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Nice Day for a Wireless Wedding
Sprint's hometown paper, the Kansas City Star, noted that the merger "would mark the end of an era for Sprint. The company's local and business telephone services, the original business started in 1899 as the Brown Telephone Co., would be spun off to stockholders."
The Kansas City Star: It's A Deal, Sprint Nextel To Merge (Registration required)
It could also mark the start of a battle for cell phone equipment makers. The New York Times cautioned yesterday that Motorola could stand to lose a major customer if the merger goes through. Talk of the deal "ignited fears that Motorola will lose its exclusive deal to supply phones and equipment to Nextel. That loss could mean gains for Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, which are the main suppliers of wireless network equipment to Sprint," the paper said. "If a merger occurs, she and other industry analysts say, Sprint will induce Nextel's more than 15 million subscribers to turn in their handsets, which use an unconventional technology called iDEN. Sprint is likely to encourage these customers to buy its handsets, which use a more common technology known as CDMA, or code division multiple access. And to handle the influx of millions of extra customers, Sprint will probably have to order more equipment from Lucent, Nortel and other vendors."
The New York Times: Motorola May Lose Big Customer if Nextel Merges (Registration required)
The Spectrum Race
With the cell giants becoming even larger through consolidation, the brass ring to grab in the future will be more spectrum. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the spectrum battle in a front-page piece today. "Makers of personal computers, computer chips and other high-tech equipment have been pushing the government to make more spectrum available. Senior executives from Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc., among others, have begun regularly calling on federal lawmakers and regulators, in part to discuss spectrum," the newspaper said. "The computer makers are just the latest players agitating for an overhaul of the nation's spectrum policy. The Bush administration, responding to industry criticism that it has largely ignored technology issues during much of the president's first term, is stepping up efforts to get more radio waves in the hands of commercial entities as they develop and market new technologies."
The Wall Street Journal: Looking to Wireless For Growth, Tech Giants Seek More Spectrum (Subscription required)
AOL: "You've Got a Settlement?"
Time Warner has been waging a fierce effort to get past the accounting scandal at its America Online unit and other dealings that have been under federal scrutiny. That effort might be paying off. The New York Times, citing an undisclosed source, reported that the company "is expected to announce a settlement with the Justice Department in its investigation of advertising deals between America Online and smaller Internet companies that may have allowed [AOL] to exaggerate its growth, an official close to the case said yesterday. The announcement could come as early as today. The company may also announce a tentative agreement with the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is conducting a separate investigation into accounting irregularities ... the official said." The settlement could cost the company $600 million, the paper said. It also reported that Time Warner wants to end the deal to "help put the last issues from the widely criticized [AOL] merger behind it and in part because it wants to join with the Comcast Corporation to bid for part or all of Adelphia Communications, the bankrupt cable television company."
The New York Times: Settlements Seen Into U.S. Inquiries Into Time Warner (Registration required)
MPAA Goes After the Servers
The Motion Picture Association of America is expanding its campaign to try to squelch the practice of zapping illegally copied movies across the Net. "More than 100 people were targeted in an international campaign launched this week," washingtonpost.com reported. "The MPAA said that people who download copyrighted movie files were not the targets of its latest legal actions. Instead, the group is targeting individuals who provide key infrastructure services for a new class of sophisticated file-sharing programs developed by three companies -- BitTorrent, eDonkey and Direct Connect."
washingtonpost.com: Studios Step Up Fight Against Online Piracy (Registration required)
The Los Angeles Times reported that at a news conference, MPAA officials said "they no longer were targeting just individual file swappers suspected of copyright infringement. The studios have sued or sought criminal charges against scores of people who have helped pirates find movies to download through three popular file-sharing programs.
So far, the MPAA said, the lawsuits are targeting people in the U.S. and Britain who help users of BitTorrent software copy movies illegally. ... An undisclosed number of criminal actions, meanwhile, were brought in France, Finland and the Netherlands against people facilitating movie piracy not only with BitTorrent but also with eDonkey and Direct Connect. More such actions are expected in other countries."
The Los Angeles Times: MPAA Steps Up War on Piracy (Registration required)
A Black Eye for BlackBerry?
The BlackBerry has been such a popular tech gadget, helping soccer moms and road warriors alike scan e-mails away from the PC, that legal actions involving the company are worth keeping an eye on. A recent appeals court ruling tied to a patent dispute involving the BlackBerry could stymie sales, the Wall Street Journal reported. "A U.S. appeals court ruled against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. on 11 of 16 claims in a closely watched patent-infringement case, a decision that could block BlackBerry sales in the U.S. or force the company into a costly settlement. The appeals-court ruling favored NTP Inc., a small, closely held patent-holding concern in Virginia that has been pursuing claims concerning the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail device. NTP contends it holds patents covering the 'push' aspect of wireless e-mail, where an e-mail will pop up on a hand-held BlackBerry without the user having to check for new messages," the paper reported.
The Wall Street Journal: RIM Dealt Blow in Patent Case; Stock Falls 5.2% (Subscription required)
The New York Times said analysts had a mixed reaction to the ruling and what it means for Ontario-based RIM. "The court of appeals said a lower court had 'correctly found infringement' of patents in the case that pitted" RIM against NTP. "But the court concluded that the lower court had misconstrued the term 'originating processor,' which was used in several of the patent claims at issue, and sent it back to the lower court to determine if the first verdict should be modified." Stay tuned, or watch your BlackBerry for updates.
The New York Times: Court Upholds Patent Ruling Against Maker of BlackBerry (Registration required)
Internet Searches = Trend Setters?
Here's a hint at what's selling briskly for the holidays: Some of the top keyword searches on the Web have included iPods and Uggs, the popular clunky suede boots worn by Hollywood starlets and teeny-boppers alike, according to stats from AOL. "In technology, cellular phones topped the gadgets and devices category, followed by digital cameras and MP3 players, including the iPod. 'Spy ware' was the 43rd most searched-for word overall," CNET's News.com said. Here's the complete run-down of AOL's list of top searches for 2004.
CNET's News.com: Britney, iPod, Ugg Boots Top This Year's Searches