Steve Lohr

In the Race for 5G, Alarm and Security Services Get Stuck in the Middle

In early 2019, AT&T announced it would phase out 3G wireless service in February 2022, meaning that devices designed to communicate using 3G technology would no longer have a connection after that date. Security systems companies were replacing the older gear when the pandemic lockdown began in March 2020. By early 2021, Covid-19 concerns had eased and people were more willing to let her workers into their homes.

Tim Berners-Lee Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.

Tim Berners-Lee believes the online world has gone astray. Too much power and too much personal data, he says, reside with the tech giants like Google and Facebook — “silos” is the generic term he favors, instead of referring to the companies by name. Fueled by vast troves of data, he says, they have become surveillance platforms and gatekeepers of innovation. Regulators have voiced similar complaints. The big tech companies are facing tougher privacy rules in Europe and some American states, led by California. Google and Facebook have been hit with antitrust suits.

Forget Antitrust Laws. To Limit Tech, Some Say a New Regulator Is Needed.

A growing number of legal experts and economists have started questioning whether traditional antitrust is up to the task of addressing the competitive concerns raised by today’s digital behemoths. Further help, they said, is needed. Antitrust cases typically proceed at the stately pace of the courts, with trials and appeals that can drag on for years. Those delays, the legal experts and economists said, would give Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple a free hand to become even more entrenched in the markets they dominate. A more rapid-response approach is required, they said.

Justice Department Case Against Google Is Said to Focus on Search Dominance

The Department of Justice’s impending lawsuit against Google has narrowed to focus on the company’s power over internet search, a decision that could set off a cascade of separate lawsuits from states in ensuing weeks over the Silicon Valley giant’s dominance in other business segments.

Big Tech’s Domination of Business Reaches New Heights

American tech titans flew high before the coronavirus pandemic, making billions of dollars a year. Now, the upheaval has lifted them to new heights, putting the industry in a position to dominate American business in a way unseen since the days of railroads. A rally in technology stocks elevated the S&P 500 stock index to a record high even as the pandemic crushes the broader economy.

Slack Accuses Microsoft of Illegally Crushing Competition

Slack filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission, accusing the tech giant of using its market power to try to crush the upstart rival. Slack claims that Microsoft has illegally tied its collaboration software, Microsoft Teams, to its dominant suite of productivity programs, Microsoft Office, which includes Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. That bundling tactic, Slack contends, is part of a pattern of anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft. Slack’s complaint is just a first step. The European Commission must decide if a formal investigation is warranted.

Tiny Digital Businesses Play Key Role in Local Economies, Study Says

There are millions of small, digitally enabled ventures across America.

Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle Over .Org

A group of respected internet pioneers and nonprofit leaders is offering an alternative to Ethos Capital’s bid for .org: a nonprofit cooperative corporation. The incorporation papers for the new entity, the Cooperative Corporation of .ORG Registrants, were filed in California. The goal of the group is not only to persuade the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees internet domain names, to stop the sale.

Digital Divide Is Wider Than We Think, Study Says

A new study by Microsoft researchers casts a light on the actual use of high-speed internet across the country, and the picture it presents is very different from Federal Communications Commission numbers. Their analysis suggests that the speedy access is much more limited than the FCC data shows. Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the FCC says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans. The discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas. 

President Trump Completes Repeal of Online Privacy Protections From Obama Era

President Donald Trump signed a congressional resolution to complete the overturning of internet privacy protections created by the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama Administration. The change will allow broadband internet service suppliers, such as cable and telecommunications companies, to track and sell a customer’s online information with greater ease.

The bill uses a little-known tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that allows Congress and the president to overturn recently passed agency regulations. A successful CRA bill also prevents the agency from implementing similar rules in the future.