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Tech wrap: AT&T preps plan to salvage T-Mobile deal

September 2, 2011

AT&T was expected to soon present a two-track plan that allows the company to try to find a settlement before the government lawsuit to block its planned $39 billion acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA reaches the court. Details of AT&T’s proposed settlement were not available, but it is expected to include pledges to maintain T-Mobile’s relatively cheap mobile subscription plans, and asset sales.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington created a venture capital fund to invest in promising start-ups, sparking controversy over possible conflicts of interest involving the fund and questions about the integrity of the blog. Included in the debate was Arrington’s employment status, with one AOL spokesperson claiming that Arrington was no longer employed by the owners TechCrunch, and another claiming he was. Arrington’s creation of the “CrunchFund” comes months after he publicly announced that he had begun to actively invest in start-up companies, which also triggered a lively debate within the industry.

A senior exec from Acer said Microsoft will be the winner in Google’s buy of Motorola Mobility as the deal makes Google a direct rival to its phone-making clients. “They work against some of their clients,” said Walter Deppeler, president of Acer’s operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “It was a good gift to Microsoft,” he told Reuters.  Acer uses operating software from both Microsoft and Google in its smartphones and tablets. Deppeler said Acer would consider the implications of the deal before deciding on future platform choices.

Pay-TV operator Starz Entertainment decided to stop providing its content for streaming on Netflix. Starz content includes exclusive rights to first-run Sony and Walt Disney movies and shows, but account for just 8 percent of U.S. subscribers’ viewing, Netflix said. Netflix shares ended the day down 8.6 percent. UBS analyst Brian Fitzgerald said the announcement underscores the long-term concern that rising content costs and increasing competition will continue to weigh on the company’s stock.

The New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais and France’s Le Monde which collaborated with WikiLeaks condemned the website and its founder Julian Assange for making public thousands of “unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk.” In a message posted on its Twitter feed, which Assange is believed personally to control, WikiLeaks confirmed on Friday it had released “251,287 US embassy cables in searchable format.” Earlier this week, WikiLeaks issued a lengthy statement accusing a Guardian journalist and a former WikiLeaks spokesman of having “negligently” disclosed top secret passwords to a copy of the cable database which had been floating, unnoticed, around the Internet for months.

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