The Washington Post

The Circuit: AT&T’s next round, Google’s Schmidt to the Hill, Facebook redesign

LEADING THE DAY: AT&T is preparing for the next round in its fight to acquire T-Mobile, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. AT&T and T-Mobile are expected to ask Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia for an expedited trial Wednesday in its case with the Justice Department. The Justice Department is expected to ask for a trial date in 2012. Sprint Nextel has also been asked to appear at the hearing, said spokesman John Taylor.

Led by its top political operative, James Cicconi, AT&T has renewed its media and political push for the merger.

Google antitrust: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will testify on the Hill today before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and will be under pressure to explain why Google’s business practices don’t violate the country’s antitrust laws, The Washington Post reported. It is Schmidt’s first appearance on the Hill, though he’s no stranger to Washington, and the antitrust subpanel will be scrutinizing Google’s dominant share of the search market and the impact that has on the Web as a whole. Executives from Yelp and Nextag will testify in the hearing’s second panel.

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the European Union have begun looking into Google’s practices, but Schmidt told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that he is “pretty comfortable we’re in good shape.” According to written testimony submitted Tuesday, Schmidt will point to the number of competitors the company has in all areas of the company — from Microsoft to Facebook — and will point to the economic activity that Google has generated for the country, according to a report from the New York Times’ Steve Lohr.

Facebook redesign: Facebook rolled out even more changes to its site Tuesday, curating the News Feed of updates that appear on profile pages and denoting certain entries as “top stories.” The company also added a real-time news ticker to the side of the page, aimed at getting people to truly use the site as a social tool. The company is expected to introduce a complete overhaul of its site at its f8 developers conference Thursday, Mashable reported, with more features aimed at increasing time spend on the site.

Google also added new features to its social networking site, Google + and opened it up to the public for beta testing, setting the stage for a fierce rivalry between the two networks.

Distilled Spirits Council’s new marketing rules: The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and its counterpart in Europe announced new marketing guidelines Tuesday for all alcohol advertising and marketing on social networking sites. The rules are aimed at preventing alcohol marketing materials from reaching underage consumers.

The new guidelines require verifying customers’ ages before advertisers engage in direct communication with them, privacy policies that guard the collection and use of personal information, clear identifiers for marketing materials, and visible instructions which urge users to share content only with those over 21 years of age.

The new guidelines go into effect on Sept. 30.

Google, Oracle: Google and Oracle are struggling to make progress in talks this week to resolve a long-standing patent infringement case, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Citing an unnamed person “briefed on the talks,” the report says the two companies are still at an impasse as they discuss Oracle’s claim that Google did not obtain a license to use Java technology patents in its mobile operating system, Android. The case is scheduled to go to trial in October.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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