EU fines Qualcomm over $1 billion for anti-competitive iPhone deal

The US -- allegedly a bastion of the "free market" -- has one of the world's lowest levels of economic competition, thanks to the triumph of the Chicago School economists, who used shitty math to convince Ronald Reagan and his successors that the only time a monopoly is a problem is when it raises prices. Read the rest

Web developers publish open letter taking Google to task for locking up with web with AMP

I have often thought that you can divide up the risks of the big internet platforms by plotting a 2X2 grid; on one axis is "wants to spy on everything you do" and on the other is "wants to control everything you do" -- Apple scores low on the first axis (they don't much want to spy on you), and high on the second (they want to control you in intimate and pervasive ways); Google is the reverse (wants to spy on you, but is so capable of following you wherever you go that it doesn't need to control you to do it), while Facebook gets top marks on both (they spy on everything you do and they want to control you from start to finish). Read the rest

You absolutely must secure your home router and you probably can't

Lucian Constantin's Motherboard guide to protecting your home router is full of excellent, nearly impossible-to-follow advice that you should follow, but probably won't. Read the rest

2018: the year that America's ISPs hiked their prices

Comcast, Fox and Frontier have all announced across-the-board price hikes that affect modems, streaming services, and internet service itself. Read the rest

100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- a former Verizon exec -- says that we can count on ISPs to voluntarily refrain from abusing their natural monopolies to degrade service to their customers in order to maximize their profits. Read the rest

Comcast spams social media with Net Neutrality promises, hopes you won't notice that they used to promise a LOT more

Back in 2014, Comcast was desperately trying to stop the FCC from bringing meaningful Net Neutrality regulation to the web, and they laid out a suite of promises about their future conduct, with or without the rules, including a promise not to introduce internet slow lanes that publishers who wouldn't pay bribes would be stuck in, while their spendier competitors would be able to reach Comcast subscribers faster. Read the rest

Why we should cheer the DoJ's lawsuit to block the AT&T/Time-Warner merger

Susan Crawford, one of America's leading scholars of monopolism, competition and the tech industry, has an outstanding article in Wired laying out the principled case for killing the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, which the Trump DoJ has just filed a lawsuit to block. Read the rest

Impressive competitive knife skills chopfest

Christopher Berry won the Overall prize at the 2017 Middle Tennessee Bladesports Competition with this impressive sequence of knife slices. Read the rest

Beloved local restauranteur can't sell coffee or tea because Starbucks strongarmed the landlord

The Arepa Lady started as a food-cart in Jackson Heights, Queens, owned by Maria Cano, whose son and daughter-in-law have continued the family business, moving into permanent digs, with seating for 30. Read the rest

Trump's FCC redefines "effective competition" to include having only one ISP in your county

US businesses really get screwed by their ISPs: 73% of the US only has one business ISP; 24% of the remainder has only two ISPs, and only 3% of the US has 3 or more ISPs that will sell them internet access. Read the rest

The W3C has overruled members' objections and will publish its DRM for videos

It's been nearly four months since the W3C held the most controversial vote in its decades-long history of standards-setting: a vote where accessibility groups, security experts, browser startups, public interest groups, human rights groups, archivists, research institutions and other worthies went up against trillions of dollars' worth of corporate muscle: the world's largest electronics, web, and content companies in a battle for the soul of the open web. Read the rest

Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust." Read the rest

Verizon bought Yahoo, so Flickr and Tumblr users with AT&T email addresses are being cut off

Verizon's using its purchase of Yahoo for more than undermining the fight for net neutrality: it's also using its new acquisitions to make anti-competitive moves against its telcoms rivals, deploying the users of Flickr and Tumblr as hostages. Read the rest

EU fines Google €2.42B for anti-competitive behaviour

The EU had been expected to fine Google a little over €1B for its anti-competitive practice of promoting its own shopping service over competitors' in search results: today's €2.42B comes as a surprise, as does the ongoing fine if it fails to change its behavior within 90 days -- up to €10.6m a day, or 5% of parent company Alphabet's total daily earnings. Read the rest

No, Italy isn't banning the iPhone

On June 23rd, 2017, a lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper that said that our new Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's an English article). That's just wrong. This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it will protect and benefit Italians.

Tumblr is now owned by a phone company, so it's stopped fighting for Network Neutrality

Yahoo's sale to Verizon means that Yahoo's sub-companies -- Flickr, Tumblr and a host of others -- are now divisions of a phone company, and as you might expect, being on the payroll of a notorious neutracidal maniac with a long history of sleazy, invasive, privacy-destroying, monopolistic, deceptive, anti-competitive, scumbag shakedowns has changed the public positions these companies are allowed to take. Read the rest

Man so angry with 7-11 he starts his own store and calls it 6-12

Abu Musa in South Boston hates 7-Eleven so much he decided to compete with his own store, and has called it 6-Twelve. But he didn't always hate 7-Eleven – in fact he used to own one.

When he first opened his own 7-Eleven in 2005, it was great. But after six years of a thriving business, a new field consultant came into the picture, and everything went downhill from there. According to The Boston Globe:

It is a twisted saga that involves personality clashes, corporate oversight, and expensive legal proceedings, and it first got nasty when Musa took a very particular opinion on a 7-Eleven product line.

He thinks 7-Eleven’s hot foods are kinda gross.

The hot dogs and taquitos were bad enough, he says. “They’d sit there on the rollers, no one would buy them, and every day I would throw out $200 to $300 worth of food that I had to pay for.”

Musa tried to discontinue the hot food, but instead, the field consultant "forced him to become the first store in the area to start offering pizza and chicken wings." And he was told he would have to hire an extra employee to handle the hot food.

“7-Eleven didn’t treat me as a partner anymore,” Musa says. “They treated me as a slave.”

So rather than put up with the miserable 7-Eleven politics, he ditched the chain store and started his own. The inside looks similar to a 7-Eleven, but without, of course, the hot food. Read the rest

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