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Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 03:34 PM ET, 04/26/2013

The Circuit: T-Mobile targeted for ‘deceptive’ advertising

T-Mobile faces suit in Washington state: After a complaint from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, T-Mobile has agreed to refund customers who feel that advertisements for the carrier’s new plan structure were deceptive.

Ferguson took objection to T-Mobile’s assertion that its plans are “no contract,” saying that the ads deceive users into thinking they can exit their contracts with no penalties. In a release, he said that he believes the carrier did not adequately share the information about the fees users have to pay when they terminate their contracts.

T-Mobile announced last month that it would begin charging users for their phones and wireless plans separately and would do away with two-year wireless service contracts. Instead, users can pay the entire, nonsubsidized price for their handsets or opt for a downpayment plan with subsequent, smaller monthly payments.

Microsoft, Google suit: A Seattle judge ruled that Microsoft must pay $1.8 million in royalties to Motorola for video-encoding technology — far less than the Google-owned mobile phone company had asked for.

As Bloomberg reported, courts don’t often step in to determine how much companies should charge for industry-standard patents, which are supposed to be licensed at “fair” rates to competitors.

“This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone,” said David Howard, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel.

Yahoo chairman steps down: Yahoo board chairman Fred Amoroso said Thursday that he will not seek reelection to the panel, effective immediately. He will stay on the board of directors until the company’s next shareholders meeting, Yahoo said in a release..

The move may give chief executive Marissa Mayer more room to maneuver as she focuses on improving Yahoo’s mobile and Web products and reversing its stalling revenue growth.

Amoroso has been chairman since May, when he said that he planned to serve on the board for about a year as the company transitioned between chief executives. Maynard Webb Jr. will assume the chairmanship until the June 25 shareholders meeting.

IDC smartphone report: IDC reported Friday that smartphone shipments have outshipped feature phones for the first time since the analyst firm has been keeping records.

The firm said that the mobile phone market grew 4 percent over the same period last year. Another trend: Chinese manufacturers are posing an increasing threat to more established market players, such as Samsung and Apple, the report said.

Samsung remained the leader in the smartphone market, with a 32.7 percent share — up from 28.8 percent in the same period last year. Apple, meanwhile, lost some market share, down to 17.3 percent from 23 percent in 2012.

By  |  03:34 PM ET, 04/26/2013

 
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