The Washington Post

The Circuit: Apple and Exxon, satellite TV loses customers, Calif. merger review

LEADING THE DAY: Apple briefly passed Exxon Mobil as the company with the highest market value Tuesday, though the oil giant reclaimed its title by the close of the day, The Washington Post reported. Although analysts dismissed the event as simply another data point in Apple’s growth, it’s worth noting that the company was struggling to survive just over a decade ago.

That a personal computer company could become the most valuable in America also illustrates the rise of consumer technology. Apple is one of the most widely held and most-traded stocks in the country.

Satellite TV losing customers: The satellite TV industry lost subscribers for the first time, the Associated Press reported, with Dish Network and DirecTV reporting that more customers have dropped their subscriptions than have signed on for new service. Together, the companies have lost 109,000 subscribers, the report said. Dish has said it will freeze prices through January 2013 in order to stay competitive.

AT&T, T-Mobile merger faces Calif. review: The proposed deal between AT&T and T-Mobile faces state review from the California public utilities commission, Bloomberg reported. According to the report, state commissioner Catherine Sandoval is particularly focused on how the merger will affect rural communities and the wireless industry.

The merger has gained support in three states — West Virginia, Arizona and Louisiana. Analysts say that while merger approval is a federal matter, state regulators can impact a deal by imposing their own conditions. A large state like California, which has a lot of consumers, can therefore wield great influence.

Comcast, DirecTV: A federal judge denied Comcast a temporary restraining order against DirecTV late Tuesday. Comcast had hit DirecTV with a false advertising lawsuit due to DirecTV’s claims that satellite customers can get its NFL Sunday Ticket service at no extra cost. DirecTV bundles the feature, which allows fans to watch every NFL game every Sunday, for one season with certain cable packages. It is then automatically renewed at the end of the season for a subscription fee.

“We’re pleased the judge recognized Comcast’s veiled attempt to limit our ability to compete in the marketplace and denied” the temporary restraining order, said Jon Gieselman, DirecTV’s senior vice president of marketing and direct sales.

Samsung, Apple: Late Tuesday, a German judge granted Apple a preliminary injunction against Samsung, banning the import of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Europe. The order — which excludes the Netherlands — comes as a blow to Samsung, which says it received no notice of the order before it was handed down, Bloomberg reported. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has already been removed from following the order.

No LightSquared timetable: Federal Communications Commission officials said Tuesday that they cannot confirm a review of LightSquared will be completed by September, as the company has said, The Hill reported. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that he would like to see LightSquared’s system work alongside GPS.

Anonymous threatens Facebook: Self-proclaimed hacktivist group Anonymous has threatened to take down Facebook on Nov. 5, The Village Voice reported Tuesday. Citing problems with the site’s privacy policies, a video announcement of “OpFacebook” also accused the company of selling personal information to the government. The social network’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that Facebook does not and will not sell personal information.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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