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

Oligopolistic America: anti-competitive, unequal, and deliberate

A brilliant, enraging op-ed in the Washington Post from analysts from the New America Foundation and the American Antitrust Institute shows how the Reagan-era policy of encouraging monopolistic corporate behavior has made America unequal and uncompetitive, creating a horror Gilded Age where the Congressional consensus is that laws cannot possibly put a check on bad corporate actors.

It's another look at the problems set out in Matt Taibbi's brilliant book The Divide, tracing the policies that created both the private prison industry and banks so big that even the most depraved criminality can't be punished lest the bank tremble and collapse on wider society.

Particularly galling and illuminating is a quote from a Goldman Sachs report that advises investors to seek out "oligopolistic market structure[s]" where there's "lower competitive intensity, greater stickiness and pricing power with customers due to reduced choice" as the ideal way to maximize your return on capital. Read the rest

FCC Chairman's competition promise means nothing

Cable lobbyist turned FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has tried to "balance" his attempt to nuke Net Neutrality by promising to override state laws that prohibit cities from setting up their own broadband networks. But it's a largely meaningless gesture: practically every big city in America is locked into a decade-long contractual "franchise" arrangement with a big cable company. Read the rest

Frontier takes over Verizon's network, complaints fall by 68%

Since 2010, the lucky people of West Virginia have gotten their local phone/Internet service from Frontier Communications, who bought the business from noted shit-shovelers Verizon. In a mere four years, complaints about phone service have plummeted by 68 percent, and 88 percent of their customers now have access to broadband. The company has also installed a 2,600-mile-long fiber loop. There is nothing intrinsic about operating a phone network that makes your company into a horror-show, but once the telcos get big, they turn into some of the worst companies in the world. Read the rest

Toxic Avenger's brilliant rant about the importance of Net Neutrality

Lloyd Kaufman, cofounder of Troma Entertainment (the people who brought us such films as the Toxic Avenger) has a brilliant, profane, and stirring editorial in support of Net Neutrality on Techdirt. Kaufman explains how an open Internet is the only competitve hedge against the communications giants that own "cinemas, newspapers, T.V. stations, radio and even Broadway 'legitimate' theaters." Thanks to the failure of the FCC to give Net Neutrality their full protection, and the court ruling that gutted the FCC's weak protections, Net Neutrality is in real trouble. Kaufman's editorial a great arguments for its preservation. Read the rest

More posts