MediaFile

Tech wrap: Is the DoJ right to oppose the AT&T, T-Mobile deal?

The Justice Department sued to block AT&T’s $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA because eliminating T-Mobile as a competitor would be disastrous for consumers and would raise prices, particularly because the smaller provider offers low prices, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit is a serious attempt to halt a “fundamentally flawed” deal, not a tactic to wring out-sized concessions from AT&T, a source familiar with the lawsuit said.

Dan Frommer says blocking the deal won’t help make service quality any better. A merger would create more spectrum to offer better, faster, more reliable service, Frommer writes. Also, its shortsighted to look at today’s pricing and market and use them as strict guides for the future, as voice and SMS service are disrupted by Internet technology, and as carriers try to charge more for 4G LTE access than they did for 3G access, Frommer added.

Breakingviews columnists Robert Cox, Robert Cyran and Richard Beales say the wireless industry in the U.S. is essentially a duopoly and that the DoJ suit against the AT&T, T-Mobile deal protects smaller providers.

Earlier, AT&T promised to bring 5,000 wireless call-center jobs back to the U.S. if the deal wins approval.

Sony put price tags on its long-awaited debut tablets that could hurt the company’s chances to grab the No. 2 spot in the tablet market. Two versions of Sony’s main tablet cost $499 and $599, which matches the price of Apple’s iPads for models with the same memory and will turn off consumers, analysts said.

Tech wrap: HP TouchPad’s second coming?

In an interview with Reuters, the head of HP’s PC business Todd Bradley gave the throngs of people who lined up outside stores to snap up discontinued and deeply discounted TouchPads hope that the company wouldn’t abandon them, saying the tablet could be resurrected. This, as the TouchPad was on track to become the second-best selling tablet of all time behind Apple’s iPad.

GigaOm’s Ryan Kim says HP’s revelation muddies the waters, making the biggest maker of PCs in the world seem indecisive, which hurts it’s stock price.

There are lessons to take away from HP’s TouchPad firesale, argues Jon Collins of The Register. Chief among them is that there’s a massive pent-up demand for tablets from any manufacturer at the expense low-end PC and netbook sales.

Tech wrap: Breaking down Zynga’s possible IPO delay

One of tech’s most anticipated public offerings of the year could be delayed, according to a report in the New York Post on Monday. Online gaming company Zynga may hold off on its IPO until November said The Post, citing a “source close to the company.”

The delay is partly related to questions the SEC has about how Zynga measures its daily and monthly users, as well as its bookings, CNBC reported. “Zynga’s accounting measures are less worrisome to the SEC than Groupon’s, says one person familiar with the matter, but the agency is nonetheless working to make Zynga’s prospectus as accessible to investors as possible,” writes CNBC’s Kate Kelly.

Renowned venture capitalist Alan Patricof, managing director of Greycroft Partners LLC, told Bloomberg TV he thinks Zynga is merely waiting for a “hole in the market,” which he described as a one or two-week period where the markets are up and the underwriting bank “calls up and says we’re going tomorrow.”

Facebook is facing the music — is Google calling the tune?

Pssssst — wanna know a secret? Facebook is feeling the heat from the surprisingly successful launch of Google+. There is vigorous competition from the search-and-advertising giant many assumed couldn’t shoot straight when it came to social media.

Some caveats: For one thing, I say “surprising” only because Google was arguably a three-time loser in the space. For another, it’s actually no secret that Facebook is, shall we say, finding it necessary to adapt to what might be a new world order. Third: Facebook still reigns supreme in membership and impact and pretty much every metric you (or they) would choose to use. Google+ hasn’t been with us even two months yet, for heaven’s sake, and while it’s amassed tens of millions of users there are no guarantees.

What I am talking about here is trajectory, and meme. You will pardon the pun, and excuse the mixed metaphor, but Google has finally caught a wave, and Facebook is hearing footsteps.

Tech wrap: Google fined over drug ads

Google has agreed to pay $500 million to settle a probe into ads it accepted for online Canadian pharmacies selling drugs in the United States, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. The forfeiture is one of the largest ever in the United States, according to the DOJ. It represents Google’s revenue from Canadian pharmacy advertisements to U.S. customers through Google’s AdWords program and Canadian pharmacies’ revenue from U.S. sales.

Apple won another battle in the mobile tech patent wars on Wednesday when a Dutch court ruled that Samsung Electronics must stop marketing three of its smartphone models in some European countries. Apple, which has conquered the high end of the phone market with its iPhone, argued that Samsung had infringed on three of its patents. The court ruled that Samsung smartphones Galaxy S, S II and Ace breached just one of Apple’s patents.

BlackBerry users tired of the narrow selection of apps available to them should welcome news that models expected next year will be able to run apps designed for Google’s Android mobile platform. According to a Bloomberg report, which cites three unnamed sources, Research in Motion plans to make its forthcoming BlackBerry models Android-compatible in an attempt to boost sales of its smartphone models and win back consumers. The Android Market currently offers more than 250,000 apps, nearly six times as many as RIM’s own app store, the article notes.

Tech wrap: HP’s TouchPad sell-off

Hewlett-Packard has finally discovered the magic price point for its TouchPad tablet: $99. The tech giant announced the new low price for the 16 GB model of the recently discontinued device over the weekend, also dropping the price for its 32 GB version to $149. Retailers such as Best Buy, Staples and Walmart followed HP’s lead by offering TouchPad fire sales of their own.

The response: overwhelming. According to PC World, many retailers had sold out of the devices by mid-day on Saturday. By Monday morning, the TouchPad had climbed to the No.1 spot on the Amazon best-seller list for electronics. Expect the selling frenzy to continue this week: HP said on Monday it intends to deliver more of the tablets until the supply runs out. HP originally launched the smaller model with a $500 price tag, but reduced it to $400 soon after its July 1 release in an attempt to spur demand.

Separately, HP launched a new desktop on Monday, days after the technology company revealed that it might spin off the world’s largest PC business — part of a wrenching series of moves away from the consumer market, including killing the TouchPad. HP billed the new computer — the HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One Business Desktop — as the “first all-in-one PC” aimed at corporate and public sector customers.

Tech wrap: HP investors running for cover

Shares of Hewlett-Packard slumped by more than 20 percent to a six-year low on Friday as investors wiped about $16 billion off the market value of the world’s biggest PC maker in a resounding rejection of its plan for a major shake-up.

Blog Zero Hedge posted an article by Tyler Durden, titled “Here Is Who Is Getting Creamed On Today’s Hewlett Packard Bloodbath“, that includes a chart of the the top 40 holders of HPQ stock.

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon credits Durden with breaking the “real” news yesterday about HP, after Bloomberg broke the M&A news of the IT firm’s internal shakeup and it’s $10 billion acquisition of UK company Autonomy. Salmon on the scoop: “…looks like an attempt by HP to manage media coverage and to distract attention from its dreadful earnings guidance.”

Tech wrap: HP spinning off PC division

Hewlett-Packard is close to a deal to buy software company Autonomy for $10 billion and will announce a long-rumored spinoff of its PC division.

Autonomy, which counts Procter & Gamble among a long list of major corporate customers that use its software to search and organize unstructured data like emails, confirmed it was in talks with HP.

Google+, which has picked up more than 25 million users since launching in June, is headed down the right path and is the first serious challenge to Facebook’s dominance.

Tech wrap: Companies continue patent buys

Tech giants continued attempts to shore up their patent portfolios continued on Wednesday, with InterDigital being targeted by Apple, Nokia and Qualcomm.

Bidders have been eager to get their hands on InterDigital”s 8,800 patents — including crucial 3G and 4G/LTE patents to strengthen operating software for smartphones.

Key potential bidder Google, who earlier this week acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, has not formally withdrawn from the auction but it is unclear whether they will bid for the company.

Tech wrap: Apple involved in legal battles

Samsung can sell its latest iPad rival in most of Europe again after a German court lifted most of an injunction it had imposed at Apple’s request.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablet computers has taken the market by storm and is considered the most credible alternative to the iPad, selling about 30 million since its launch a year and a half ago.

In other legal news, the shoe is on the other foot for Apple as smartphone maker HTC has sued the tech giant, seeking to halt U.S. imports and sales of Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones and other devices because of alleged patent infringements.