Readers have been asking me to write about the recent network hack at Sony Pictures Entertainment. If you run a company like Sony Pictures it has to be tough to see your company secrets stolen all at once — salaries, scripts, and Social Security numbers all revealed along with a pre-release HD copy of Annie, not to mention an entire database of unhappy Sony employees who want to work anywhere Adam Sandler doesn’t. But frankly my dear I don’t give a damn about any of that so let’s cut to the heart of this problem which really comes down to executive privilege. Sony was hacked because some president or vice-president or division head […]
Who owns your telephone number? According to Section 251(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, you own your number and can move it to the carrier of your choice. But who owns your texting phone number? It’s the same number, just used for a different purpose. The law says nothing about texting so the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are claiming that number is theirs, not yours, even if you are the one paying a little extra for unlimited texting. And the way they see it, unlimited is clearly limited, with carriers and texting services not offered by the Big Four expected soon to pay cash to reach you.
In case you missed it, the Rambling Wrecks of Georgia Tech will next year begin offering an online masters degree in computer science for a total price of just under $7000 — about 80 percent less than the current in-state tuition for an equivalent campus-based program. The degree program, offered in cooperation with AT&T and courseware company Udacity, will cost the same no matter where the students live, though two thirds are expected to live and work outside the USA. Time to complete the degree will vary but Georgia Tech thinks most students […]
What’s going to happen with TiVO? The pioneering Digital Video Recorder company is still in business with around a million subscribers and it has lately been settling patent infringement cases with big companies like Echostar and — just this week — with AT&T, but the longer term prospects for the company are dim. Yes, they’ll likely rake in hundreds of million more in settlements from companies including Verizon, but at the same time their subscriber base is dwindling and a point will come when their hardware will simply disappear as the company loses manufacturing economies of scale. That is unless they want to start shipping each new unit with a $100 bill attached — something […]
Verizon Wireless announced Friday that it was paying $3.6 billion to three cable TV companies — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks — in exchange for wireless licenses the companies bought in an FCC auction in 2005. Pundits are describing the deal, and especially its cross-marketing provisions, as revolutionary with the potential to change the way we communicate and are entertained. I doubt this. Rather, I think it reflects a failure of the cable companies to compete in other markets.
I remember this license auction and wrote about it at the time. New spectrum was being released and the MSOs were afraid Verizon and AT&T would snap it up to compete with […]