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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FTC antitrust investigators hone in on Android

By on August 11, 2011 at 12:45 PM.

FTC antitrust investigators hone in on Android

Antitrust investigators with the Federal Trade Commission are focusing on Google’s Android operating system and web search services, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Reportedly, there is some concern that Google prevents its Android partners from implementing services provided by Google’s competitors to their smartphones. One example comes from backin May, when Google blocked Motorola from using Skyhook Wireless’ location services on its phones. The FTC is also investigating whether Google promotes its own services over its rivals, and whether it actually uses data that its competitors have collected, such as local reviews, to populate its own results. The FTC announced that it was opening an investigation into Google’s business practices on June 24th and, at the time, Google said that it was not clear what the FTC’s concerns were. The search giant said that it will cooperate fully and will continue to follow its five pillars: “do what’s best for the user,” “provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible,” “label advertisements clearly,” “be transparent,” and “loyalty, not lock-in.”

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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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FCC calls for Verizon probe into thousands of dropped 9-1-1 calls

By on February 22, 2011 at 11:40 PM.

FCC calls for Verizon probe into thousands of dropped 9-1-1 calls

In a letter sent last Thursday to the nation’s top wireless carrier, the Federal Communications Commission is calling for an investigation into thousands of dropped emergency calls placed during a blizzard in late January. Approximately 10,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls placed on the Verizon Wireless network in Maryland were dropped, the FCC says. The calls were made on January 26th during a major snowstorm. “The large number of missed 9-1-1 calls on January 26 is truly alarming,” FCC public safety and security chief James Arden Barnett wrote in the letter. “I therefore request that Verizon provide an explanation of the causes of this and similar failures, provide Verizon’s assessment of the possibility of occurrence in other locations and describe what actions Verizon is taking to prevent recurrence of these problems.” The FCC is calling for a written response to its inquiry, along with a meeting within two weeks to discuss Verizon’s resolution of the issue. More →

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