The Washington Post

The Circuit: White House spectrum forum, Dish buys Blockbuster, Cisco CEO vows to refocus

LEADING THE DAY: The White House will host a forum on spectrum auctions on Wednesday, presenting a letter of support signed by 100 economists who have endorsed the plan. There have been some questions about the need for auctions after the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. At the very least, the possible merger could raise doubts in lawmaker’s minds about the need for the plan.

In a recent research note, Paul Gallant of MF Global said “The  merger could be read by some in Congress as, ‘Do we need to pass  controversial spectrum legislation when AT&T is saying the T-Mobile  deal gives it access to more spectrum?’ ”

DISH Network buys Blockbuster: Dish Network announced that it won the auction for video-rental retailer Blockbuster on Wednesday morning. The network’s winning bid was valued at approximately $320 million. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011.

Dish explained its rationale in a statement issued Wednesday morning, saying Blockbuster’s brick-and-mortar locations and multiple delivery methods complement Dish’s current services. In the statement, Tom Cullen, the company’s  executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Programming said, “While Blockbuster's business faces significant challenges, we look forward to working with its employees to re-establish Blockbuster's brand as a leader in video entertainment.”

Cisco CEO vows to restore company focus:In a memo to staff, Cisco CEO John Chambers said that  while the company has a strong vision and strategy, it has lost focus and been slow to react. Reuters first reported the nearly 1,500-word memo, which was posted on Cisco’s company blog.

“Bottom line, we have lost some of the credibility that is foundational to Cisco’s success – and we must earn it back,” Chambers wrote.

Senate Judiciary addresses privacy again: The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up privacy again in a hearing this morning. U.S. Commerce general counsel Cameron Kerry and Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General James A. Baker will testify.

House net neutrality vote Thursday: The House will vote on the net neutrality disapproval resolution Thursday, after passing a rule to proceed with the vote on Tuesday, The Hill reported. The resolution would appeal the net neutrality regulations the Federal Communications Commission passed last year.

Apple wins patent suit: A judge overturned an order that Apple pay $625.5 million to Mirror Worlds, LLC, for patent violations.  According to the Associated Press, the U.S. District Court ruling overturns one of the largest patent infringement verdicts in history. The patents in question relate to Apple’s Cover Flow, Time Machine and Spotlight features.

Twitter wins San Francisco tax break: Twitter will get a tax break and stay in San Francisco, after the city approved a proposal to exempt a payroll tax for companies that move to the city’s Tenderloin district. Twitter had earlier signed a letter to lease office space in that district if the exemption was approved.   The vote was approved 8-3 by the city’s board of supervisors.

The vote will save the company about $22 million in taxes over six years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Twitter had threatened to move south if the tax break did not go through.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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