Superstar academic economists charge $1000+/hr to defend disastrous corporate megamergers

economists-lead-art-revised-20

In 1977 Richard Posner (then a prof at the University of Chicago's notorious ultra-libertarian school; now a federal judge) teamed up with an economist and law student to form Lexecon, which has since grown to a firm worth more than $130,000,000, whose major business is to serve as intellectual guns-for-hire who will produce plausible-seeming economic models defending giant corporate mergers against anti-trust regulators. Read the rest

Google: if you support Amazon's Echo, you're cut off from Google Home and Chromecast

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

A closed-door unveiling of the forthcoming Google Home smart speaker platform included the nakedly anticompetitive news that vendors whose products support Amazon's Echo will be blocked from integrating with Google's own, rival platform. Read the rest

How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1159

In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012: 72,000 small US manufacturers shut down; as did 108,000 local retailers and 13,000 community banks (fully half of America's complement of small banks!). The number of US startups has dropped by 50% since 1970. These statistics are not the result of the changing times: they're due to massive, monopolistic corporations stacking the deck against small competitors through unfair and corrupt practices, to the detriment of American growth, equality and democracy. Read the rest

Spotify threatens to report Apple to competition regulators over App Store rejection

256px-Spotify_Shiny_Icon.svg.png

Apple has rejected Spotify's latest app for inclusion in the Ios App Store, citing its rules against app vendors processing their own payments; Apple requires software vendors to pay to use Apple's own payment processor -- which collects hefty commissions -- in their apps. Read the rest

Unnamed Canadian telco sabotages' library's low-income internet service

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1091

Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them. Read the rest

Cable industry wants you to know that competition is bad for its customers

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1097

Charter is trying to buy Time-Warner for $79B, and the FCC says the merger is conditional on Charter expanding its service to compete with existing cable operators in various markets around America. Read the rest

Uber loves competition, when it's the one doing the competing

urbanhail-1$small

Uber terminated access to its API for Urbanhail, a startup that compared pricing and availability among ride-hailing apps and taxi companies, after chastising the company's founders for violating its terms of service, which forbid creating competitive uses. Read the rest

Inside a Supreme Court case on cheerleader uniforms, a profound question about copyright

cheerleader.uniform.2

Copyright protects creative expression, but not utilitarian forms: that's why the silkscreened art on your t-shirt is copyrightable, but the t-shirt's design itself is not. Read the rest

High profits mean capitalism is cooked

MonopolySet_2014

From The Economist to the White House Council of Economic Advisers to Goldman Sachs itself, the staunchest supporters of capitalism are worried about the consistently high profit margins in key industries, especially finance. Read the rest

From dingo babysitter to net neutrality hero: Tom Wheeler's legacy

tom-wheeler-portrait-640x887

When Obama appointed Tom Wheeler, formerly the top lobbyist for both the cable industry and the mobile phone industry to run the FCC, many people (including me) were outraged at the idea of putting such an insider in charge of keeping his own former employers honest (it didn't help that AT&T and Comcast both issued triumphant press releases at the news). Read the rest

Error 53: Apple remotely bricks phones to punish customers for getting independent repairs

7719907858_b2d469ba10_b

Iphone 6s that have been repaired by independent service centers are bricking themselves, seemingly permanently, with a cryptic message about "Error 53." Read the rest

Toronto City Council defies mayor, demands open, neutral municipal broadband

Inaugural_meeting_city_council,_Toronto,_9th_January_1911

After years of fumbling, deference and mismanagement, Canada's telcoms regulator, the CRTC, laid down a landmark net neutrality rule and demanded that Bell, the nationally founded telcoms giant, would have to share its infrastructure with new entrants to the market. Read the rest

The End of the Internet Dream: the speech that won Black Hat (and Defcon)

"The End of the Internet Dream," cyberlawyer Jennifer Granick's keynote at Black Hat, was all anyone could talk about at this year's Defcon -- Black Hat being the grown-up, buttoned-down, military-industrial cousin to Defcon's wild and exuberant anarchy. Read the rest

Google anti-trust action is dumb, but the EU should be worried about online giants

My latest Guardian column, Can anything curb the dominance of the internet's big guns? points out that everything governments do to tame the online giants has no effect on them -- but makes it nearly impossible for new companies to compete with them. Read the rest

Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes

Microsoft has announced a relaxation of its "Secure Boot" guidelines for OEMs, allowing companies to sell computers pre-loaded with Windows 10 that will refuse to boot any non-Microsoft OS. Read the rest

Consumer groups tell DoJ to block Comcast/Time Warner merger

If it goes through, Comcast will control an unimaginable swath of American Internet access -- that's a hell of a lot of power to give the Worst Company in America. Read the rest

More posts