My op-ed today in The Hill (see “The Winter of Our Content,”) argues against those who want to derail the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. I don’t know enough to say whether the deal makes good business sense—that’s for the companies’ shareholders to decide in any case. But I do know that every media or communications merger of the last twenty years has been resisted for the same reason—that the combined entity will both have and exercise excessive market power to the detriment of consumers.
That argument has turned out to be wrong every time. It will be here as well. Read more about What the Comcast/NBC merger is really about
I write today on CNET News.com (see "FTC's new strategy: kick 'em when they're down") that the FTC’s decision yesterday to attack Intel seems oddly-timed.
Regular readers of this blog will recall that only a month ago, I wrote that Intel’s settlement of long-standing disputes with rival AMD (see "The Intel/AMD Settlement: Watch What Happens")) was likely to mean the end of government-sponsored litigation against Intel, or at least a toning down of the rhetoric. I was, clearly, wrong. Read more about FTC: Protecting Consumers from Moore's Law?
I have some sympathy for social networking sites that, in order to become profitable businesses, must make use of the user data that is, in essence, the only asset these businesses have. Well, that and the goodwill of their users, which is sorely tested by the clumsy processes by which changes to user agreements and terms of services are made. What I don't sympathize with, in other words, is bad PR. Read more about Facebook privacy flap reveals bad PR more than bad policy
Initial reports of the FTC's privacy and technology conference, which began today, suggest that the speakers are leaning heavily toward the apocalyptic.
The real privacy paradox isn't between user "attitudes" in poorly-designed surveys and user behavior that contradicts them, but between the coalition of security companies, legal scholars and journalists who see a paradox and the rest of the world, who see something much more subtle and ambiguous. Read more about Reasonable Doubts for the FTC's Privacy Conference
The debate over net neutrality is rapidly devolving into a war of the words--increasingly, words that take the form of hyperbole. Case in point: as reported last week by the Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang, White House Deputy Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin told attendees at a recent conference that the Obama administration is committed not only to neutrality but to global free speech, and that indeed, neutrality “underlies free speech on the Web.” The two are “intrinsically linked,” according to McLaughlin, because without neutrality, there is the possibility of censorship.
“If it bothers you that the China government does it, it should bother you when your cable company does it,” McLaughlin was quoted as saying. Read more about Net Neutrality: War of the Words