The Switchboard: What Apple sees in buying Beats

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Why Apple is betting big on beats: Hardware for now, streaming for later. "It’s likely that Apple is more interested, long-term, in the potential of Beats Music, the subscription streaming service," according to Re/code. "Rather than trying to build another service in-house, why not speed things up by buying a turn-key operation?"

On net neutrality, the FCC's chairman increasingly stands alone. "To outsiders, the FCC may seem like a black box: We haven't even seen a draft of the proposed rules that have critics so alarmed," I write. "But on the inside of the commission, a charged political battle is playing out that could set the tone for the commission's future. And the fault lines are mostly leaving the agency's head, Tom Wheeler, cut off from the rest of his colleagues."

Comcast plots big push in Web video ads. "Comcast will aim to help 'premium' video producers such as Disney, FOX, Viacom and Time Warner manage and sell ad space on Web-based video services," reports The Information, "and include the ability to serve ads on shows viewed on-demand through cable boxes or on its Xfinity website."

Former NSA chief defends stockpiling software flaws for spying. "In a rare statement following his retirement last month, former NSA chief Keith Alexander acknowledged and defended that practice," writes Wired. "In doing so, he admitted the deeply contradictory responsibilities of an agency tasked with defending Americans’ security and simultaneously hoarding bugs in software they use every day."

Ergen says Dish Network cannot afford to bid for DirecTV. "Dish Network Corp Chairman Charlie Ergen said the satellite TV company would not make a move for competitor DirecTV because the price would be too high, even though a combination of the two companies would have high synergies," according to Reuters.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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