The Washington Post

The Circuit: Wireless tax bill, Amazon cuts ties over state taxes, Hulu shrinking its board

LEADING THE DAY:Measures to keep states and local governments from adding taxes to wireless bills were introduced in the House and Senate yesterday. The Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011, a similar bill to those introduced in 2008 and 2009, would prohibit states from imposing new discriminatory taxes on wireless goods and services for five years.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced the companion bills. The legislation has been endorsed by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.

“As wireless communications become a necessity for families and businesses nationwide, it is imperative wireless consumers are protected from the burdens of exorbitant fees, surcharges, and general business taxes.” Snowe said in a statement.

State tax laws lose Amazon business: Amazon has cut ties with affiliates in Illinois after Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill that requires Amazon affiliates in the state to collect in-state sales tax from the online retailer. According to CNET, in 1992, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retailers need not collect sales tax on out-of-state shipments unless they have offices in those states. Amazon has closed affiliate programs in Colorado, North Carolina and Rhode Island for similar reasons. The company has also closed a distribution center in Texas over sales tax issues.

Hulu planning a smaller board:Hulu is planning to cut down its board, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the newspaper reported that Walt Disney Co. chief executive Bob Iger and News Corp. COO Chase Carey might be giving up their seats on the video-streaming site’s board of directors. The move is an attempt to streamline the decision-making process at Hulu. The board currently has 12 members, and it is not clear how many members would be cut overall. Hulu has declined to comment on the story.

Google antitrust: Google faces more antitrust scrutiny from the U.S. Senate as it continues to face an investigation in Europe. Although the search giant faces accusations of preferential result ranking abroad, domestic scrutiny has turned to its expansion through acquisitions.

At a conference in Silicon Valley, representatives from Google and Bing said that they have exception lists, which the Register points out could contradict what Google has told the European Union about how much manual control it exerts over its search algorithms.

Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow resigns: Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow announced yesterday that he will step down from his position, citing personal reasons. Clearwire Chairman John Stanton has been named the interim chief executive while the company conducts a search led by board member Dennis Hersch.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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