[–] class4behavior link

The irony is, their monopoly power and the conflicts of interest could be much less worrisome if net neutrality were in place.

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[–] debt link

I believe the timing of this was intentional.

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[–] ars link

Wrong Time Warner. This is the entertainment part, not the internet service.

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[–] TimTheTinker link

Glad to hear the executive branch did something in favor of the people instead of corporations.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] noobermin link

Do you not know about the context? The admin threatened to block the deal because Trump didn't like CNN's coverage of himself. Neither side is all that great here. Even if the DOJ lawyers wanted to pursue it for the right reasons, Trump and by extension Sessions let it go through because of his animosity towards CNN.

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[–] dm8 link

Can they appeal the case in higher courts?

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[–] jld link

The merger is set to close next Monday. DOJ can file for a stay, but the judge warned them that would be unwise.

I think the DOJ will just take it as a loss.

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[–] calimac link

#CorruptFederalJudges

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[–] skywhopper link

This pull quote is pretty convincing evidence that the DOJ doesn’t comprehend the stakes at all. “Pay TV” is way too small a lens to be thinking about this through. Internet access has a much much bigger impact on people’s lives than mere TV (or the streaming equivalent).

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[–] maxerickson link

Time Warner doesn't have much to do with internet access though, they sold their cable business to Charter a couple years ago.

That's why analysts are talking about this as a vertical merger, AT&T doesn't have the massive presence in content production that they have in various communication businesses.

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[–] trynumber9 link

The DOJ had tried to stop the deal[1] but it appears that the court ruled it could carry on [2].

  Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement the DOJ was "disappointed 
  with the Court's decision today. We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be 
  less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and 
  Time Warner. We will closely review the Court's opinion and consider next steps in light 
  of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers."
[1]: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-time-warner-m-a-at-t/u-s-...

[2]: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/judge-rules-on-att-time-warner-...

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[–] class4behavior link

https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/att-time-warner-merger-app...

More details, especially where it matters. and a more analytic language.

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[–] dang link
[–] dang link

Merging the threads now. Submitted URLs so far, besides this one:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/business/dealbook/att-tim...

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/12/att-time-warner-ruling.html

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/att/2018/06/12/att-wins-...

http://about.att.com/story/att_to_acquire_time_warner.html

If anyone knows a significantly better URL for this submission, let us know and we can change it again.

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[–] platinumrad link

To be fair, the DOJ actually tried to stop this but was overruled by the courts.

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[–] gm-conspiracy link

Jeff Sessions, servant of the people?

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[–] ribosometronome link

To be fair, the DOJ's motives were completely tainted by Trump's hostility toward CNN.

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[–] whoopdedo link

The distributor/producer boat sailed with NBC-Universal-Comcast.

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[–] craftyguy link

Ma Bell 2.0

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[–] seanp2k2 link

As of 2016 this is a diagram showing what went where and how it's back together now: https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13389592/att-time-warner...

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[–] Rick-Butler link

not exactly the best example when you consider what their research arm bell labs gave us.

Not saying that monopolies are good, it's just not black and white...

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[–] paulcole link

> And this one has the inherent conflicts of interest you get when a distributor buys out a producer.

I'm not sure I understand the conflicts. Isn't Netflix essentially doing the same thing? Consolidating production and distribution?

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[–] paidleaf link

Netflix isn't your ISP. Netflix doesn't control the means of delivery/distribution. They rely on Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc to deliver their data.

Netflix can't just decide that they don't want to compete with Hulu and therefore throttle or block Hulu from their customers.

We know that controlling the means of production and the means of distribution is highly anti-competitive. All you have to do is look at rockefeller and standard oil in the 1800s. Rockefeller bought or threatened his way into controlling the railroads which allowed him to put most of his competitors out of business or forced them to sell to Standard Oil. Controlling the means of delivery allowed rockefeller to monopolize the oil industry in the US.

With the repeal of net neutrality, we are getting to the point where verizon, comcast, at&t, etc can be their own little "internet". And this really hampers future entrepreneurs. If you wanted to start a netflix, youtube or twitch today, but you can't rely on verizon, comcast, at&t, etc to give you fair access to their network, then why bother and who will invest in your company?

But this is the overall direction of the internet and social media the past few years. Less freedom, less openness and a move towards more of a corporate tv/news format.

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[–] icebraining link

Yes, and there are conflicts of interest, as Netflix will push their own stuff over their competitors'. The major difference is that ISPs have a much stronger control of their distribution market, which they can use to gain an advantage on the production market (what's usually called "abuse of monopoly power").

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[–] jandrese link

Netflix is your ISP?

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[–] seanp2k2 link

The difference is that I have one choice of ISP and many choices of over-the-top content, none of which can e.g. restrict my ability to access things unrelated to their service as an ISP can. It's apples v oranges.

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[–] jonreem link

Under this logic I think so, it would be the same problem.

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[–] jandrese link

Yet more media consolidation. And this one has the inherent conflicts of interest you get when a distributor buys out a producer.

And of course the idea of protecting the public interest isn't a thing anymore in DC.

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[–] jaredklewis link

Well let's not grab our pitchforks just yet.

I'm sure if this was a thread discussing Judge Leon's 2013 opinion that NSA metadata collection violated the 4th amendment, HN would be singing his praises. But in this case he's approved a merger we don't like so he must be a total idiot or (as is being suggested further down in the thread) was bribed and has family members that will be getting board AT&T seats pretty soon. Such is HN's fickle heart.

Unsurprisingly, the case involved more nuance than could be contained in a Bloomberg article, so if you really want to understand the arguments involved, you'll have to slog through the 200 page opinion: http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/sites/dcd/files/17-2511opinion.p...

I'm generally depressed by the state of broadband competition in the US, but that doesn't automatically mean that Shapiro's "increased leverage harm" theory that vertical content-programmer-distributor integration will raise prices is correct. And even if it is intuitively correct or turns out to be right, it doesn't mean that we currently have sufficient supporting data for it to be a convincing argument to the courts.

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[–] mortdeus link

I should point out that this doesn't really change the broadband ISP landscape. Time Warner Cable is not apart of Time Warner anymore. All this does is give AT&T a better chance at entering the "original content" space and to take advantage of the fact that streaming providers like Youtube TV and Netflix would need to now pay AT&T for their content.

Honestly I don't think this is all that bad of a move. I'd rather AT&T absorb Time Warner than Comcast.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] s2g link

We can still pull out the pitchforks based on the notion that he didn't understand the "expert" opinion presented and just decided not bother?

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[–] AlexCoventry link

How is it that the executive branch is acting in a more principled and competent manner than the judicial, in this case?

I suppose it could be good for the economy and general welfare of the nation that the price of good TV will go up, if it means people will be watching less of it.

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[–] monochromatic link

Which parts of the 200-page opinion did you find unprincipled or incompetent?

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[–] _rpd link

Absolutely shameful. AI judges can't come soon enough.

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[–] SrslyJosh link

Where do you think the training data for AI judges would come from?

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[–] peterwwillis link

I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.

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[–] ReverseCold link

And who gets to decide what training data/processes the judges use?

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[–] coderdude link

This is the HN quote of the century

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[–] ajonnav link

> The judge indicated during the trial that he wasn’t buying Shapiro’s projection. After his testimony, Leon said he was "confused." Further explanation from Shapiro didn’t help. "I’m not sure I got it, but it’s too late and too hot to belabor the point any further," the judge said.

Amazing on so many different levels.

(Shapiro is the economist whose model the DOJ based their case off of).

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[–] djsumdog link

Does that really matter? Just because it isn't becoming an Internet monopoly, it's still a content+distribution mega-corp that can squeeze its competitors and limit options for consumers.

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[–] EpicEng link

It matters when ~50% of the comments are talking about net neutrality and Time Warner Cable hasn't existed for more than two years.

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[–] Spivak link

Monopolies on content don't really matter because media properties aren't fungible. It's not like you can shop around for the best Avengers movie or that Justice League is a substitute.

I agree with you about distribution but it's hard to argue that there aren't lots of competing distribution channels for content.

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[–] xeromal link

FYI, this isn't the internet Time Warner. This is the entertainment Time Warner. The internet Time Warner is run by Spectrum these days.

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[–] walshemj link

Which is what a lot of ex telecoms monopolies are doing as they cant really grow organically anymore another example is BT sport funny how Murdoch's press started bashing BT after they started competing with Sky

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[–] traek link

NB this is "Time Warner the media company", not Time Warner Cable (which is now Spectrum.) This isn't broadband consolidation but rather media/entertainment consolidation.

The deal is most closely comparable to Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011.

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[–] xigency link

The part that bothers me about each of those acquisitions is that none of those utility companies are well-liked by their customers (instead being the most hated companies). The fact that they all have the ability to acquire these other large entities which aren't reviled shows that they really are scalping their customers. And it isn't just Comcast or AT&T or Verizon, it's all of them. That is highly irregular for them to all be so despised and successful.

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[–] grigjd3 link

What do you mean highly irregular? They all have regional monopolies. Of course they have crap service and high prices.

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[–] niftich link

The acquisition target is 'Time Warner Inc.', primarily a television and film company, whose products and subvisions include HBO and Cinemax, the TV networks CNN, TBS, Turner Classic Movies, TNT, and various joint ventures with US sports leagues, and Warner Bros, which now includes DC Comics/DC Entertainment. Meanwhile, AT&T is largely a telecom and satellite broadcast company, which under its various subsidiaries offers bulk telecom interconnect, and satellite television, and is a wired and wireless ISP.

Therefore, this sounds more like vertical integration of an infrastructure-and-ISP company buying a media company in much the same vein as Comcast acquiring full ownership of NBCUniversal in 2013, or Verizon acquiring AOL -- which in 2001 bought Time Warner, then AOL got spun out in 2009 -- and Yahoo.

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[–] isolli link

I think the analogy does not hold. The reason these railroads are so well developed is because they lead to land the operator owns. If I apply the analogy, ISPs will develop infrastructure only if it leads to content they own. In other words, they have a strong incentive to throttle access to others' content, which is not an option available to railroad operators.

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[–] njarboe link

Lots of trolly transportation systems were built in the US with the same model. Build a line out to the cheep farmland you own near a city/town, charge low fairs (not nearly enough to cover your capital costs and running costs), but now you can sell lots for housing at 10x or 20x the price you bought the land for. Once all the lots are sold, having the trolly pay for itself is difficult, especially after people can buy cars(hello model T) and not pay your monopoly trolly ride price. Almost all those trolly lines were shut down.

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[–] rayiner link

That's more an issue of trollies becoming obsolete--government-run trolly lines or purely private ones that did not own the surrounding land also did not survive.

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[–] dionidium link

That's a pretty simplistic conclusion that ignores one of the biggest technological and cultural life-altering inventions in human history: the automobile.

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[–] rayiner link

Cognitive dissonance is interesting. For example, tech folks generally love Japan and Hong Kong's railroads. But those systems work so well because of the exact sort of vertical integration techies get apoplectic about when it comes to the Internet: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-inf.... JR and MTR not only are private companies that own and operate the railroads, they own a ton of the land around the rail stations. They thus can capture value from both sides of a two-sided market--the customers going to a business near a rail station, and the business that benefits from having a rail station near it. That greatly increases incentive to invest in rail compared to a system where value can only be captured from the rider.

Interestingly, vertical integration also increases competition, as is the case in urban areas of Japan. If you can leverage your low-margin transit product to sell your high-margin real estate product, you have vastly more incentive to compete with other firms on the transit product.

Indeed, the vastly lower deployment costs enabled by 5G suggest an alternative vision of the future. We may end up with a system where you subscribe to "Google 5G" or "Facebook 5G" or even "Netflix 5G" service. It will be abhorrent to those who visualize a platonic model of infrastructure separated from content, but may in practice work a lot better than heavy government involvement in the infrastructure layer.

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[–] Sacho link

This is a gross oversimplification of the issue. Here is the judge's opinion which actually explains his rationale: http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/sites/dcd/files/17-2511opinion.p...

His rationale on this particular is over 30 pages long. It starts at page 57-ish.

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[–] erric link

>Judge Leon limited how DOJ lawyers questioned certain witnesses and expressed visible skepticism of testimony by the government’s chief economic witness, who presented an empirical model that predicted the deal would lead to small but significant price increases in monthly cable bills. AT&T countered with its own academic economist who said it wouldn’t.

Yeah, I’m sure this won’t lead to _small_ price increases for consumers.

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[–] forapurpose link

Judges are subject to many checks on their power. First, they only can rule on cases brought before their court, which requires two other parties to want a trial (including, in this case, the Justice Department). Also, unless they are in the Supreme Court, judges generally do not choose which cases they hear. Finally, and most significantly, they also are restricted by laws made by the legislature, precedent made by other judges and higher courts, the facts, juries (if the litigants wish to use them), principles of law, and appeals.

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[–] aurailious link

Well, the judge has to base the decision on a whole bunch of laws. It's not like judges get to decide this on their own.

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[–] xenihn link

>Well, the judge has to base the decision on a whole bunch of laws. It's not like judges get to decide this on their own.

This is a weird opinion to hold when you take the fact that two judges can come to two completely separate conclusions on a single issue, while drawing from the same laws.

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[–] hermitdev link

Except when they do. Activist judges & judicial legislation [0] are not a new thing.

[0] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/judicial%20legisl...

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[–] flubert link

You may enjoy: "The Myth of the Rule of Law".

http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/MythWeb.htm

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[–] kuraudo link

In a perfect world, what you said would be how things are actually decided.

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[–] maxk42 link

Apparently you've never heard of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_immunity

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[–] atmosx link

Are you proposing to use AI (or what we call AI nowadays) instead? :-)

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[–] 1137 link

// super advanced AI for court decision

while (defendant.getSumOfContrib(partyInCharge)<= Gov.Judicial.Common.RULE_FAVOR_MINIMUM) {

   delay();


}

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[–] TillE link

I think it would not necessarily be insane to envision a system which hands off non-obvious regulatory cases to the legislature, to amend the law such that this and future cases could be trivially decided.

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[–] oh_sigh link

And the judge didn't even fully understand the arguments of the DOJ, and claimed it was too hot and too late to try to understand them.

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[–] gzu link

It’s crazy to me how one judge gets to decide the fate of a 100 billion dollar merger. Humans are fallible.

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[–] sjs382 link

HBO is currently $5/mo for DirecTV Now customers, which is well below the regular price. Also FWIW, it was free for the first year to early subscribers of DirecTV Now.

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[–] fomopop link

It's also free for AT&T Unlimited subscribers.

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[–] fomopop link

For those who cut the cord, some things that may come out of this:

1. AT&T announced they were launching an entertainment only live streaming service for $15 (or free to AT&T subscribers) which will compete with Philo.

2. They will continue to give away free or cheap HBO to AT&T or DIRECTV NOW customers

3. Comcast will more aggressively bid for FOX which means either Disney or Comcast will become the majority stakeholder for Hulu

https://medium.com/fomopop/what-at-t-time-warner-deal-means-...

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[–] JAFTEM link

Also have bad internet in LA. I grew up in North Dakota though, and back there my family is getting 1 gigabit internet for $100/mo from Midcontinent.

Absolutely bizarre and ridiculous that North Dakota, a state that has far less developed infrastructure than either coast, has better internet than Los Angeles.

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[–] rayiner link

Is it? I’ve got two fiber lines into my house in a Maryland county where most people are on septic and well. Unsurprisingly, Big California cities have Big California impediments to broadband deployment.

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[–] BigChiefSmokem link

I'm in LA and I pay Spectrum $54 a month for 100mb and saw that their gigabit service is $104 a month for new subscribers.

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[–] jonknee link

What does that have to do with AT&T buying HBO, some cable channels and a movie studio? This is to compete with Netflix, not about providing broadband.

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[–] ajmurmann link

AT&T is supposed to provide a conduit between their customers and Netflix not compete with them! It's already catastrophic that ISPs have a monopoly in many markets, using that monopoly to compete with content providers leaves me furious.

Edit: calming myself.

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[–] rconti link

I'm not sure what your point is. You have the option to buy faster internet (competition) but you choose not to?

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[–] tanderson92 link

It's especially funny because Caltech students living on or near campus have 1Gbps internet. :-)

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[–] amelius link

They will increase your internet speed if that means they can sell you more entertainment now.

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[–] LyndsySimon link

I live in rural Arkansas, and have 300Mbps.

I’m promised gigabit this summer, but we’ll see.

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[–] ddtaylor link

How much AT&T Time Warner stock does your roomate own?!

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[–] walru link

None. He's a luddite.

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[–] walru link

>to lead the next generation in innovation.

Meanwhile I have 300k internet in Pasadena, CA. That's the fastest they offer. My roommate doesn't care and won't upgrade to Spectrum.

Why is it whenever I read the above it means the opposite?

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[–] stevenwoo link

I had forgotten of this until I read this article on the Atlantic, but there is an organization dedicated to breaking up the new form of monopolies like AT&T+Time Warner, Google, Amazon, Facebook, originally funded by Google, the Open Markets Institute

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/lina-kh...

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[–] kuraudo link

That or they don't care. I'd be very interested to know what kind of positions the friends & families of these judges hold related to the mergers they approve.

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[–] c3534l link

The courts seem to be letting telecoms consolidate to a degree that is unprecedented (Bell, at least, had a fairly narrow scope), because they think the internet means these companies have competition. I think they're severely under-estimating the power these companies have and the risk that these mergers create to both consumers and our democracy.

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[–] ReverseCold link

Hot take: An $X m merger should never go through.

(I haven't thought about the downsides, but I can't see anything obvious?)

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[–] chopin link

It could be split up into several mergers below $X.

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[–] amelius link

Can't we have a system where the bigger the merger, the more compelling the arguments for it should be?

Like a $10M merger should have 1 strong argument in favor of the consumer, a $100M merger should have 2 strong arguments, and a $100B merger should have 5 strong arguments in favor of the consumer (and I'm being forgiving by using a logarithmic scale here).

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[–] gimmeThaBeet link

Definitely. There are a lot of valid debates you can have about whether or not this is a good thing, but it's very arguably the 'correct' decision in the sense of precedent, and as you are implying, the less surprising one.

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[–] SippinLean link

Time Warner's cable business was spun off as Time Warner Cable, which Charter Communications later acquired. Charter's cable/internet/tv brand is Spectrum.

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[–] mikece link

You are right -- I stand corrected.

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[–] mikece link

This is a distribution company -- internet, cable TV, satellite -- acquiring a content company (the communications portion of Time Warner was spun off as Spectrum). Isn't this just a vertical integration?

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[–] mxschumacher link

through the rise of original content production from Amazon and Netflix and the overall shift to internet delivery (including Youtube and Podcasts) I'd argue we're in a less concentrated situation today.

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[–] jadedhacker link

Yes and no. I agree 100% for podcasts. However, while Youtube and Netflix are encouraging more producers they retain veto power on their platforms. This is key.

In the case of Netflix, it's obvious they only host what they want on their platform. In the case of Youtube, they are increasingly banning videos.

This isn't my particular hobbyhorse issue, but it was the first result for "youtube ban political videos" and it has a huge constituency.

"Youtube to Ban Videos Promoting Gun Sales"

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/22/business/youtube-gun-ban....

VICE Motherboard chronicles Youtube's history of escalating censorship.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59jgka/a-brief-hi...

On a decentralized platform (i.e. the real web) this would be impossible or nearly so.

You might disagree with or laugh at the people losing money or literally being censored on one of the biggest public squares in the world, but it's not democratic and media consolidation will never ever result in something compatible with the free and open exchange of ideas.

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[–] anonymous5133 link

Completely agree as well.

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[–] basch link

This 90% is absurd. What about:

ATT - DirecTV, Time Warner (WB, Turner, HBO)

Verizon - Yahoo, AOL

Comcast - XFinity, NBCUniversal

Disney - 21st Century Fox?

Sony - Pictures, Television, Music/Publishing

Netflix

Amazon

Google/Youtube

Facebook

Microsoft

National Amusements (CBS/Viacom(Paramount))

Fox Broadcasting/Fox Sports

Sinclair Broadcast Group/Tribune Company?

Vivendi - Canal+, Universal Music Group

Bertelsmann - Random House, Penguin, RTL, BMG

Lionsgate

Crown Castle - Hallmark

Discovery - Scripps Interactive, TLC, Animal Planet, US Networks

AMC Networks

Kobalt

Warner Music Group - Warner/Chappell

News Corp

Tronc

Time inc

Hearst Corporation

Gannett

Advanced Publications

Meredith Corp

HarperCollins

New York Times Company

Wenner Media

Getty

Gray

Nexstar

Tegna

iHeartMedia (ClearChannel)

AMC Theaters

Madison Square Garden

Regal

Cinemark

MindGeek

Televisa

Univision Communications

Sprint/T-Mobile?

Charter Communications (Bright House Networks, Spectrum Internet formerly Time Warner Cable)

Dish

Cox

Altice USA (Optimum Online, Suddenlink Communications)

CenturyLink

Frontier

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[–] jadedhacker link

Media consolidation infographic from 2011. Back then, six companies controlled 90% of the market. I wonder where we're at now?

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-...

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[–] vpribish link

Got some sharp legal minds at work in this discussion. Really digging into the relevant parts of vertical vs horizontal anti-trust enforcement in a free market for media and a regulated one for content delivery. I especially love the nuanced extrapolation into healthcare and social media. Super work, just super.

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[–] Xixi link

The article is probably the original announcement. The merger was approved today [1].

https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-is-set-to-decide-whether-...

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[–] rubyn00bie link

That's when it was originally published, it was just approved... and is still AT&Ts "go to" page for the information. Additionally, you can see their "applauding of the courts" here:

http://about.att.com/story/court_rules.html

... and now excuse me while I try to figure out what the remaining horcruxes are so I can destroy them, and stop it (MA Bell) from coming back to power /s

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[–] graboy link

Because it's from 2016, that's when the acquisition was originally announced (check the internet archive). The real news is that the court just approved the acquisition: http://about.att.com/story/att_to_acquire_time_warner.html

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[–] daeken link

That's when the deal was arranged between the companies. It was just approved by the government. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/12/att-time-warner-ruling.html

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] etaioinshrdlu link

Why does the date on the article say 2016?

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[–] rjurney link

Great. More and bigger monopolies forming in networks/media.

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[–] sureaboutthis link

Anything related to ATT is doomed. I've dealt with that company both professionally and personally and it's a mess. How it's managed to get this big and survive is beyond me. Their services are horrible, expensive, and you spend more time fixing their billing errors and getting a rep on the phone than you do anything else.

It's a sad day for the modern age.

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[–] jhall1468 link

Time Warner the ISP was bought years ago. This is Time Warner the entertainment company.

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[–] droopybuns link

There are two examples of websites being blocked that I can point to, none involving ISPs:

1) Google blocking Microsoft and Amazon devices from accessing YouTube content.

2) FBI takeovers of DNS entries to web servers or TOR nodes.

And if political censorship is your biggest concern, should youtube be held accountable for blocking firearms content on their site?

Where are the examples of ISPs blocking web pages? Throttling != blocking. Bandwidth is not infinite.

Edit: If facts are inconvenient, that downvote button provides a nutritional burst of serotonin.

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[–] roflc0ptic link

In the context of net neutrality ending, this looks like AT&T acquiring the means to exploit discriminatory traffic routing. It seems like there will be a gold rush of sorts, towards building walled gardens, segmenting the Internet into fiefs.

Does ending NN allow an ISP to completely block a website? I.e. to what extent does this also open up the door to overt political censorship?

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[–] zanny link

Perfect time to rename the company to "usher in a new era of innovation". How about calling the new AT&T Bell? Because this merged company will be way worse an anticompetitive monopoly than the exploitative operator of the US switched phone network ever could have been.

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[–] i_am_nomad link

In many cases that’s known as “commoditizing your complement.”

https://www.gwern.net/Complement

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[–] ksk link

It seems like every commercial actor wants to be the platform (add "value" as an integrator/provider), and avoid being abstracted out under the platform.

"Internet is just a dumb pipe" "Why dont all PCs ship with just a vanilla Windows install" OR "Why don't all smartphones just install vanilla Android" "The programmer is irrelevant" "The OS is irrelevant" "The browser used is irrelevant" "Cable providers are irrelevant"

etc.. etc

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[–] Waterluvian link

Neither of these companies really affects me as a non-American. But it feels like it just paves the way for mergers of companies that do.

I started thinking of international examples, which got me thinking about Google and Apple. Who in a way feel like they're post-colossal-merger companies already. And I mean... It kind of sucks but it's not nearly as awful as I feared it might look like.

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[–] circa link

The only good that can come of this all is that the Time Warner name will finally go away. (yes i know this is the media company vs. the cable company but this is the end of it!) the rest of the deal, is not so great.

edit: not vs.* but 2 different entities with similar names.

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[–] s2g link

> Their size makes them an attractive target for nationalization

Sure, except this is America.

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[–] ganoushoreilly link

"Also as cyber security becomes more of a concern, none of these jobs can be outsourced."

I wish you were correct, but this doesn't actually seem to be the case. You have people outsourcing directly, or going with MSSP that are themselves outsourcing. I'd say a good 70% of the customers I deal with in the space are in this boat, most of which are in Financials and High Tech (engineering) spaces.

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[–] Bucephalus355 link

I want to give an unconventional view that supports this decision.

The two companies merging are walking into a trap.

Their size makes them an attractive target for nationalization. ATT started off as a private company. It’s size however lead to it being effectively taken over by the government. The resulting monopoly came to employ 1 million people at its height. Adjusted for population growth, that’s be like the entirety of all the military branches today.

Before anyone mentions anything about automation though, let me say, there are plenty of jobs. If any of you have had the pleasure of a company giving you a secretary, you know that many jobs that have supposedly been automated, we are just doing without.

Also as cyber security becomes more of a concern, none of these jobs can be outsourced. Can you imagine whatever company builds our 5G network having their NOC in say Costa Rica (assuming world relations continue to deteriorate), or customer support outsourcing to the Philippines?

I know my views are wrong in some areas, but I hope they open a few new ways of viewing things.

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[–] dv_dt link

So is anyone actually trying to write legislation to bar ISPs from co-owning content creation companies? Is there a basis for this? Or is there some other type of anti-media/connectivity consolidation on the horizon even as a thought experiment?

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[–] Sacho link

The plaintiff trying to block the merger is Trump's administration's DOJ.

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[–] a-dub link

"we want the cca deal stopped now! we want the cca deal stopped now!"

meanwhile, didn't trump make a campaign promise to prevent this exact merger? interesting timing.

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[–] komali2 link
[–] jshap70 link

consumer protection: what is it

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[–] DeepYogurt link

Looking like AT&T needs to be broken up again.

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[–] nullbull link

Anti-trust is truly dead. We're re-doing the gilded age everyone, strap in. This'll be great this time, we promise.

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[–] seymour333 link

"AT&T Cleared by Judge to Buy Time Warner, Judge Buys Boat"

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[–] oli5679 link

Does anyone have a link the the analysis done by Carl Shapiro?

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[–] sriku link

Hot on the heels of FCC repealing net neutrality?

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[–] makomk link

The fundamental philosophy at play here, I think - so far as there is one - is that government regulation cannot and should not be used to try and regulate away the negative effects of lack of competition, that instead it should ensure that a competitive marketplace exists and let the market take care of it.

If I recall correctly, there's an explanation of this position from Ajit Pai's FCC, which in particular references the NBC Universal-Comcast merger and explains why the FCC no longer wishes to allow such mergers.

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[–] droopybuns link

This move makes AT&T the largest private debt holder in the United States.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/att/2017/06/30/can-att-k...

It’s tough to be nimble with financial responsibility this large. It is not obvious to me that this is a good thing for the shareholders.

It’s for this reason that I’d rather see us focus on incentives for local ISP competition rather than regulatory burdens designed to keep elephants this large in check. Net neutrality has to be powerful enough to curb AT&T’s legal teams. Scrappy local ISPs aren’t going to have the same resources for responding to regulatory requests. It entrenches the big players.

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[–] dschuler link

It's interesting that the Trump administration was eager to block this deal (Trump has made statements in favor of preventing this merger), while enthusiastically repealing net neutrality. Maybe expecting consistency here is reading too much into the tea leaves.

At the same time, AT&T stock is down in after hours trading. Does this mean that investors believe this merger will be bad for AT&T, or at least for short-term profits?

Maybe tomorrow's reaction will be different as the entire market will weigh in on the decision.

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[–] trumped link

Since the government already logs the content of all internet pipes, I think that they should nationalize all ISPs... it would be much cheaper.

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[–] casefields link

“AT&T’s Time Warner Takeover Wins Judge’s Approval in Defeat for Justice Dept.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/business/dealbook/att-tim...

What does that sound like to you bud?

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[–] bradleyankrom link

this is from 2016, when the terms of the merger were agreed upon but still required government approval.

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[–] jaequery link

i wonder what this means for our privacy. could this somehow be a step toward national surveillance?

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[–] JustSomeNobody link

Good grief. Why can't we stop all this consolidation already?

This is only good for shareholders. The cons clearly outweigh the pros for consumers.

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[–] djsumdog link

No, this is the result of that failure. ATT/TW wanted to do this in 2016 as the other comments state. This was the approval.

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[–] shmerl link

So, will anti-trust please bust this monster? And split Comcast along the way too (media from ISP), for good measure.

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[–] fallingfrog link

Nationalize'em.

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[–] transfire link

Hello, Ma Bell.

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[–] dv_dt link

As noted in other comments this is Time Warner the entertainment assets (not cable co). But it's equally bad at the end of Net Neutrality, as it gives AT&T direct motivation to interfere with competing services trying to offer entertainment over the internet to any customers who happen to get access via AT&T.

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[–] opencl link

This has nothing to do with the broadband market. Time Warner Cable was spun off from Time Warner in 2009 and subsequently bought up by Spectrum in 2016.

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[–] Confiks link

Another comment [1] indicated that "this isn't the internet Time Warner (...) this is the entertainment Time Warner".

Is that correct? (I'm not familiar with the US broadband market)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17297966

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[–] rosser link

I'm so glad the end of Net Neutrality has ushered in an era of unprecedented competition in the broadband market.

EDIT: Yes, this acquisition is of the content division of Time Warner, not the ISP, which was previously acquired — by another broadband provider, mooting my general point how, again?

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[–] toufique link

Dislike

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[–] mortdeus link

Maybe this will cause Trump to retaliate by bringing back net neutrality?

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[–] profalseidol link

Capitalism as expected

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[–] dang link

Could you please not post unsubstantive comments to Hacker News?

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[–] static_noise link

Mergers like this are required to keep competition and the free market alive.

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[–] delbel link

Funny, at the same time he took money from the Warburg family to fund his revolution that killed millions, the Warburg family went on to be part ownership of Standard Oil during the same period.

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[–] imbokodo link

Lenin wrote about the inevitability of monopoly in 1916. He would not have been surprised that the 1911 break up of Standard Oil would be undone in 1999 with the ExxonMobil, nor the slow reconsolidation of the Baby Bells, nor the other monopolies bringing us back to the gilded age.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch0...

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[–] ergothus link

Are you trying for irony? Given that this is just one of several recent cases where companies are locking down the technology that informs people - the technology you are counting on to take on these corps.

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[–] myrandomcomment link

The average IQ is 100 remember. :)

Most people do not care. They happily give up all privacy to FB and Google. The funny thing is everyone was worried about the world turning into a version of 1984 and it looks like Brave New World and F451 was more on target.

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[–] allthenews link

You put too much faith into the average person's desire for education.

Most people don't know and/or don't care.

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[–] staunch link

Technology will help the citizenry destroy these evil megacorps. It's just a matter of time and some improvements in technology. The world where ABC/CBS/NBC/NYTimes/Time/etc could control what people think is over. In the near future we will have a much more educated populace. They will flex their power in ways that seem unimaginable now. When the information revolution finally arrives, these megacorps will be the first against the wall

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[–] amyjess link

Despite the name, Time Warner doesn't own Time Warner Cable. They split years ago.

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[–] banachtarski link

What does this have to do with broadband

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[–] efficax link

This is nuts. This means there is now only one last-mile broadband provider in plenty of big markets. Milwaukee, for example, now no longer has any competition in the broadband space.

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[–] davyson link

That link is not available from Europe #GDPR.

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[–] chimeracoder link

Here's a neutral article (as opposed to a press release) with some more of the history and significance: https://www.dallasnews.com/business/att/2018/06/12/att-wins-...

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