John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Hell of a Way to Get Out of Your AT&T Contract, Varney…

iphone-attEarlier this year Christine Varney, the Justice Department’s new antitrust chief, said she planned to return the Department to a policy that led to landmark antitrust suits like the one against Microsoft (MSFT) in the ’90s. And she delivered on that promise in short order.

Since Varney’s confirmation in late April, the Department of Justice has seen a sort of Trustbuster renaissance. The DOJ has begun inquiring into potentially anticompetitive recruiting practices in Silicon Valley. It opened an investigation into the Google Books (GOOG) settlement. And now, the Department is scrutinizing cellphone exclusivity deals like the lucrative one between Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T). Sources close to the DOJ tell The Wall Street Journal that the agency is probing such deals to see if they adversely restrict consumer choice or hamper competition.

The inquiry, which is in its very early stages, follows recent calls for the Federal Communications Commission to open a similar investigation, and it remains to be seen what, if anything, will come of it. For while exclusivity deals may undermine consumers, there’s little doubt that they benefit them as well. After all, AT&T’s iPhone deal with Apple scared the hell out the entire industry, forcing innovations in handsets and networks alike. Were it not for that deal, we might not be seeing the network improvements now occurring–the deployment of high-speed downlink packet access and long-term evolution, or LTE, networks, for example. And we almost certainly wouldn’t have devices like the Palm (PALM) Pre and the BlackBerry Storm.

Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik