Staff attorneys at the Justice Department’s antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp.’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
Attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concerns that consumers would be harmed and could submit their review as soon as next week, said the people.
The antitrust lawyers will present their findings to Renata Hesse, a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust, who will decide, along with the division’s top officials, whether to file a federal lawsuit to block the deal, they said.
The Justice Department lawyers have been contacting outside parties in the last few weeks to shore up evidence to support a potential case against the merger, one of the people said.
The French fire a new salvo in the new century trade wars.
It’s been a bad week for Google in Europe, with the Competition Commission on Wednesday adopting a Statement of Objections regard its shopping comparison service — marking an escalation of a five-year long antitrust investigation. The Competition Commissioner also launched a parallel in depth probe into Google’s mobile OS Android, following antitrust complains. Those high level processes could last years, and have the potential to result in multi-billion-dollar fines if Google can’t satisfy the EC.
Meanwhile in France, the upper house of parliament yesterday voted to support an amendment to a draft economy bill that would require search engines to display at least three rivals on their homepage. And also to reveal the workings of their search ranking algorithms to ensure they deliver fair and non-discriminatory results. Given that Google has a circa 90% share of the search market in France these amendments, although not specifically naming any companies, are aimed squarely at Mountain View.
The amendments are led by Senate member Catherine Morin-Desailly, who is also Chair of the Committee of Culture and Communication. Another amendment stipulating that one of the alternative search engines on display should be a French product was also supported. La Figaro reports that France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, spoke against the amendments — arguing such interventions should be left to the EC. But Morin-Desailly made the case for urgency, in order to support homegrown businesses, saying European procedures are too slow.
Google has published Android for Work, its BYOD app for older Android smartphones that allows users to carve out a secure space for their business apps.
The app, which arrived on Google Play on Thursday, adds impetus to Google’s plan to get more of the billion Android devices owned by consumers accepted by businesses as work devices.
Much like BlackBerry Balance, Android for Work aims to ensure personal data never meets its work counterpart, despite living on the same device. While Samsung has offered that capability to its devices through Knox, it wasn’t available to other Android devices.
The Korean company helped Google deliver some key components of Android for Work, such as ‘work profiles’, which are native to Android 5.0 Lollipop thanks to its support for multi-user accounts. The Android for Work app is for older devices through to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to Android KitKat 4.4, which covers the vast majority of Android phones in use today.
It’s great news that serious industry players like Netflix are breaking down the resource capacity issues that full next generation TLS encryption presents.
Netflix will soon use the HTTPS protocol to authenticate and encrypt customer streams, a move that helps ensure what users watch stays secret. The move now leaves Amazon as one of the most noticeable no-shows to the Web encryption party.
Flipping on the HTTPS switch on Netflix’s vast network of OpenConnect Appliances (OCAs) has been anything but effortless. That’s because the demands of mass movie streaming can impose severe penalties when transport layer security (TLS) is enabled. Each Netflix OCA is a server-class computer with a 64-bit Xeon CPU running the FreeBSD operating system. Each box stores up to 120 terabytes of data and serves up to 40,000 simultaneous, long-lived connections, a load that requires as much as 40 gigabits per second of continuous bandwidth. Like Amazon, Netflix has long encrypted log-in pages and other sensitive parts of its website but has served movie streams over unsecured HTTP connections. Netflix took the unusual step of announcing the switch in a quarterly earnings letter that company officials sent shareholders Tuesday.
Netflix first experimented with TLS-protecting customer streams six months ago when it dedicated several servers to deliver only HTTPS traffic to a subclass of users and compared the results to similarly situated servers serving HTTP streams. The results weren’t encouraging. There was as much as a 53-percent capacity hit. The penalty was the result of the additional computational requirements of the encryption itself and the lost ability to use certain Netflix streaming optimizations. The optimizations involve avoiding data copies to and from a server’s user space, something that’s not possible with HTTPS turned on.
There is a remarkable “wind rush” on in the U.S., and utilities are falling behind.
Installations jumped 400% from 2013 to 2014. A record 11,300 MW of wind was contracted for in those two years, but utilities lost 23% of the capacity to new players in the space.
“Among the 4,854 MW commissioned during 2014, 40% of the capacity was contracted under long term power purchase agreements (PPA)… and 26% is utility-owned,” according to the “U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report” from the American Wind Industry Association (AWEA), the wind sector trade group.
That 40% of capacity installed through PPAs “is down significantly from the 75% of capacity installed in 2013, 76% of capacity installed in 2012, and the 55% of capacity installed during 2011,” the report adds.
Commercial drone startups are flying high in 2015.
High-profile startups such as 3D Robotics have, between them, already raised a significant $50 million in funding this year. Major companies such as General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) are investing to help fund the take-off of commercial unmanned vehicles (UAVs). Venture capital firms have already started to get on the drone bandwagon in 2014.
CBI Insights says that venture funding reached $108 million in 29 deals in 2014, more than double the previous year.
“Year-over-year funding increased 104% as venture firms including Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others, jumped into the drone space with sizeable bets,” the analyst firm notes on its blog.
More: Top 10 Drone Startups
As the fifth season premiere of Game of Thrones inched towards its Sunday debut, we wondered whether HBO could withstand so many fans rushing its Internet doors. Major GoT airings have made the HBO Go service falter in the past, and this time, the company’s spanking-new HBO Now offering would have to withstand a whole slew of “Thronies.”
As it turns out, HBO’s servers held up just fine, but something else sprung a leak. Before the fifth season’s first episode officially aired in the United States, it had already leaked online—along with a few more episodes. The season’s first four episodes appeared on torrent sites late Saturday night, and they all appeared to have been sourced from DVD “screener” copies that had been sent to critics ahead of the season premiere.
We’re used to TV episodes popping up on torrent sites as soon as they air; it doesn’t take much more than a capture card, a modern PC, and a decent broadband connection to nab some sweet Internet notoriety. But we were dumbstruck by the mess HBO found itself in. It’s 2015. What the heck were they doing?
The same thing is happening in my neighborhood, Time Warner is upping the speed to 300 mbps to compete with the coming 1gb rate from Google.
With Google Fiber preparing an expansion into Charlotte, North Carolina, incumbent cable operator Time Warner Cable is trying to hold onto customers by dramatically increasing Internet speeds at no extra charge.
“The Internet transformation will begin this summer and will include speed increases on TWC residential Internet plans at no additional cost, with customers experiencing increases up to six times faster, depending on their current level of Internet service,” Time Warner Cable announced last week. “For example, customers who subscribe to Standard, formerly up to 15Mbps, will now receive up to 50Mbps, customers who subscribe to Extreme, formerly up to 30Mbps, will now receive up to 200Mbps; and customers who subscribe to Ultimate, formerly up to 50Mbps, will receive up to 300Mbps, at no extra charge.”
Google announced plans to enter Charlotte and a few other metro areas in January and is working with local officials to finalize the network design so that construction can begin.
Radioactive robot stranded inside nuclear reactor.
If this isn’t a comic book origins of an Ultron-like super villian I don’t know what is. First, Skynet is coming online. Now we have Ultron around the corner. And these robots are pissed off.
These clothes soon may be all the rave: Fiber science and physics students have teamed to create fashionable “smart” garments with vivid, luminescent panels that pulse to music.
Undergraduates will model “Irradiance” - a collection of electrogarments designed by Eric Beaudette ‘16, fiber science; Lina Sanchez Botero, graduate student in the field of fiber science; and Neal Reynolds, graduate student in the field of physics - on the runway at the Cornell Fashion Collective, Saturday, April 11, at 8 p.m. at Barton Hall.