feds to probe Microsoft’s patent warpath

By on November 9, 2011 at 1:40 PM.

Barnes & Noble calls on feds to probe Microsoft’s patent warpath

It is no secret that Microsoft is on a warpath. The company has garnered Android patent licensing deals from major industry tech players like HTC, Samsung and ViewSonic, just to name a few, and has chosen to sue those that resist, such as Barnes & Noble. The book seller, which recently announced its second Android tablet, has sent a letter to the Justice Department’s chief counsel for competition policy Gene Kimmelman that calls on the U.S. government to probe Microsoft over monopoly concerns. “Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices,” Barnes & Noble said in the letter. “Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.” Read on for more. More →

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DOJ wants more info on Google’s planned Motorola Mobility purchase

By on September 29, 2011 at 8:50 PM.

DOJ wants more info on Google’s planned Motorola Mobility purchase

The United States Justice Department has issued a request for more information from Google and Motorola Mobility concerning the search giant’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of the phone maker. Google senior vice president Dennis Woodside explained that his company is still confident the deal will be approved. “We believe very strongly this is a pro-competitive transaction that is good for Motorola Mobility, good for consumers, and good for our partners,” he said, noting the “second request” form the DOJ was routine. “While this means we won’t be closing right away, we’re confident that the DOJ will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile ecosystem will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. We’ll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.” Google announced in August that it intends to purchase Motorola Mobility and, shortly after, CEO Larry Page noted that Motorola’s patent portfolio will help Google’s Android partners against competitors. Despite public statements in support of the acquisition from HTC, Samsung and other Android heavy hitters, BGR has argued the purchase could potentially spell trouble for Motorola’s competitors. More →

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Feds investigating Motorola Solutions for alleged bribery

By on September 26, 2011 at 4:00 PM.

Feds investigating Motorola Solutions for alleged bribery


The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Motorola Solutions on suspicion of bribery, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Motorola Solutions, not to be confused with Motorola Mobility, reportedly paid bribes to foreign officials, including Austrian count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, in an attempt to increase business in Europe. If the allegations are true, Motorola Solutions will have been in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and will likely be required to pay a fine. The company opened up its own investigation in 2009 after a “suspicious transaction” was made in Turkey and has since asked the U.S. government to aid in the investigation, The Wall Street Journal said, noting that the company is providing federal investigators with internal documents “voluntarily.” Mensdorff-Pouilly was charged with bribery in 2010 after the U.S. government looked into allegations that BAE Systems was also paying off foreign officials in return for business.

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Verizon COO: AT&T/T-Mobile merger will ‘probably go through’

By on July 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM.

Verizon COO: AT&T/T-Mobile merger will ‘probably go through’

Speaking during a recent Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, Verizon’s Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam said he expects AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA to be approved by government regulators. “I’d say the merger will probably go through,” McAdam said. “It’s a merger AT&T probably had to do.” While other carriers such as Sprint have been vocal in their opposition of the deal, Verizon has remained relatively quiet. According to Reuters, McAdam said he was surprised AT&T hadn’t purchased T-Mobile sooner and that the deal “makes sense.” On Wednesday, Senate Antitrust Subcommitee chairman Herb Kohl called on the FCC and the Justice Department to block the merger and said the deal would be “contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest.” AT&T quickly shot down Kohl’s statement and said Kohl ignored “the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction.” Among those supporters is Senator Mike Lee, who argued that the “mobile phone market is a critical component of our nation’s economy and the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile deserves careful review.” More →

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Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

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

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

Senator Herb Kohl, the chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee is recommending that federal regulators deny AT&T’s $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile. ”I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies,” Kohl said on Wednesday. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Congressman John Conyers, and Congressman Edward Markey also recently wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC expressing concern that the acquisition would hurt competition in the U.S. wireless market. “We believe that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy–a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace,” the letter said. “Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.” Sprint and its CEO Dan Hesse have also been very involved in trying to stop the merger. While Hesse has argued the deal will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. Wireless market, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued the opposite and has said it will result in “net job growth.” In June AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the deal, which has been backed by other big tech hitters such as Microsoft, was on schedule for a March 2012 approval. More →

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AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition to receive in-depth Department of Justice investigation

By on May 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM.

AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition to receive in-depth Department of Justice investigation

The Department of Justice will perform an “in-depth” investigation of AT&T’s proposition to acquire T-Mobile USA, Reuters is reporting. Such an investigation comes as no surprise, as one FCC official assured the public on April 14th that the acquisition would get a thorough review from government antitrust and communications officials. Bloomberg says that the DoJ can issue a decision in as little as 30 days, however, a “second request,” could mean that the investigation will take longer. AT&T announced its plan to purchase T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion on March 20th. Despite Sprint’s claims that the acquisition will stifle competition in the U.S. wireless market, AT&T has argued that the deal will fuel economic growth and create new jobs. More →

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AT&T's T-Mobile acquisiton to get thorough review, FCC official says

By on April 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM.

AT&T's T-Mobile acquisiton to get thorough review, FCC official says

AT&T’s plans to purchase Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA will get a thorough examination from government agencies, including antitrust and communications investigators, an FCC aide affirmed on Thursday. AT&T proposed the $39 billion deal on March 20th and a company spokesperson told Bloomberg that Ma Bell plans to file its official application to the Federal Communications Commission “around April 21st.” Once the application has been submitted, the FCC reportedly has 180 days to grant approval. However, one FCC employee told Bloomberg that the FCC isn’t always limited to 180 days, so it could take a bit longer before a final decision is released. The deal has been openly opposed by Sprint, which claimed the transaction would “harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it,” and one anonymous FCC official has said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” the deal. AT&T’s CEO Randall L. Stephenson sees things differently. On March 30th he said the acquisition will immediately improve reliability for AT&T customers, and argued that there’s plenty of wireless competition in the United States that will continue to help push prices down for consumers. More →

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FTC may investigate Google in antitrust case

By on April 6, 2011 at 6:45 AM.

FTC may investigate Google in antitrust case

Google’s plan to acquire ITA Software may result in an antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), two sources speaking to Bloomberg said Tuesday. The FTC is currently waiting for the Justice Department to render a decision on whether or not the acquisition will stifle competition among firms competing for clicks in the travel search engine market. Both the FTC and the Justice Department are capable of executing an antitrust investigation, and some pundits believe the scale of this probe could match that of the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of Microsoft during the 1990’s. The search engine giant “could fight the FTC, but that’s going to cost a lot of money and time,” Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law told Bloomberg. Google also faces an antitrust probes abroad. On March 31st Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations and practices in the European Union, alleging that Google has made it harder for other firms to compete in the search market there. Google announced that it had plans to acquire ITA Software, a firm that helps airlines manage flight times and sell tickets at the best prices, in July of 2010. Google hopes to use the acquisition to create new flight search tools that will allow consumers to find better flight options and prices. More →

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Android loses more ‘open’ cred as Google fights fragmentation

By on March 31, 2011 at 8:27 AM.

Android loses more ‘open’ cred as Google fights fragmentation

According to a report filed by Bloomberg Businessweek, Google is beginning to shorten the proverbial leash that Android licensees are currently attached to. Citing “dozens” of industry executives working at “key companies in the Android ecosystem,” the publication writes that Google will need to approve the future Android-plans of its software partners in exchange for early access to upcoming builds of the mobile operating system. “There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software,” reads the report. “No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview.” More →

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