Wall Street Journal

Media Industry Still Ripe for M&A, JPM’s DiCenso Thinks

Even after 21st Century Fox abandoned its big bid for Time Warner, the media sector is likely to see more merger and acquisition activity, said Monica DiCenso, the US head of equity strategy at JP Morgan Private Bank.

When Their Internet Went Down, These Brothers Stood Up

Brothers Eric and Rob Veksler, frustrated with New York City’s notoriously slow Internet service, launched a local Internet provider, Brooklyn Fiber.

Businesses make up most of Brooklyn Fiber's several hundred customers, although it serves a few residential accounts in buildings that have no or poor Internet access.

Better customer service is the way that the brothers have distinguished themselves from the big Internet providers. The brothers said they hope to double their customer base in an expansion this summer, with much of the growth coming from residences.

SoftBank's US Cellphone Strategy Takes Shape

SoftBank gave a glimpse of its plans to tackle the US cellphone market, unveiling a deal to develop low-cost smartphones for its Sprint unit and a new service that would allow unlimited downloads from select applications.

SoftBank said that together with fellow Japanese company Sharp it has developed a smartphone with near-frameless displays that it plans to sell through Sprint. It also introduced App Pass, a service that it plans to launch later in August, which will have a lineup of 100 applications as diverse as games, recipes and free access to news.

SoftBank and US-based Sprint will offer the handset, the Aquos Crystal, exclusively. App Pass will be preinstalled on the handsets.

Why the Public Library Beats Amazon -- for Now

A growing stack of companies would like you to pay a monthly fee to read e-books, just like you subscribe to Netflix to binge on movies and TV shows. Don't bother. Go sign up for a public library card instead.

More than 90% of American public libraries have amassed e-book collections you can read on your iPad, and often even on a Kindle.

You don't have to walk into a branch or risk an overdue fine. And they're totally free. But libraries' current collection advantage, borne of those publisher contracts, isn't likely to last forever. Publishers may resolve their squabbles with Amazon or come to see paid subscriptions as a lucrative new market.

[Aug 12]

Lenovo Takes On Apple, Samsung in Smartphones

Lenovo Group is on a fast track to become a significant competitor in smartphones -- not just in China but also overseas, taking on Samsung Electronics and Apple.

Echoes of Y2K: Engineers Buzz That Internet Is Outgrowing Its Gear

Network engineers are buzzing as the Internet outgrows some of its gear.

While a precise count is elusive, many technicians are reporting that the total number of world-wide Internet routes is near or already past half a million, usually abbreviated 512K. Older network routers from Cisco Systems and other makers can't hold any more unless they are tweaked.

The problem also draws attention to a real, if arcane, issue with the Internet's plumbing: the shrinking number of addresses available under the most popular routing system. That system, called IPv4, can handle only a few billion addresses. But there are already nearly 13 billion devices hooked up to the Internet, and the number is quickly growing, Cisco said.

Version 6, or IPv6, can hold many orders of magnitude more addresses but has been slow to catch on.

T-Mobile CFO Calls Iliad Offer 'Inadequate'

T-Mobile US' Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter called a $15 billion takeover proposal from French wireless company Iliad "inadequate," but hinted that his company may be open to a higher offer.

Carter said that Iliad's late-July offer to buy 57% of T-Mobile US was "very flattering" but "a very inadequate value proposition." But, he added, "I think rarely people come with their best bid to start."

No Satellite of Love for T-Mobile

For T-Mobile US, it may still take two to tango. After Sprint's decision to shelve a plan to bid for its rival, T-Mobile shareholders who had counted on an offer are scanning for other potential suitors.

One possible contender: Dish Network. Owning T-Mobile could help Dish put its wireless spectrum holdings to use if the combined company can invest in building a network based on Dish's airwaves. Dish would avoid the regulatory hurdles that quelled Sprint's ambitions.

But a deeper look at the satellite company's balance sheet suggests a deal might be hard to swing.

Surveillance Court Judge Criticized NSA 'Overcollection' of Data

Newly declassified court documents show one of the National Security Agency's key surveillance programs was plagued by years of "systemic overcollection'' of private Internet communications.

A 117-page decision by Judge John Bates of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court offers a scathing assessment of the NSA's ability to manage its own top-secret electronic surveillance of Internet metadata -- a program the NSA scrapped after a 2011 review found it wasn't fulfilling its mission.

The newly declassified documents suggest another possible reason for its demise. The surveillance agency struggled to collect metadata, such as the "to'' and "from'' information of an email, without also collecting other information, such as the contents or partial contents of such communications, information that is supposed to be beyond what it legally is permitted to gather.

Sprint Is Ready to Do Battle on Price

Sprint may have given up its chase for T-Mobile US but it still thinks it can take on bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon Communications -- for now. Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Sprint parent SoftBank said the No. 3 US wireless carrier is ready to pare costs and do battle on prices as its network upgrade nears completion.

Son declined to elaborate beyond saying Sprint is testing new pricing plans, and will adopt Softbank's fighting spirit under Marcelo Claure, who was recently named Sprint CEO.