T-Mobile and Sprint get FCC approval to merge in 3-2 party-line vote
- T-Mobile and Sprint previously secured merger approval from the Department of Justice, so the deal has been fully cleared by the federal government.
- But the final document should reflect what Chairman Pai proposed in May, requiring the merged company to deploy 5G to 97% of the US population within three years and to 99% of Americans within six years.
- Commissioner Starks had called for the FCC to halt its merger proceeding while the agency investigates a discovery that Sprint took millions of dollars in government subsidies for "serving" 885,000 low-income Americans who weren't using Sprint service.
- The expert staff of the Commission and the Justice Department have agreed that the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, as originally submitted, would likely harm competition and raise prices.
- The Department of Justice's settlement with the merging companies requires T-Mobile and Sprint to sell some assets to Dish Network, which will attempt to build a 5G network.
Blizzard bans three college Hearthstone players for Hong Kong protest sign
- Blizzard has suspended three college Hearthstone players for six months after they held up a sign that read “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz” while participating in an official competition stream.
- The ban, which was first reported by VICE Games, comes just over a week after Blizzard suspended a professional Hearthstone player, Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung for six months.
- Chung was suspended for showing support for Hong Kong protesters in an interview after Hearthstone’s Grandmaster tournament.
- The incident led to widespread complaints from the gaming community, as well as within Blizzard itself.
- Similar to Blitzchung’s ban, the three college players didn’t receive word about their ban until a couple of days after they held up the sign.
- The Verge has reached out to Blizzard for additional comment.
- Blizzard is just one of many companies facing scrutiny for its relationship to China amid unrest in Hong Kong.
Europe issues interim antitrust order against Broadcom as probe continues
- Europe has ordered chipmaker Broadcom to stop applying exclusivity clauses in agreements with six of its major customers — imposing so called ‘interim measures’ based on preliminary findings from an ongoing antitrust investigation.
- In June, when the Commission issued formal objections, it said it believes the chipmaker holds a dominant position in markets for the supply of systems-on-a-chip for TV set-top boxes and modems — identifying clauses in agreements with manufacturers that it suspected could harm competition.
- During a recent hearing in front of the EU parliament — as the commissioner heads towards another five years as Europe’s competition chief combined with an expanded role as an EVP setting digital policy — she suggested she will seek to make greater use of interim orders as an enforcement tool.
Amazon's massive investment in food delivery startup Deliveroo faces further delays thanks to a formal antitrust probe
- Amazon's massive investment into British food delivery firm Deliveroo has hit another snag, with the UK's competition regulator deciding to launch a formal investigation into the deal.
- The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) first mooted an investigation in July, after Amazon led a $575 million funding round into Deliveroo, which is a major rival to Uber Eats outside the US.
- At the time, the CMA said it was concerned Amazon might effectively acquire Deliveroo through the investment, potentially reducing competition.
- Prior to the Amazon deal, Deliveroo was in acquisition talks with Uber, but sources indicated the pair could agree on a price.
- If the CMA decides that the deal is anti-competitive, it will launch a "phase 2" probe that would likely halt the deal or force Amazon or Deliveroo to divest parts of their business.
Microsoft rolls out a public preview of Project xCloud
- Microsoft is sending out invites to users who sign up for the Project xCloud preview.
- After months of waiting, Microsoft‘s entry in the cloud gaming race is ready to show itself — albeit to a group of users in specific test regions.
- Those invited to partake of the preview will be able to play a few Microsoft games, such as Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, and Halo 5, on their mobile devices.
- Early reports from Reddit users claim the preview works fairly well, with some delay between input and action.
- The other potential competition, PlayStation Now — which doesn’t work with mobile devices but which has the honor of being the first publicly available cloud gaming service — has recently dropped in price.
- The cloud gaming wars feel closer than ever, and it’s good to see at least one of the two upcoming services is showing potential.
Huawei’s foldable Mate X will reportedly launch this October in China
- Foldable phones feel like the future, but the path there isn’t easy – just ask Samsung.
- That phone’s early woes almost certainly influenced Huawei to delay the release of its own foldable device.
- The Mate X was originally slated to be released in June, but with all of the issues plaguing the Galaxy Fold – not to mention the US blacklist – we’ve heard little about when the device would eventually hit the markets.
- It will likely go out in a small batch to quell any potential early issues – which the Mate X seems particularly at risk for, considering its design.
- Given new Huawei devices are unable to run Google Play Services, the company might not even bother to bring such an experimental device outside of China, but if we want foldable phones to get better, Samsung needs some legitimate competition.