|Google to Acquire Motorola
8/15. Google filed a
Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) on August 15 that states that "On August 15, 2011, Google Inc.
(Google) and Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (Motorola) issued a joint press release
announcing that they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Google will
Google stated in this attached
release that "Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will
remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business."
Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google, stated in this release
that "our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to
Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community".
This release also states that "Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per
share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, a premium of 63% to the closing price of
Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. The transaction was unanimously
approved by the boards of directors of both companies."
This transaction is subject to numerous approvals by regulatory agencies. The release
asserts that this transaction "will enhance competition in mobile computing".
Google published a
short piece in its web site by CEO Larry Page titled "Supercharging Android: Google
to Acquire Motorola". It states that "This acquisition will not change our commitment
to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will
remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have
contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them
to deliver outstanding user experiences."
It adds that "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by
strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect
Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."
Motorola Mobility also supplies equipment to the cable industry. Matthew Polka, head of
the American Cable Association (ACA), stated in a
release that "We're going
to review the deal to understand the impact on the cable set-top box market,
which has been a frustrating one for small cable operators long beholden to the
Motorola-Cisco duopoly. For many cable operators, the question is whether
Google's takeover of Motorola as one of only two major manufacturers will make
things better or worse. ACA members will want assurances from Google that it is
both committed to the cable business model and won't use its market power to run
roughshod over smaller cable operators."
Polka added that "the future holds great promise for rural consumers as small cable
operators explore IP- and cloud-based solutions in offering video to subscribers on TVs, PCs
and mobile devices. Prior to today's Motorola Mobility announcement, Google has had its own
interests in all of these areas, and it will be important that Google's other business interests
do not unduly harm the growth of these new competitive market opportunities.
The Free Press's Derek Turner stated in a
release that "The current dominance of two companies in the mobile operating system
and applications markets already raises concerns about gatekeeper control, and the vertical
integration of the Android OS could impact how app developers innovate and reach consumers.
On the surface, this deal doesn’t appear to be in the same league as other competition- and
job-killing mergers underway in the telecom marketplace. But in order for the potential of
mobile broadband to be realized, it’s important to keep markets open and ensure consumers can
exercise free choice."
|Time Warner Cable to Acquire
8/15. Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Insight Communications announced in a
release that "they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Time
Warner Cable will acquire Insight for $3 billion in cash". See also, identical Insight
release, and TWC's
Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) on August 15.
This release states that Insight serves "approximately 537,000 high-speed data
subscribers, 679,000 video subscribers and 297,000 voice subscribers" in the states of
Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
This transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
Derek Turner of the Free Press, a Washington DC based interest group that
regularly criticizes cable companies, stated in a
release that "We are eager to hear from Time Warner Cable exactly how this proposed
transaction will benefit consumers, and not just help shareholders looking for a merger to
soothe the jitters of a rocky market. Time Warner Cable's broadband network upgrades have not
kept pace with some of their peers, and they have a history of trying to squeeze every last
penny out of their rate-hike weary customers. In short, they have a long way to go to convince
people that this deal is in the public interest."
|DHHS Offers Money to Facebook App
8/15. The Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) published a
in the Federal Register (FR) that announces an application development contest
titled "Lifeline Facebook App Challenge".
This notice states that "Entrants are required to develop an app that enables a Facebook
user to invite three Facebook friends to become `Lifelines,' or points of contact who agree to
act as a source of support during disasters. Entrants are encouraged to creatively leverage
Facebook's existing networking and geo-locating capabilities to enhance the app's ability to
increase personal preparedness, locate potential disaster victims, and streamline information
sharing among social networks during disasters."
The winner of this contest will receive $10,000. The second place contestant
will receive $5,000. The third place contestant will receive $1,000.
The deadline to submit entries is November 4, 2011. (The DHHS stated in its original notice
in the FR that the deadline is 11:59 PM on September 15, 2011. It then published a
correction notice in the FR that changes the deadline to November 4, 2011.)
The statutory authority for this contest is Section 105 of HR 5116
WW] (111th Congress),
the "America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education,
and Science Reauthorization Act of 2010", a huge spending authorization bill enacted late
last year. It is now Public Law No. 111-358.
This section merely provides that "Each head of an agency, or the heads of
multiple agencies in cooperation, may carry out a program to award prizes
competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the
mission of the respective agency." It makes no references to social networking
web sites. It does not require technology or service provider neutrality.
See, original notice
in the FR, Vol. 76, No. 154, Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at Pages 49485-49486. See also,
in the FR, Volume 76, No. 157, Monday, August 15, 2011, at Page 50481.
See also, story titled "Obama Signs COMPETES Reauthorization Bill" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No.
2,193, January 5, 2011, and "House and Senate Pass COMPETES Reauthorization Bill"
in TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 2,187, December 23, 2010.
|FTC Issues Staff Advisory Opinion On CBBB Online
Behavioral Advertising Compliance Program
8/15. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
sent a letter
[8 pages in PDF] to Alan Cohen, General Counsel of the
Council of Better Business
Bureaus (CBBB) that contains a staff advisory opinion regarding the CBBB's
accountability program for enforcing compliance with the "Self-Regulatory
Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising".
The CBBB sought a staff advisory opinion regarding whether the FTC would
bring an enforcement action challenging this online behavioral advertising (OBA)
accountability program as an anti-competitive restraint of trade. The FTC letter
states that the "FTC staff has no present intention of recommending that the
Commission bring any such enforcement action".
A coalition of industry groups, including the CBBB,
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Direct
Marketing Association (DMA) and others, released a
[48 pages in PDF] titled "Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral
Advertising" on July 1, 2009.
It followed the FTC's February 12, 2009 release of a
[PDF] titled "Self-Regulatory Principles For Online Behavioral Advertising". See
also, story titled "FTC Releases Report on Online Behavioral Advertising" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 1,899, February 13, 2009.
The just released FTC letter states that "The proposed CBBB accountability
program appears similar to industry self-regulation to establish and seek
industry-member compliance with an ethical code. The antitrust laws do not
prohibit professional or trade associations from adopting reasonable ethical
codes to protect consumers."
"In some instances, however, particular ethical restrictions or compliance
mechanisms can unreasonably restrain competition and harm consumers, thereby
violating the antitrust laws. Accordingly, we consider the purpose and effects
of the proposed accountability program."
The letter continues that "As a general matter, industry self-regulation to
provide consumers with more useful information and increased choice promotes
consumer welfare with little or no risk of diminishing competition among
complying businesses. But industry self-regulatory programs can be designed or
misused by competitors to limit competition among them, resulting in increased
prices, reduced consumer choice, lesser innovation, and other consumer harms. In
addition, industry self-regulatory programs can operate as agreements to exclude
non-compliant products or companies from the market. Thus, an agreement among
competitors to impose on non-complying companies sanctions that limit their
ability to compete effectively would be of concern to antitrust enforcement
authorities." (Footnotes omitted.)
This letter then concludes, based upon this analysis, that "the program has
little potential for competitive harm", for five reasons.
First, "the accountability program is intended to enhance consumers'
understanding and control of OBA".
Second, "the accountability program will impose only relatively minor burdens
on companies participating in OBA".
Third, the FTC applies the rule or reason to this program, and "the sanctions
for non-compliance with the Principles contemplated under and in conjunction
with the accountability program do not appear unreasonable".
Fourth, "the self-regulatory system envisioned by the Principles and the
accountability program is broadly applicable across product categories,
advertisers, and web site operators. Accordingly, its impacts are not focused on
any specific market for goods or services. As a result, the potential for
adverse competitive impact in any specific market for goods or services is
Fifth, this accountability program poses little risk of "crowding out" other
systems for protecting consumers with respect to OBA.
The FTC's rules, at
16 CFR §§ 1.1-1.4, address advisory opinions generally. Also, on June 23,
2011, the FTC's (FTC) Bureau of Competition (BOC) released a
[10 pages in PDF] that provides information on requesting an advisory opinion
involving a competition issue. It is titled "Guidance From the Bureau of
Competition on Requesting and Obtaining an Advisory Opinion". See also, story
titled "FTC Releases Guidance on Requesting Advisory Opinions on Competition
Issues" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,252, June 30, 2011.
|This issue contains the following items:
• Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility
• Time Warner Cable to Acquire Insight Communications
• DHHS Offers Money to Facebook App Developers
• FTC Issues Staff Advisory Opinion On CBBB Online Behavioral Advertising Compliance Program
New items are highlighted in
|Monday, August 15
The House will not meet. It is in recess until 2:00 PM on
September 7. However, it will hold pro forma sessions twice per week until then.
The Senate will not meet. It is in recess until 2:00 PM on
September 6. However, it will hold pro forma sessions twice per week until then.
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The
Heritage Foundation (HF) will host a
panel discussion titled "National EMP Recognition Day: The Threat That
Can't Be Ingnored". The speakers will be
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Peter
Pry (EMPact America), Frank Gafney (Center for Security Studies), Drew Miller,
and James Carafano (HF). This event is free and open to the public. See,
notice. Location: HF, 214
Massachusetts Ave., NE.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) regarding the report submitted to the FCC on June 30, 2011, by the technical working
group co-chaired by LightSquared and the
U.S. Global Positioning System Industry Council (USGIC). See, FCC International Bureau's (IB)
June 30, 2011. It is DA 11-1133 in DA 11-1133. See also report,
and part 7.
EXTENDED FROM AUGUST 8. Extended deadline to submit comments to the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in response to its
notice in the
Federal Register regarding the proposed self-regulatory guidelines submitted to the FTC by
Aristotle International, Inc. under the safe harbor provision of the Children's Online
Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 123, Monday,
June 27, 2011, at Pages 37290-37291. See,
notice of extension.
Deadline to submit comments to the
National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST)
Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its draft
NIST IR-7275 Rev. 4 [77 pages in PDF] titled "Specification for the Extensible
Configuration Checklist Description Format (XCCDF) Version 1.2".
|Tuesday, August 16
The House will meet in pro forma session at 11:30 AM.
The Senate will meet in pro forma session at 11:00 AM.
|Wednesday, August 17
12:30 - 1:30 PM. The American
Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "Tax Aspects
of Technology Transactions". The speakers will be Roger Royse (Royse Law Firm) and
Kenneth Appleby (Foley & Lardner). Prices vary. CLE credits. See,
|Thursday, August 18
TIME? The American Bar
Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "LinkedIn for
1:00 PM. The US Telecom will host
a webinar titled "Navigating the Rising Tide of Cyber Crime". The
speaker will be Tom Dotson (CIO of SureWest). Free. See,
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in response to its
Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (NPRM) [36 pages in PDF] regarding removing the International Settlements Policy
(ISP) from all U.S. international routes except Cuba. The FCC adopted this NPRM on May 12,
2011, and released the text on May 13, 2011. This item is FCC 11-75 in IB Docket No. 11-80.
See, notice in
the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 138, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at Pages 42625-42631.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in response to its
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [82 pages in PDF] regarding reporting requirements
for providers of international telecommunications services. The FCC adopted this NPRM on May
12, 2011, and released the text on May 13, 2011. This item is FCC 11-76 in IB Docket No.
04-112. See, notice
in the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 138, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at Pages 42613-42625.
|Friday, August 19
The House will meet in pro forma session at 1:00 PM.
The Senate will meet in pro forma session at 10:00 AM.
1:00 - 2:30 PM. The
American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled
"Ownership of Digital Media and Electronic Privacy". The speakers will be
Ben Kleinman (Manatt Phelps),
Sharra Brockman (Verv),
Eric Crusius (Centre Law
Group), and Paul Roberts (Hogan Lovells).
Prices vary. CLE credits. See,
|Monday, August 22
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS)
Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to discuss the consultation
of International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Telecommunication Standardization Sector
Study Group 15 regarding whether draft Recommendation G.tp-oam (Operations, Administration
and Maintenance mechanism for MPLS-TP in Packet Transport Network (PTN)) should be approved
as a policy-level document, and what policy position the US should take at the December 2011
Study Group 15 meeting on this issue. See,
notice in the
Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 153, Tuesday, August 9, 2011, at Page 48939. Location: DOS,
2201 C St., NW.
Deadline to submit oppositions to petitions for
reconsideration of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)'s
Report and Order
and Order on Reconsideration [144 pages in PDF] regarding pole attachments. That
order is FCC 11-50 in WC Docket No. 07-245 and GN Docket No. 09-51. The FCC adopted and
released it on April 7, 2011. The National Cable &
Telecommunications Association (NCTA), COMPTEL, and tw telecom filed a
reconsideration on June 8, 2011. The Coalition of Concerned Utilities also filed a
reconsideration on June 8, 2011. See, June 20, 2011
Public Notice and
notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 143, Tuesday, July 26, 2011,
at Pages 44495-44496.
|About Tech Law
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Copyright 1998-2011 David Carney. All rights reserved.