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U.S. refuses to back U.N. treaty #thecircuit

U.S. refuses to back U.N. treaty: The Obama administration said Thursday that the United States will not sign a U.N. treaty being considered at the International Telecommunications Union conference, The Washington Post reported.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior administration official told the Post that the United States “couldn’t conceive of signing the text without a major revision at this point.”

The United States objects to language in the treaty that suggests the regulation of private, as well as public telecommunications networks.

Sprint makes a buyout bid for Clearwire: Sprint has made a buyout bid for Clearwire, a move that would bolster the company’s spectrum portfolio.

The nation’s third-largest carrier currently owns 51 percent of Clearwire. In a filing Sprint made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company outlined a $2.1 billion bid for the other 49 percent at $2.90 per share.

Any deal between Sprint and Clearwire would have to happen after Sprint finalizes its transaction with Japanese wireless carrier Softbank, which announced plans to buy a 70 percent stake in Sprint in October.

In a filing of its own, Clearwire confirmed that it is in “discussions with Sprint regarding a potential strategic transaction.”

Loud commercial ban takes effect: A ban on loud commercials — or rather, ads that are broadcast at a louder volume than their surrounding programs — goes into effect Thursday.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) held a news conference Thursday to celebrate the law, which Eshoo authored.

“Earsplitting television ads have jolted and annoyed viewers for decades,” Eshoo said in a statement. “With this new law, loud TV commercials that make consumers run for the mute button or change the channel altogether will be a thing of the past.”

Google releases iPhone Maps app: Google announced late Wednesday that its Maps app is back for the iPhone. Google Maps had been the default navigation service on the iPhone since the app was first released in 2007. But earlier this year, Apple kicked the app off its mobile device and replaced it with its own mapping program, Maps.

The Google Maps app is free for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The company has yet to release an iPad-optimized version of the app, though a blown-up version of the phone app will run on the tablet.

E.U. ends probe into Apple, publishers: The European Union said Thursday it will end its antitrust probe into e-book prices, Reuters reported, accepting a settlement offer from Apple and publishers that said they will ease pricing restrictions on Amazon and retailers.

Reuters had previously reported in November that the commission was planning to accept the settlement.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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