This week, the plot has thickened on the
proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger. So far, the Department of Justice has filed suit to block the merger, and the FCC said they would vote to prevent it after receiving a document revealing their reasoning for the merger. AT&T's response to the FCC was to pull the FCC application, citing a focus on the DoJ case. This has not worked out as expected.
Because of the withdrawal, the DoJ has said they will file to postpone proceedings. Their reasoning? A lack of an application to the FCC. Since both agencies have to sign off on the merger, they feel there is no need to rush the proceedings if AT&T is currently not seeking approval from the FCC. The comments came about during hearings to determine whether or not U.S. District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle will reconsider a speedy trial. Both AT&T and T-Mobile USA have said that a speedy trial is essential or the merger will certainly fail.
Legal teams from both companies have said that the FCC request was pulled to allow them to focus on a single application, while the DoJ says that removing their application to the FCC shows a lack of faith that the merger is viable. AT&T needs the speedy trial because there is a $4 billion timer ticking down to September of 2012, while T-Mobile needs a speedy trial because, at present, they are losing investor, customer and partner confidence.
If the trial is delayed, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA's parent company, will be forced to consider canceling the merger, which means losing out on that $4 billion cancellation penalty against AT&T. In a time of financial difficulty, that could really hurt them, but it is possible that another 7 months of waiting for an answer could hurt them more.
This has been a big week for Microsoft and its Xbox LIVE platform. We saw the launch of the
dashboard update promised at E3 2011, plus the beginning of the media enhancements we have been waiting for. We got a surprise iOS app, called My Xbox LIVE, plus a Sony-esque User License alteration.
Let's start with the bad - in a similar move to
the PlayStation Network, post hacking, Microsoft has added a new clause to their Terms of Service, preventing lawsuits against the company based on events involving Xbox or Xbox LIVE. Obviously, this is a reaction to the Sony breach earlier this year, however, they have taken a different tact. Sony allowed for an opt-out on the new clause, while Microsoft has not. While this lack of an opt-out has created a lot of discontentment in the Xbox community, it is important to note that, to date, the Xbox community has never risen against Microsoft, even while dealing with the RRoD problem in the early days of the 360.
To get the details on the iOS app and the dashboard and media enhancements, hit the break.