US DOJ allows 30-day antitrust waiting period to expire unhindered
The merger between T-Mobile and MetroPCS has been given the go-ahead to proceed by the United States Department of Justice. A 30-day waiting period, put in place by antitrust laws, has expired without the DoJ offering any objections to the merger, which would see the combined Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier and MetroPCS further embed T-Mobile's position as the fourth largest US carrier.
Government still pursuing Apple over alleged fixing of e-book prices
As part of its case against Apple for allegedly conspiring to "falsely inflate" e-book prices, the US Department of Justice has opted not to pursue its plan to demand copies of the notes from Steve Jobs' biographer or testimony from Walter Isaacson himself regarding any remarks Jobs may have made about the arrangements Apple made with publishers in its effort to both set up its own e-book service and fight against the predatory pricing of Amazon, which had a near-monopoly on e-books and was driving rivals out of business.
If settlement approved, only Macmillan and Apple left standing
The United States Department of Justice confirmed today that the Penguin group has made a settlement offer in New York District Court to end its ongoing e-book price-fixing antitrust investigation. If accepted by the Department of Justice and the judge, only Apple and Macmillan will remain as defendants in the suit. Under the agreement's terms, Penguin must cease doing business with any e-book seller it is currently doing business with, including Apple. The publisher will also be prohibited from signing new deals with any distributors that limit discounts for a period of two years.
Payments a result of suit settlement with three publishers
As a result of a possible settlement between the Department of Justice and three publishers involved in a lawsuit regarding e-book price fixing, owners of Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases. Amazon told Kindle owners on Saturday that they could receive a refund of between $0.30 and $1.32 per book for books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012.
Parties cite Amazon investigation, bad DOJ market analysis
US District Court Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, presiding over the Apple e-books pricing settlement case, has granted amici curiae, or friends of the court, status to two opposing parties. Writer's advocacy organization The Authors Guild and licensing expert Bob Kohn have been given permission to file an amicus brief with the court, decrying the proposed settlement, and pointing out what they see as flaws in the Department of Justice's arguments.
US DOJ faulted for evidence collection, improper process serving
The New Zealand high court has ruled that the the United States must hand over all evidence in its case against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom before any extradition can take place. The decision shut down the US Department of Justice's appeal of a lower New Zealand's court decision earlier in the year blocking the extradition pending case information.
FCC approval likely, paving way to 4G LTE buildout
The US Department of Justice said on Thursday that it would approve Verizon Wireless' $3.9 billion wireless spectrum purchase. The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, said that the FCC would also likely give the deal permission to continue -- albeit with marketing restrictions.
Settlement terminates existing contracts
Apple has blasted the Department of Justice over a settlement with several book publishers in an ongoing trial surrounding allegations of price fixing. The company argues that the proposed settlements would effectively nullify its existing contracts with the publishers—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—before any witness has been called to testify and before the court has had a chance to review details of the case.
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.
Claims agency pricing a boon to industry
Bookseller Barnes & Noble has sent a complaint to the US Department of Justice regarding a proposed settlement in the latter's case against e-book price fixing, says paidContent. The DOJ has proposed a settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, who were all accused of colluding to keep e-book prices artificially high by moving to an agency model. In its complaint, B&N claims that the settlement "represents an unprecedented effort" by the DOJ to become "a regulator of a nascent technology that it little understands," and that e-book and hardcover prices have actually fallen under the agency system.
Letter to US AG claims Google lied to investigators, DOJ
Representative Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ), and John Barrow (D-GA) are pushing the Department of Justice to reopen the completed investigation of Google's Street View and Wi-Fi data harvesting while mapping America's streets. Pallone stated "In light of the FCC report on Google Wi-Spy -- which revealed Google intentionally collected personal information from Americans—I urge the Department of Justice to re-evaluate the Google Wi-Spy incident." The FCC and DoJ report on the incident found no laws were broken by Google during the mapping, despite Pallone's interpretation of the investigation that the data gathering was a “deliberate, software-design decision."
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.
AT&T sued for wrongly billing millions to FCC
The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against carrier AT&T for allegedly wrongly billing the government for millions of dollars. The charges were for IP Relay phone calls, which is a text-based communications service for hearing-impaired people. While the users don't need to pay, the FCC is charged $1.30 per minute by carriers.
Verizon argues no other place to buy spectrum
A currently ongoing trial US Congress' Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from Verizon about its buy of AWS spectrum from cable companies that include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House. During the meeting, Verizon said it would continue to develop its FiOS fiber optic service into which it's already invested some $23 billion and that customers will see no decrease in choices or increased prices from the move due to marketing agreements between cable companies and Verizon, John Eggerton tweeted. The provider's representatives also said it's a good steward of spectrum and is more efficient than some others at using it.
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 gives full approval to Google-Motorola
As anticipated, the European Commission on Monday approved Google's $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola. The approval was without conditions after the EU body decided that it wouldn't hurt smartphone competition or patent issues. Commissioner Joaquin Almunia was aware there was a chance Google might abuse patents to shelter Android, but he promised legal action if that was the case.
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.
ATT fulfills promise to hand over spectrum
AT&T following a promise it made as a condition of its since-dropped takeover of T-Mobile has jointly filed with T-Mobile to transfer some of its wireless spectrum. The deal will give about $1 billion in frequency licenses to T-Mobile in accordance with terms AT&T agreed to in the even the deal failed. T-Mobile is expected to use the space to fill out coverage and overcome a deficit it has relative to other major US carriers.
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.
Justice Department moves to delay AT&T lawsuit
The Department of Justice will file a motion with a federal judge to postpone its anti-competition case against AT&T's proposed buyout of rival T-Mobile. The filing will be made next week, The Wall Street Journal reported. Joseph Wayland, the lawyer, said the hastened court proceedings are not needed because the companies involved pulled their FCC merger application.
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.
AT&T and Sprint to wait until end of DOJ case
Sprint and AT&T's dispute over the former company's proposed buyout of T-Mobile will be put on the backburner while the Department of Justice finishes up its investigation of the deal. The companies revealed in separate filings in a US District Court in Washington that they don't want to interfere with the government trial, which is scheduled for February 13. Both Sprint and Cellular South requested a trial date is set immediately after all the evidence is presented in the government case so their arguments can be heard before the transaction is completed.
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.